What We Do
Rescuing children from railway platforms
At each of SATHI’s project locations, a team of 4 to 5 outreach workers patrol the railway stations every day for 8 to 10 hours looking for and identifying missing/lost children, children unaccompanied by adults, children who appear to move in an unfamiliar area or suspected to be trafficked, etc. These children are contacted in a friendly manner and motivated to come to the safety of a shelter. The shelters are normally located close to the station. The children are transferred with the information and support of the local railway authorities – Government Railway Police (GRP) and/or Railway Protection Force (RPF).
Shelter-care, counselling and guidance
Once a child is brought to the shelter, it is given basic facilities including food, clothing, medicines (if required) and washing facilities. Through a series of activities and casual interactions, the child is made to feel comfortable. The counsellors at the shelters then have sessions with the child to understand his reasons for being away from the family and try to motivate the child to go back to the care and affection of his family.
Children who have recently run away from home usually respond well to our program and share details about their families quickly. Most children stay in the shelters for 2 to 3 days after which they are either reunited with families or are referred to other institutions for further care and counselling.
Address-tracing and restoration
Based on the information given by the child, his address is traced and family contacted. In many cases, the child provides a contact number or the name of his village. With this the parents are contacted directly or through the police network. In some cases a combination of efforts such as using internet and social media, contacting other NGOs or institutions, team members’ own personal network of contacts result in successful address tracing.
The families are invited to come to the shelter to receive their children. This provides us an opportunity to interact deeply with the parents / guardians about the problems of the child, reasons for separation and care plan for the future. We recommend restoration of the child back with its family if it meets the following criteria:
- Child must be willing to go home
- There must be at least one person in the family to look after the child with care and affection
- Child must have a space for learning and growth
- Basic needs of the child are met (food, clothing, shelter)
- The real reason for separation is identified and addressed
- There are no or minimal chances of repetition of separation
The final decision with regard to restoration of the child rests with the Child Welfare Committee of the respective districts. In case the children cannot be sent back to family, they are referred to the Govt. Children’s Home or any other institution for further care and protection.
Restoration of children staying in govt. Homes
SATHI engages with Govt. Children Homes across the country to help children who have been staying in the homes for long duration reunite with their families. We approach the respective state governments for access to the homes for identifying children who are not in contact with families or those in whose cases address tracing efforts were not successful or children who are unwilling to open up. Our counsellors engage with such children and after sustained efforts, many of their families are found and children are restored.
An important component of our work in government homes is to sensitize the Govt. Home staff and involve them in the restoration process, so that they are able to help more children themselves. Over the years, we are happy to note that more children are being restored through the initiatives of the government home staff.
SATHI running a “Baalika Brundavana” residential care centre in government school premises at Rajajinagar, Bangalore. This is to support girls under the age of 6 to 16 years for girls who are vulnerable on the street. It’s is program approved by the Department of Public Instruction (education). There are 28 girls in this centre. Some have alcoholic parents, some where families are on the street, some very poor families, rag pickers and orphan and semi orphan children. These girls will be taken care till they attain the education till 10th Std.