In order to offer the best possible future to the children of prostitutes, street kids and orphans, we built a home for girls in Khargar, one of Mumbai’s suburbs. Since the Indian authorities did not give us the authorization to act directly, it was Prerana, Priti Patkar’s organization who oversaw the project.
The building has a ground floor, three upper floors and a convertible terrace on the roof. The residence permit was issued in November 2010.
Different activities are organized in the big entrance hall. During the school holidays in May, camps are organized for the children who go to the three night care centres or institutions where some children are placed to follow their schooling.
NIGHT CARE CENTRE
The Kamathipura night care centre opens its doors when the other centres close theirs at the end of the afternoon.
On arrival, the children wash themselves, then they eat and play until bedtime. Children of pre-school age attend the nursery opened especially for them in the mornings whilst the older children go to school. A doctor comes by every week and psychologists are available to help the children gain self-esteem like their mothers who have been marginalized by society.
HOME FOR BOYS (14 years and over)
Since the Naunihal home is only for girls, the boys requested a place to study and sleep. Some small premises have been rented in the Kamathipura red-light district which can accommodate from 20-30 young boys every evening.
Supervised studies and classes are organized every afternoon at the night care centre to avoid children who have difficulties being discouraged and giving up their education. The mothers do not often have the means to buy the necessary uniform and school books. 250 children benefit from help with schooling. Meals are served to those in need.
These activities were funded by Asskam for several years. Other financing has been found. The association takes over when necessary.
The red-light district is not an environment in which children flourish. To protect them from this traumatic environment, the mothers look for a place in institutions to continue their studies. The social workers try to find a suitable place for each child. They monitor their well-being, their progress and intervene if need be and address any problems which arise.
Some institutions which are government funded have very strict rules and do not authorize visits from third parties, in some cases, even the mothers.
Specific and individual support.