SATHI is an Indian non-profit organization primarily working with young children who have run away from their homes or are separated from their families and end up on railway stations. SATHI’s work involves rescuing runaway / separated children from railway platforms, providing them with shelter-care, guidance and counselling and eventually making an attempt to reunite the child back with its family.
Founded in 1992, SATHI was formally registered in 1997 at Raichur, Karnataka. The organization currently works in 9 states across and has its head office in Bangalore.
Create a safe, secure and nurtured environment for runaway and separated children within the child protection system from the grassroots to national level, so that the children can develop holistically with self-confidence, self-worth and dignity.
How we started
SATHI’s story is unique, in that, it began working with children rather unintentionally.
In 1992, an organization called Prerana had been working with farmers in North Karnataka’s Raichur district. The organization was approached by a young woman, who had completed her post-graduation and was passionate about taking care of under-privileged children. Prerana offered its office as a shelter for these children, who were mostly living on Raichur railway station.
Over the next 3 to 4 years, the activities with the children expanded and included recreational activities including picnics, skill training programs such as cycle-repair, screen printing and so on. Although the attempts to place them in jobs met limited success, the engagement with children continued. After a family adopted one child, we realized that many of these children were not abandoned by their families, but had opted to ‘flee’ because of certain reasons (which in most cases were not very serious) without actually thinking of the consequences.
The concept of ‘restoration’ or ‘home-placement’ of children thus began to take shape. Ground research revealed that the parents are also distraught when the child leaves; and they often attempt to search the child without any leads. There was a zeal within the team members to work on this issue in a dedicated manner and a new organization was carved out of Prerana. SATHI was born.
SATHI (Society for Assistance to Children in Difficult Situation) was formally registered in 1997 in Raichur. With the growth of the organization and its work, SATHI moved its head office to Bangalore. Over the years, SATHI has worked in more than 40 different locations in 14 states across India and has helped more than 50,000 children reunite with their families.
Passionate about children and their well-being, Pramod Kulkarni founded SATHI with major focus on rehabilitation of run-away children. His experience and research convinced him that run-away children could be settled back with families. An action-oriented individual, he decided to demonstrate it and that too, in large numbers. At a national scale.
Pramod’s interests in the voluntary sector goes back to his years in Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad where he was pursuing his Post Graduate Diploma in Management. Before this, he had completed his Masters in Statistics from MS University, Baroda. Even as he was pursuing his PGDM, he approached some NGOs in Gujarat to work, but was turned down. But the firmness of his belief to work in the development sector only grew stronger.
He eventually joined PRADAN, an organization which believed that professionally educated individuals must work at the grassroots level to address development challenges. During his stint here, Pramod was thoroughly exposed to practical realities of communities and their issues, but was able to combine his management skills and data driven approach to find solutions. While in PRADAN, he started another organization Prerana, which worked on the issue of irrigation in the dry and rugged North Karnataka districts. Prerana was incubated in PRADAN before becoming an independent entity.
Working with children started almost by accident, with a handful of children on Raichur railway station, resulting in the formation of a new and dedicated organization, SATHI. Since the last 25 years, his zeal and commitment has helped SATHI grow into a national organization and bring national attention to the issue of railway children. His broad vision, which pertains to the child protection sector rather than one organization’s goal or objective, continues to guide SATHI to this day.
He has deservedly earned recognition and several awards. He received the National Award for Child Welfare from the Honourable President of India in November 2015 on behalf of SATHI.
Pramod is also extremely passionate about supporting young and meritorious, but economically disadvantages students pursue their academic aspirations. Towards this, he has been at the core of organizations such as Vidyaposhak and Prerana Nurture Merit.
Though he has relinquished formal positions in the organization, he continues to advise and drive SATHI and other organizations to reach greater heights and serve the needy children of this country.