M ESSAGE @
2013 was a seminal year in the development and evolution of Make A Difference. After a number of years of working intensively with children in shelters we could really see the need for more holistic interventions and longer term support for children, ranging from emotional safe spaces to after-care that are typically not available in the current shelter system. The result of this is that children exiting shelters often struggle to adapt to and cope with life on the outside, resulting in ongoing cycles of poverty and abandonment. This led us to carry out a five year review, reassessing our vision, impact targets and strategies to really understand the interventions and time-frames needed to ensure that children do not leave shelters only to return back to a life at risk. We worked with an international expert, Rizwan Tayabali, to develop a meta solution outlining all the core factors and intervention points that impact outcomes for children in shelters. We then created a long term roadmap to tackle the problem on its real scale, and in 2013 embarked on the start of a journey that we believe will one day transform the lives of all children in shelters across India. Given that we already have significant reach with 85 shelters across 23 cities, our priorities shifted towards quality of impact rather than further growth in size. We decided to pause scaling our reach and remain focused on our existing cities and shelters until we have scaled up the range of programmes and support systems that are needed to ensure lasting long term outcomes. We moved away from a singular focus on English and upgraded our Ed Support programme to include Mathematics and Science. We also expanded our Discover programme, increased the number of Dream Camps we run, and rolled-out a transition support programme we piloted in 2012, called Propel, to seven cities. 2013 thus saw an increase in number of volunteers per child, interventions per child and hours per child, resulting in much improved impact across the programmes we delivered. Our priority for 2014 is to stabilise the foundations of the new MAD we are pioneering, which has both the ability and the capacity to holistically empower children in shelter homes. With your continued support I still believe that at some point in my lifetime we will be able to see an India where abandonment, child labour and child trafficking are things of the past.
Jithin C Nedumala Founder, Make a Difference