By Swetha Kannan:
Every child has many beautifulÂ dreams and they look up to their families for primary support. It is where their life begins, they learn values and get prepared to face the world outside their cosy homes. But is this happening the other way around? Unfortunately a lot of children are leaving their homes and becoming the victims of child labour, sexual harassment, disrespect from the society and starvation to death. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reported in 2005 that as many as 44000 children are reported missing every year in India (Source). We do not know how many have gone unreported. And there are nearly 47 million runaway adolescents on our country’s streets (Source).
If you and I have not been able to doÂ anything about it, there is SATHI (Society for Assistance to Children in Difficult Situation), that is doing everything it can. This organization called SATHI was started in 1992 but they registered themselves formally in the year 1997 at Raichur. Their main activity is “Home Placement” wherein they rescue children living on the platforms and help them return to their families safely. SATHI operates in a number of railway stations in Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Allahabad, Pune, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Mughalsarai, Tirupati, Yeshwantpur, Bangalore and Hubli. Mr. Pramod Kulkarni, the founder of SATHI believes that there is no place like home and the children should be placed in their homes as soon as possible.
SATHI has collaborated with various other NGOs to aid their home placement activities and by the year 2009, more than 6000 children wereÂ home placedÂ with the help of those organizations. They also conduct home orientation programs by organising camps with the help of NGOs. Camps focus on bolstering the relationship between the children and parents. Capacity building programs are being conducted for the staff of collaborating NGOs to enhance their managerial effectiveness and help deal with behavioural issues of children.
At this point, we cannot forget the difficulties that children have to undergo in their own houses. Lack of proper understanding between parents and children, tough peer competition, comparisons, lack of healthy communication amongst the family members, violent fights between father and mother, venting out of anger on the child and so many other factors force a child to step out of home forever. It is only then that the parents realise their mistake and want their child back more than anything. SATHI tries to bridge this gap by making follow up calls to make sure that the child is not subjected to such circumstances in the future. Reaching out to the family is just the first step. SATHI understands that it is much more important to ensure the well-being of the child from then on. If they find that a child’s home could never be his/her safe haven anymore, then all due arrangements are made to place the child in governmental homes and ensure their proper education and living.
In this scenario, the activities of SATHI are very helpful as well as inspiring. Sustained financial help and sponsors would benefit the NGO in expanding their operations in many different parts of the country. All their activity reports are available on their websiteÂ whichÂ give a better idea about the different things they do. You can always contribute to the development of such organisations that are trying their best to stand testimony to humanity and in building up a better India.
What are we doing to our nation’s children? These children grow to be a part of theÂ young population that is full of energy and vigour and is capable of transforming the nation. It is our duty to nurture the young buds to bloom in their later life. The lack of proper awareness and interaction has made life difficult for so many kids in our country. These children should receive proper affection and support from their families and be prepared for the real world. That responsibility starts from home, from parents. When you grow up to be a parent tomorrow, give your child the confidence to stand strong in this world and help out others who have been deprived of such opportunities. It is how we expand our humanitarian values, by making sure that it is always alive in our very homes, amidst our very own circles of people. It is how we help realise the vision of NGOs such as SATHI. Such organisations are compensating for our ignorance towards the dark sides of this society.