1. How can I help? Help of all types is greatly appreciated. There are several ways to get involved in Aarti, such as volunteering your time, donating money, sponsoring a child or fundraising in your community.
2. Can I adopt a child? No. We are not an adoption agency. Adoption through private organizations is illegal because in the past, India had a problem with children being "adopted" into child trafficking. Only the government can arrange and approve adoptions through their agencies.
3. Can I sponsor a child/children? How much does it cost? Yes, you can sponsor the children at Aarti. Please refer to our Donate page for more details.
4. Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes, we are a registered 80G (India) and 501(c)3 (USA) organization so all donations are tax deductible. In the UK, we are a UK Registered Charity. Please see the donate page for more information.
5. Can I volunteer my time at Aarti?
Yes, we accept volunteers from all over the world. We have received many volunteers over the past twenty years, who typically work for 1-3 months at Aarti. We are especially interested in long term volunteers who can come for 6 months or a year. Please refer to our volunteer guide for more details and get in touch with us for enquiries.
6. What is Aarti Home? What is Aarti Village?
Aarti Home is the name for where the children used to live. However, we outgrew the old location, so now, the children live in Aarti Village. Aarti Village a compound outside the city center which allows the children more space to run and grow. The whole village is under the direction of a few adult housekeepers and a village director who live in the village full time. Aarti Village was based on the idea of the family unit, so the girls are divided up into 6 cottages run by house mothers. Aarti Village is frequently still referred to as Aarti Home even though it is in a different location and larger. Please refer to the Aarti Home page for more details.
7. Are the children all orphans? Isn’t there anyone/any relative of the children? Most of the children at Aarti are abandoned. If the mother of a child dies, the family often does not want to keep girl children. Additionally, if a family already has a daughter, there is a high chance that the child might be abandoned, trafficked or killed. Poverty and dowry are factors that lead to abandonment. Oftentimes, the children have some living relatives, but the families do not want to take care of them.
8. How do children arrive at Aarti Home? A child will typically be referred to us by responsible people from her/his village, such as policemen, teachers, elders and our Mana Bidda counselors, who see the plight of the child and often decided the child would be a good fit for Aarti Home. Additionally, we are the nodal agency for Child Helpline in Kadapa and frequently get calls about cases of child neglect, trafficking and abuse through their number (1098).
9. What is the follow-up process when you find an abandoned child? If the child is in a very bad situation, they come immediately to Aarti. If they are staying with extended family,social workers will visit the family and do counseling and reporting before the children come to Aarti. This process usually takes several weeks.
10. How many years do you keep a child in Aarti?
Once a child comes to Aarti, it is her home for life. At Aarti Home she will always be given food, education and place to live and laugh and grow. Even once girls find a job and settle down, they are always free to return. We never kick girls out or place a limitation on their stay in any way.
11. How long does it take a child to adjust or get comfortable at Aarti?
It depends on the girl. Some immediately gel into the community, whereas for others it can take up to a week or 10 days for them to call Aarti their home.
12. Do you have a psychological counselors at Aarti?
Yes, we have a very senior counselor who comes 10-15 days a month to work with individual girls who need support and someone to talk to.
13. Are there boys at Aarti?
Yes, there are a few boys at Aarti since occasionally boys are abandoned or orphaned as well and we would never turn a child away. However, girls are abandoned at a much higher rate in India than boys due to gender discrimination. About 90% of the children at Aarti are girls.
14. Do all the children attend Aarti School? Yes, most of them do attend Aarti School from Kindergarten to10th grade. Others who are pursuing higher education attend college in the town.
16. Which religion do you follow?
Aarti is a secular organization. We do not propagate or prohibit anyone from practicing any religion. At Aarti all the major festivals – Id-ul-Fitr, Diwali, Dusherra, Christmas, etc. are celebrated with equal enthusiasm and fervor.
15. In the documentary, BBC's India's Missing Girls, they discuss that Sandhya and her team help find suitable matches (without dowry) for the girls. How does this work?
We are not a match making organization. Most of our girls are continuing on to higher education, community outreach projects, vocational training, etc. Some of our oldest children are now married, all without dowry.
17. Aarti or Vijay Foundation Trust?
Formally, the umbrella organzation for all of our programs is VFT, Vijay Foundation Trust. However, the organization is known near and far as simply Aarti for Girls, in honor of Sandhya's niece. See the Aarti's Story page for more information.
18. Where are you located?
Aarti Village and our programs are centered in Kadapa, India, a town in Andhra Pradesh. Please see the Contact Us page for our address.