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Open Hearts, Open Gates‌

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Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners Building Caring Communities

Rainbow Foundation India H. No. 1-1-711/C/1, Opposite Vishnu Residency, Gandhi Nagar, Hyderabad-80 Ph.: 040 65144656 Website:

Rainbow Foundation India

la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks---gj jkr dh ckgksa esa] lqcg dk ut+kjk gks

In this life full of strife In this life, full of strife, We long for a friend and guide... In the darkness of night We long for a dawn, warm and bright

la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks---geus rks t+ekus dh] jaft'k dks gh ih Mkyk pqHkrs gq, gj iy dks] gl [ksy ds th Mkyk

In this life full of strife, We long for a friend and guide… We swallow hatred and the vile Stinging moments, with a smile

D;ksa iwN jgs gks rqe] D;k geus xok;k gS thou dh rks cl NksM+ks] gj [okc ijk;k gS

Why do you ask, what have we lost, Not just life, even our dreams went past...

la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] dksbZ rks gekjk gks----

In this life, full of strife We long for a friend and guide…

oks iy Hkh Fkk viuk] ;s iy Hkh gekjk gS la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] vc dksbZ gekjk gS---oks jkrsa feV gh xbZ] ,d lqcg vkbZ u;h py jgs veu dh jkgksa ij] gj [okc gekjk gS ,d vk'kk veu dh] gS vc bl fny esa dksbZ jkg u vc jksds] dqN dj ds fn[kkuk gS c<+k,axs ge dne dks] feVk;saxs gj xae dks pysaxs mu jkgksa ij] tgk¡ ls fn[krk fdukjk gS la?k"kZ dh jkgksa esa] gj dksbZ gekjk gS----

In this life, full of strife, We have someone as a guide and friend… That past was ours, this present is ours In this life, full of strife, Now we have someone as a guide and friend… Those nights have passed, there dawns a new sun Walking on the paths of peace, every dream is ours There is a ray of hope in this heart There is no stopping us; we have to achieve something now We will take a step forward, remove all the pain We will walk on paths in life, from where the shore is near In this life, full of strife, We have everyone as a guide and friend…

Written by one of the children from a Sneh Ghar in Delhi

Open Hearts, Open Gates…”

Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners Building Caring Communities

Rainbow Foundation India

We would like to thank… In researching and writing these handbooks, we have drawn on some of the best examples in the work by pioneers like Sister Cyril in Kolkata, MV Foundation led by Shantha Sinha and the BOSCO Brothers. We have added learning based on the efforts of Centre for Equity Studies and Aman Biradari, Aman Vedika to establish and manage Rainbow Homes and Sneh Ghars .Without the support of the senior officials in the Department of School Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) and the state governments of, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi Karntaka, Tamilnadu,West Bengal, this effort would not have been possible. This effort was supported by grants from Partnership Foundation. We are grateful to the following experts who authored various portions of the detailed manuals; for each, this was a labor of love. The writers are Harsh Mander, Preeti Mathew, Satya Pillai, Shashi Mendiratta and Sharmila Sinha. We appreciate Samira Eusebia Odrich for the illustrations apprearing on page 35. We learnt a great deal from the children themselves, as well as the team members or Sneh Sathis who provided rich insights. We acknowledge Satya’s stewardship and for holding the reins of all the teams to ensure timely completion of this complex task. She was ably advised by Sister Cyril, Sveta Dave, K Anuradha, Late Ferdinand Van Koolwijk, Fr. George Kollashany, and Shashi Mendiratta; and assisted by her team members Preeti Mathew and Ambika Kapoor. We would also like to thank Aarti Chandra for patiently going through the transcripts and editing them. Finally, sincere and heartfelt thanks to Harsh Mander, for his inspiring leadership of the entire process of putting our learning’s together and ensuring that the child remained in focus at all times.


Contents Chapter 1: The Role of Caring and Collaborative Communities in the Lives of Homeles Children..........................................................................................5 Chapter 2: Approaching, Engaging and Sustaining a Long-term Relationship with the Community.....................................................................................................8 Chapter 3: Building Bridges with Key Stakeholders............................................................... 13 Chapter 4: Mobilising Children from the Street...................................................................... 25 Chapter 5: Social Mobilisers: Roles and Responsibilities....................................................... 40 Annexures....................................................................................................................................... 43 A Home On The Streets - Excerpts from Unheard Voices..................................................... 56




The Role of Caring and Collaborative Communities in the Lives of Homeless Children

