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Home > Feature > Aasara - A Project for Street Children

Aasara - A Project for Street Children
 

Introduction:
Aasara project was started in 1993 with the concerted efforts of Fr. Joe and Sr. Sandhya, socially committed enthusiastic people, in Thane District with just 12 shoeshine boys from the Thane Railway station. In a short time educational classes were started for an hour in the evening at the Nav Yuvak Mandal. Soon other 'contact' centers at St. John's High school, Khopat slum, Shantinagar slum and the Railway station, in Thane, were started. A room was rented, at Kopri, Thane-East, for the Railway station boys as a night shelter but was soon converted to a 24-hours shelter catering to the vulnerable small children. However, in order to be more effective and ensure continuity of the project, the trust was formed, with like-minded people, under the style of "AASARA" and formally registered with the Asst. Charity commissioner, Thane, in April, 1996. Since then the organization has came a long way in reaching out to the street children and youth comprising of shoeshine boys, rag pickers, tea stall workers, petty vendors, coolies, brick-kiln child laborers and orphans.

Main Person Incharge : Fr. Joe D'Gama



Main Objective:
Aasara objectives are:

  • To understand & analyze the social, economic, physical & emotional needs of street children.
  • Create access to services & programmes for the growth & development of street children.
  • Provide a liaison with Government agencies and mobilize community resources.
  • Enable street children to raise their own voice towards fulfillment of their rights.
  • Reunite children with their families wherever possible.
  • Spread awareness and elicit understanding among general public on the issues of street children.
  • Conduct research studies on the issues faced by street children.
  • Co-ordinate with voluntary agencies/organisations to catalyse policy changes.
  • Take up issues such as child sexual abuse and exploitation.
  • Advocate on behalf of children vis-a-vis the Juvenile Justice System.


Heighlight Of Work
  • Inauguration of a drop-in center at Chendani Koliwada, Thane-East, in November 30, 1993, for 15 shoe-shine boys.
  • Opening a full time shelter for street children on November 30, 1994 for 15 street boys/youth.
  • Opening of 4 Educational Centres in Thane city in 1994.
  • Selected by TISS as a Support Agency for Childline (A telephone helpline service for children in difficult circumstances) since 1994, and has been adopted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.
  • Registering of the Trust in all respects (Charity Commissioner, I.T Dept., 80G) on 02.4.1996.
  • Opening of a night shelter at Vithalwadi for street youth of Kalyan, on 30.4.1996
  • Shelter children attending formal education in June 1996. (Presently all the shelter children are prepared and attend formal schools)
  • Increase in the number of beneficiaries in the Shelter and the drop in centers.
  • Reuniting abandoned children back to their families. (Total approx 50 in last 3 years)
  • Rehabilitating the orphan street children back to the society by giving them vocational training, interest free loans and job placement. (Total approx 15 in last 3 years).
  • Income generation programme for street youth in 1996-1998. (Approx 7 children were involved in supplying lunch boxes - a CCBT project and approx 15 youth were engaged in the part time project of assisting the police in traffic duties.
  • Preparing and admitting children, from families staying on the pavements, to Municipal schools and even procuring school uniforms and stationery at a concessional rate for them at Thane, Kalva and Kalyan in 1998
  • Opening of the street girls day-care contact center at Kurla in 2001
  • Shelter children are taking part in performing arts (dancing, music, drama, martial arts, etc), which is also therapeutic, since last year.
  • Professional individual counseling for children

Future Project
Aasara plans for a full time shelter for street girls in the age group of 10-16, Vocational training center for street boys and girls, Opening of other centers/shelter in other important states and also opening up of de-addiction centers for street children



How To Contribute
A common person can contribute:

  • In cash
  • In kind (education material, food and clothing, recreation material, income generation material, art & craft, musical instruments, etc.)
  • Voluntary work (Creativity, education, performing arts, cultural programmes, etc.)
  • Sponsor-A-Child programmeand volunteers can help in giving tutions in computer.
Case Stidies
AASARA REUNIFIES A RUNAWAY STREET CHILD BACK TO HIS FAMILY N.S., 13, has been in contact with the organisation for the past two years. He was contacted by the Aasara worker at the Thane railway station and was taken to the contact center. At the contact center he was motivated and counseled by the worker and was referred to the shelter home. In the beginning N.S. did not wanted to go home and preferred continuing his education staying at the shelter itself. Over the time he gradually mixed with the other children and started taking interest in studies. Though he was average in studies, he showed great interest in drawing and painting. He was also sent for computer classes, sponsored by a teacher from St. John's High School, along with other two children.

