Aarti Family-based Care
“Poverty is a very complicated issue, but feeding a child isn't.” — Jeff Bridges
‘Children at Aarti Home are so lucky’ is a sentiment that we hear almost every day. Aarti children have had unimaginably bad beginning in their lives. They are orphaned, abandoned, many of them abused in ways we cannot even fathom. How are these children lucky? The answer lies in poverty. Many children who live at home with parent come hungry to the school. They struggle with ill health and poor hygiene. Over a period of time, these children fall off the formal school system. While Aarti children fight a lot of battles related to career, identity, emotional voids, they take the basics of food, medical care, education and lots of love for granted.
This led us to have a home care program for children from broken and poor homes that enables us to provide similar support to children in need without plucking them away from their families. Over the last two years, 30 children have had special care in school with three nutritious meals, uniforms and books. We found that these children, with a little care blossomed and started to be more engaged in school.
According to United Nations, a third of world’s hungry children live in India. The global hunger index report of Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) ranks India at 100 out of 119 countries with more than one in 5 children being malnourished.
Armed with the statistics and our own experiences, we have launched Aarti home-based care for neglected children who have at least one parent who is alive. This program is founded on the principle that the best well being of the child is with the parent and the child deserves a full life, wherever the child lives. We want to support at risk children at their homes.
It is a five step program to pull children out of the cycle of abuse, hunger and addiction while they continue to stay with their families.
Step 1: Our social workers identify at-risk children from slums.
Step 2: Their home environment is assessed for safety and basic values.
Step 3: Parents are coached to enroll child in formal education with bridge schooling
Step 4: Enroll in School with the security of food, clothing, medical and psychological care and education, to and from transportation.
Step 5: Monthly visits to family to check on the well being of the child and family
With this we take the children out of the cycle of hunger, abuse and addiction.
In 2013, two girls Chadrakala and Sunitha escaped child marriage and lived with us in Aarti Village. Within no time, they showed a great improvement in their social behaviour and studies. It was very encouraging for us to see these two girls come out with flying colours in their 10th board exams in 2016. This created ripples in their community and motivated them to approach us to provide better opportunities and education.
A few of these communities are migrants and street acrobats like - Budagajangaalu, Marathis, Thandas, Dommari, Erikela, Yanadi, etc. These communities primarily depend on daily alms for livelihood which may or may not provide their daily needs.
How do we assess the impact?
The children’s health and wellbeing through checkups
Education through grade based assessment
Safety and security through field and social worker visits
With this program, we aim to reach 350 children in 2020. A small beginning in the world where there are thousands of children in need.
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