The Notion of Communities The invisibility and high mobility of the street-dwelling population makes it extremely difficult to accurately assess their numbers but a UNICEF report states that globally there are probably 100 million homeless people of which India is home to approximately 11 million. The number of children living on the streets in metro cities has also grown alarmingly in recent years. It is estimated that in Delhi alone there are about fifty thousand children to about a lakh surviving on the streets. There are many reasons for this influx into cities from small towns and villages – escape from extreme poverty, abuse and deprivation, looking for work and additional income to send back home, developmental displacement and migration, the lure of glamour, available opportunities, etc. Some live on the streets with families while a majority has opted to face life alone. Though there is a powerful, moving and romantic image in the desperate courage of a child setting out into the world with little to fall back on, it is also sadly true that in the process ‘childhood’ is the tragic victim. Growing up from a child to an adult is an overwhelming journey. The more fortunate amongst us were able to negotiate this journey because there were people who cared for us. What then must it be like for those who have none? Children on the street are quite resourceful but it is important to recognise the struggles they go through which imbue them with great strengths but also leave behind emotional scars. These mar their abilities to form lasting, healthy personal relationships in life which are the foundation for a corresponding healthy and successful social life. The journey of street children takes them through many transitions and brings them in touch with many adults and beliefs that shape their perspective of life and the nature of their relationships. Homelessness relentlessly drives children to the shadowy margins of society where they live out their days flitting from one identity to another. As they maneouver their way through injustice, loneliness and deprivation their trust in adults and institutions of care gradually gets completely eroded. The feeling of neglect, discrimination and being unwanted is almost impossible for children to shake off since social attitudes and behaviours around them tend to reinforce this sense of exclusion. The manner in which communities that we are all familiar with – police, law makers, law enforcers, hospitals, neighbourhoods, schools - treat and behave with street children (including their parents and families) is very different from their behaviour with other ‘acceptable, respectable people’ in society. Marginalised children remain surrounded by this hostile environment leaving both adult communities and children in confrontational mode, negative, distanced and disengaged. The only way to build bridges is for society to consistently and convincingly behave in a manner that would convey to the children that all adults are not the same and over time build a positive image of adults. Children on the streets need a lot from adults around them 5

and the community around them has many roles to play to fill the gaps in their lives. The Right to Education 2009 and the adoption of the UN Charter of Rights of Children that provide the legal and policy framework, together with enabling schemes that exist in the country, have brought children to the centre of political and social conscience. However, it is impossible for a street child to avail any of these resources without a facilitative, collaborative and concerned community that links the two together and stays in the picture till the child’s journey of life reaches a state of emotional, psychological and financial stability. It requires multi-sectoral institutions to come together synergistically at separate stages in the life of a child. How does one make it possible to harness the positive power of like-minded people to come together and reverse the situation – from one of exclusion to a state of inclusion and provide street children safety, care and protection? We have found that this can be achieved through an intellectual engagement of community and its leaders who understand the problems and needs of disadvantaged children. Belief in the ideology of ‘inclusion’ and exploring the notion from a rights-based perspective are effective methods for communities to develop deeper and more fundamental connections with street children. It requires a sustained and persistent dialogue on issues of social injustice with members of different communities to instill compassion and empathy without resorting to superficial moral pressures. The transformation of people into collectives of caring and sensitive communities that are able and willing to take ownership of the deprived and the vulnerable in their midst is not easy, though possible. High public empathy, deep sense of moral responsibility and long term involvement of a critical mass of concerned individuals operating from a shared sense of societal injustice have a crucial role in ensuring that efforts and plans to rebuild the lives of children on the streets are sustainable. Involving the community is not an option but the only way to ensure that initiatives for social reform are sustainable. If handled with skill and sensitivity, a community can be converted into a staunch ally of street children. Community involvement gives the people a feeling that they ‘own’ responsibility for the problems and the future of the children. Resource persons emerge and a structure for collective action is activated which leads to an improvement in the lives of street children. The community can potentially provide street children with attachments, resources and opportunities to develop skills. The triangulated interaction of the government, civil society and agencies potentially leads to mutual trust, respect and inter-dependence as well as a sense of social well-being among the citizenry (as in Fig 1). Involving the community has not just immediate benefits but some more indirect ones as well that show up only in the long run. These are: •• Helps to mobilise widespread public support. •• Ensures empowerment of those involved in the process by increasing the knowledge of the community members of their own rights and the ability to advocate for themselves and for the problems surrounding them. This supports local ownership of solutions and dignity of communities and it prepares them to respond to issues in general. •• This in turn reduces the dependence on outside interventions and aids, as the community 6


•• •• •• •• ••

becomes adept at identifying the needs and attending to them. As people become more sensitive to the needs of the children, the chances of the getting greater access to services increases, offering prospects for better funding, resources and services. Enhances transparency and fosters accountability. Nurtures the social fabric that binds communities together. Increases participatory decision-making processes by bringing diverse stakeholders into a common process. Expands inclusion of often marginalised populations, such as women, youth, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and religious or ethnic minorities. Fosters stronger relationships between community, local government, businesses and CBO/ NGOs. The issue becomes politically sensitive. This provides an opportunity to influence government policy. The stigma, discrimination and human rights issues eventually lessen.