One day when N.S. was about to appear for his final exam he met with an accident and was taken to Chatrapati Shivaji Hospital at Kalwa by the worker. His uncle, who happened to be there in the hospital for some work at the time, identified N.S. He approached the worker and the child and revealed the condition of the child's family. After the incidence and when the child got well from his accident, the worker counseled the child and made him realize the problems his family is undergoing due to his absence and the child agreed to go back to the family.

Then with the consent of the child, his family was contacted and the professionals did family counseling. Finally the child was reunited with the family in 2000.

Today, N.S and his family is very happy and grateful to Aasara. He continues to keep in touch by either telephoning at the office or by visiting us when he happens to be in the vicinity. He is an extremely happy child now.

A CHILD IS HAPPY TO FIND A 'SHELTER FOR CHANGE'AT THE AASARA DIGHA SHELTER-HOME
D.V., 13 years old, was met at the Thane Railway Station in 1996, when one of the boys informed the workers about him. Having the night shelter at the time, D.V. readily agreed to stay and attend the day care educational class of Aasara alongwith the other children. soon from non-formal education, D.V. was introduced to formal education. Taking note of his progress, he was admitted to the nearby Municipal school in class I.
He continues to remain in the shelter and excel in studies. Presently, he is studying in the VI standard, and ranking most of the time no.1. He is going for the sponsored computer class once a week. He has also taken part in the Zee Close-Up Antakshari programme. He is good at outdoor games, art and craft and is learning to play the casio organ. He is also part of the group of the shelter-home that perform regularly the dance items at various occasions both of the organization and outside.

A CHILD FROM THE SHELTER IS SUCCESSFULLY REHABILITATED BACK TO THE SOCIETY
J. P., 16 years old, had come in contact with Aasara whilst he was staying at the Thane station. Before coming to Thane, he was at the V.T. station. He was for sometime at a NGO, in Mumbai, also working for street children but could not adjust there and came to Thane. J.P. soon started to attend the non-formal day educational classes at Aasara, in 1995. He started to reside in the Night Shelter, for youth at the time. After giving some basic formal education, J.P. was referred to the vocational training in welding. He successfully completed the 2 year course and after some time procured a temporary job as a helper in a factory. He is now employed at a metallurgical firm in Mumbai and resides at the Aasara Night Shelter for Youth, situated in a slum community, at Vithalwadi. He will continue to reside here for another couple of years whilst he continues to save his earnings before he and the other youth move to place of their own.

Awards and acolades won by the aasara's shelter & day care contact centre's children
  • Participation in zee tv close up antakshari in 2001
  • Yellow belt awarded to one child in taekwondu in 2001
  • Trophy for participating in the all mumbai ngo street play in 2002
  • Winning in dance and drama in the local community at the navratari competition in 2000
  • Participating and winning a prize at the all mumbai ngos drawing competition in 2001
  • Participation and winning in school competition during ganesh utsav festival in 2001
  • Cash prize at the dahi handi competition in 2000 & 2001



    AASARA children at a periodic health checkup camp

    AASARA children at a all- Mumbai cultural festival for street children

    AASARA shelter children taking part in a asked to perform for the school function

    AASARA shelter children at a yoga session

Aasara - A Project for Street Children
Address : B/24, Praful Nakhwa Chawl, Chendani Koliwada, Thane-East - 400 603
Tel. No. : 2537 5209 / 2542 6825
Email ID : aasara@indya.com , aasara@im.eth.net
Contact Person : Mr Reggie Pais
    Updated : 20.1.2010

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