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Homes for destitute children in Hyderabad
Six NGOs have come together in Hyderabad to start shelter homes for destitute children to ensure overall development of these children. These homes will provide shelter to children and take care of their educational, health and other needs
THE NUMBER of children deserted by parents, single parents and those who lost their parents is increasing alarmingly, particularly among poor sections of the society. In the absence of social security opportunities they are denied access to education, health and sanitation. In a way they have the potential of resorting to criminal acts thus disturbing peace and harmony in the society.

Such tendencies are increasing in urban areas. Recognizing the need to look after welfare of such children, as many as six NGOs came together in Greater Hyderabad and have decided to start shelter homes for them. These homes will provide shelter to such children; take care of their educational, health and other needs. Besides, care will be taken to create an environment to ensure changes in their behavioural attitude, help them to improve their talents in fine arts like dance.

These NGOs, who initiated this project in the city are Aman Vedika, Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA), Sannihita, LSN Foundation, A P Mahila Society and Bala Tejassu. The Coordinate Team of these NGOs is headed by Aman Vedika extending secretarial support from its office.

Rani is acting as the catalyst by coordinating Partnership Foundation, NGOs and District Administration. In the first phase, they have started six Shelter Homes in Hyderabad. Netherland based Partnership Foundation is providing support to them. Each Shelter Home, being managed by one NGO, is targeting to provide shelter to 50 children

The APSA first started its shelter home at its office in Secunderabad and is about to shift to Municipal Corporation School in Choody Bazaar, besides Osmania Hospital. APSA, established in 1981, is a community development organizing working intensively and consistently with 60 slums in the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderbad.

APSA Director S Srinivasa Reddy said that the uniqueness of this project is they will make use the infrastructure of government schools, for which Hyderabad Collector Navin Mittal has came forward to extend support. It may be recalled most of the infrastructure of government schools are being underutilized.

So, they are expecting the project will help to strengthen the government school systems. The Shelter Homes are being started in the government schools itself. As part of their project,   the NGOs will extent support to strengthen teaching and infrastructure in those schools too.

Srinivasa Reddy said that Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) also came forward to support the project in the first year.

Already 18 girls have been recruited at the APSA Shelter Home. Srinivasa Reddy said the strength would go to 50 once it is shifted to Choody Bazaar School premises. “We are taking care of their education, shelter, food, clothes and health,” he said.

They are also focusing on skill improvement and also providing coaching in dance and other fine arts. Three categories of students are eligible to get admission into shelter homes. At present, APSA is giving admission to girls only. The categories are a) children without parents, b) children with a single parent and c) children from economically backward below poverty line families.

While police and other government departments are also sending such children to these homes, mainly they are depending upon community workers, who are identified from the slums they are working in. Children who became orphans in the recent floods and children who were victims of social abuse are given priority.

Srinivasa Reddy said before sending these children to regular schools, they are trying to motivate them through counseling and regular activity. “We are trying to give them a family environment. Some women from reputed families are also visiting the Shelter Home and counseling them. We have also using services of Clinical Psychologist Dr Sunitha for counseling,” he added.

APSA is arranging one cook, watchmen, and two teachers to take care of these children. Reddy said they will look after them till they complete Class 10. Afterwards also, he said they would take care of their higher education.  

In a way, he said they are committed to adopt these schools. “If some government schools fail to cater to our needs of taking care of these children, we will send them to private schools,” he added. As many government schools lack basic infrastructure like electricity, drinking water and sufficient number of teachers, Reddy said they will also take care of fulfilling these needs.

At the Shelter Home, APSA is trying to create an environment to encourage children to concentrate on their education and improve their talents. For which a sense of discipline is also needed. Since, these students are drawn from poor and neglected families, necessary care is being taken to provide them food with nutrition value.
Students are encouraged to decide their daily time table. That includes choice of food items. A detailed time-table is being drawn describing curriculum and taking care to impart discipline.

Caretaker N Tulasi Bai said that they are able to cultivate a lovely environment. One need not use any harsh word against any one. “All treat me as a grandmother and also call me so. The love and innocence of girls encourage me to look after their well being. I reside at the Home during nights also,” she added.

The cute little girls are free to talk to anyone, including the director about their needs. Apart from the routine time-table, they take them occasionally for excursion to places like the zoo.  

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