As explained in the introduction, THARA’s main aim is to create a ‘home away from home’ for the child thrown out into the ‘wild’ of the streets and provide him with every right of his childhood and the ‘normal’ life of a child to develop into a respected dutiful citizen of the country.
A Child learns love and care, responsibility towards the family and the society, from
the family that it belongs. And so the street child, which is deprived of this atmosphere
to grow, should be given the opportunity to grow up in the context of the family in a
society. Every child that wanders on the streets is deprived of parental care, love and
concern of the family. Hence THARA aims at providing such an atmosphere in which, the
child feels accepted and is cared for. Usually, every child needs five important
factors in the context of its life: physical, spiritual, moral, intellectual and
psychological formation. In other words, a child has to be trained in a holistic
way. The fundamental rights of a child are to have a good health, training in
moral consciousness, and to get educated. A child is not only a recipient of all
the benefits, which the society offers but also has the singular privilege of
contributing something to the society to which it belongs. And so every child
should be trained not only to receive but also to give.
Following can be summed up as our mission:
1. To rescue and protect the children found on the streets
2. To build up an atmosphere of a family
3. To provide counseling and guidance
4. To provide social support and to build a positive image of street children among the public
5. To defend the rights of the child
6. To provide rehabilitation
What we do here is not charity but ensure the child his or her rights.
Therefore the goal is the holistic growth of the child in to a fully human person.
Our programmes and vision:
1. Identifying the child on the streets who are away from home. Three of our staff goes
to the street and railway platforms etc at different times in a day.
2. Informing the police about the finding of the child. We are in touch with Local
police station [Gopalpuram], and the Railway police.
3. Efforts are taken in different ways to reach the child back to family. Many children were accompanied to reach home. Many parents were called to our Center to receive their children after contacting them over phone. These reunions are the moments of deep joy for the parents and the children.
4. Give counseling to the children to be in reunion with the family members. The parents of the child is also given counseling and guidance. A follow up is made even after the child reached his home.
5. The children who are addicted to drugs etc and who are in need of medical attention are given special attention.
6. Bridge course is being conducted for the dropouts to join in the regular school.
7. The children below fifteen are attending regular school. They are admitted in SPG School and Islamia School. Right now, forty of them are going to school. A few of them are admitted in English medium. Children are given special coaching when they are back at the Center from the school. Many of them shine in the academic pursuits, scoring first, second or third rank in their respective classes.
8. The children above fifteen are being sent different places to acquire different skills like, automobile mechanism, driving, tailoring, house keeping, and hotel management, etc.
9. Children are trained in music and dance, drawing etc. During summer holidays selected boys get the opportunity to learn musical instruments, dance etc in Kaladarshini, in ANDHRA LOYOLA COLLEGE, Vijayawada .
10. Regular spiritual and physical exercises are part of the daily programme.
11. Entertainment programmes, cultural events, picnics etc are part of the weekly and monthly programmes.
12. The St Patrick’s school ground is made use for the games and other activities. The coaches of the school give coaching for the boys in cricket, football etc. THARA boys bagged many prizes when LOYOLA ACADEMY conducted tournaments for school children.
13. Birthdays and all religious and other festivals are celebrated with due importance.
14. Children who study at the high school level are motivated to join in NCC. This is to imbibe the spirit of patriotic love for the nation.
15. The children are initiated and motivated to gardening and identifying the medical plants in collaboration with the municipal corporation and it creates an awareness of eco-friendly relation ship.
Formation of street children demands different types of ambiance and requirements. The child has to be shaped through different stages of growth, formation and liberation. This is visualized in four stages. Each stage needs to be taken care of independently. They could be divided in the following phases or stages: 1. Drop-in Center; 2. De-addiction Center; 3. Home for formal education. 4. Home for learning technical skills.
Phase I: Drop-in Center:
We have this Center already in St Patrick’s School campus, Secunderabad, which is in the heart of the city and it is just 5 minutes walking distance from the Secunderabad railway station. The children are brought in here first, from the nearby railway station, bus stand and streets. The children live on the street adapting themselves to the culture and life-style of the street. They follow the culture of use and throw and attend to their personal hygiene anywhere in the street. They have to learn quite a few simple lessons on cleanliness, regularity, and habitual ways of doing things. When brought to the Center, the child begins to wash his cloths and use it again, thus he learns the lesson of cleanliness. At the center, the child begins to learn again how to use the toilet and take care of his personal hygiene. He comes out of his own skin diseases he had possibly acquired on the street. He is taught here to give respect for one another and not to use vulgar language. He is totally independent and not submitted to anyone on the street. Here, once again the child comes in touch with his childhood and learns to be submitted to elders and gives respect to one another. This is a kind of a nursery stage where, the child is trained to be steady, regular and disciplined.
Phase 2: De-addiction center
The children on the street are exposed to the elderly people who are addicted to smoking and drugs. These children easily imitate them and become addicted to these intakes. This deteriorates their health damaging their liver in their tender age. This affects tremendously their thinking pattern and they are led into depression invariably. Not only they become prey to the addiction but also prone to do criminal activities. So they need to be taken care of closely. Provision for de-addiction programmes, counseling, meditation, yoga etc would enable the child to come back to normalcy. An atmosphere for this kind has to be created specially at this stage.
Phase 3: House for formal education
Once the child reaches the normal behavioral pattern, time has reached to put him back to school. The child has to go through a bridge course before put into school. At this Center, provision for helping the child to learn with the assistance of tuition master is required. An atmosphere of quietness is to be maintained. At this stage, motivation for bringing out the hidden talents and engaging them in to extra-curricular activities would give them a boost for living their childhood in a meaningful way. Here a routine timetable for school days and holidays to be followed. The age group would be below fifteen at this Center.
Phase 4: House of learning technical skills
At this center, the age group will be above fifteen. From here, the children would go out to learn different skills. There are many possibilities to learn different skills within two kilometers radius. Their timetable would be different from other centers. They need more relaxation when they are back at the Center. Their thinking pattern would be different from other children. A follow up is needed here so that they do not fall back into their previous deviant behavioral patterns. At this stage, possibilities of suppressed behaviors could be expressive and hence violence could erupt. Therefore, a close monitoring is required, while giving responsibilities to them.