All this is achieved on the ground by a dedicated set of people, the mobilisers, who connect with the stakeholders in the community – the neighbourhood, the traders, business people, hospitals, police, schools, vocational centres, leaders, politicians, NGO groups, social activists – all of whom form the critical safety net around children. They carry the responsibility to initiate processes of collectively evolving possible solutions and raising resources and push for awareness, reforms and justice in the right forums. The following chapters seeks to understand the management of this complex process and presents an approach to building caring communities. One chapter is exclusively dedicated to locating and mobilizing the children living on the streets. The manual also examines the persona of the community mobiliser and presents the skills, attitudes and knowledge that are essential in order to undertake this responsibility effectively. It may be noted that Social Mobilizer, Community Mobilizer and Field Worker has been used interchangeably in this document.




Approaching, Engaging and Sustaining a Long-term Relationship with the Community

A significant fall-out of the interplay of various social, economic and political situations is that the number of homeless adults and children on the street keeps swelling. Attempts to address the pervasive and ever growing issue through â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;one-ofâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; efforts that engage single or isolated groups or sporadic activities can only have limited impact. This can be achieved only through the collective efforts of the entire community and to be truly effective, should be focused on changing fundamental beliefs and practices of individuals, groups and institutions; with the change occurring in their hearts and minds. These agents of change can ensure that the initiatives donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t remain limited to an emotional response but have a life of their own; surviving long after the initial enthusiasm subsides. In the context of work with street children, tangible support of the community can be sought primarily for the following1. 2. 3.

Identify & mobilize vulnerable children Support in enabling holistic development of such children Help to launch and reintegrate them into the mainstream as independent & responsible citizens

The creation of a caring society is not easily achieved. It has to be systematically planned and allowed to grow organically. This chapter deals with the ways in which communities can be approached, engaged and their support sustained.

A. Approaching the Community Define the Need and Set the Goals Before approaching a community for its support, it is necessary to first clearly articulate the primary objective with which it is being approached. For example if an implementing organisation is undertaking work with children in a city for the first time, the primary need at this initial stage would be information. For example, knowledge about the prevalence of homelessness and number of street children in the city, where to locate them, how best to reach out and identify the most needy, etc. all of which would be required to design a programme at that location. Locating appropriate spaces to house the children is another important target at this stage and therefore identifying schools that might be running below capacity or are situated close to areas where there is a concentration of street children becomes yet another need. In the case wherein the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home is already established and is being built up further, the focus will shift to refurbishment of the infrastructure and to strengthen the services offered to the resident children, i.e. feeding, clothing, medical care, education, recreation, transportation, etc. In contrast, mature Sneh Ghars/Rainbow Homes, that have already been running for 3-5 years are likely to have overcome the infrastructure establishment woes and can focus intensively on the development of children. 8

The needs of such a home will be to enrich and deepen the quality of education, providing extracurricular exposure, helping older children find appropriate vocational and internship opportunities, etc. The implementing teams should collectively and carefully articulate the specific needs in the form of a detailed list based on the current requirements that can range from time to money, food, clothing, to expertise and opportunities. If there are several needs on the list, it is best to prioritise and divide it into immediate needs and those that can be deferred for a while. It is important to not enlist essential items like food and medicines into this list. This list should be reviewed and revised at regular intervals, not exceeding more than three months, to ensure that the changing needs of the programme, children and the Sneh Ghar/ Rainbow Home are being noted. Identify the Community Members or Agencies whose Support is to be Sought Once the list of needs is prepared systematically, the appropriate people or agencies in the community that can support those needs should be identified. Apart from private organisations and individuals, there are several government and civil society units and agencies that are specifically mandated to support this work (This aspect has been elucidated in Chapter 3 of this manual). It is however important to approach the right people, at the right time, for fulfillment of a right need. For example, for information to locate the children and mobilise them on the streets, the support of the immediate neighbourhood such as peer leaders, vendors, police constables, etc. is essential. If an RWA association is approached to help in locating and mobilising children from the streets, it is not likely to garner any significant response whereas the same group may enthusiastically agree to send retired volunteer teachers to help children residing in a neighbourhood Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home with education. The community will respond to a call only if there is a match between what the implementing organisation needs and what they can offer, i.e. if they have the expertise, inclination or see themselves being able to contribute meaningfully towards fulfilling it or are duty bound towards providing it. The pitch for support should be based on identifying the right people and agencies based on understanding of the needs vs interest, ability or expertise of the community to deliver. Know the Community A mobilisation plan that fits with and builds on the needs, skills and resources of the members is more likely to be sustained and scaled up if the community resources have been mapped. Once the individuals or the units whose support has to be sought have been identified, efforts should be made to know them deeper. Try to find out as much as possible about the geography, social organisation, the local culture, economics, language, politics and ecosystem of the community to be approached. Similarly, in order to engage individuals, it is essential to understand the personâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests, and what would motivate his/her involvement. The implementing team should design creative tools to explore the following about the community and its members:


•• Is the agency/person mandated to work on this issue? If yes, what are the guidelines around •• •• •• •• ••

it? What are the challenges they face in delivering it? In case of individuals and private organisations, what will truly motivate them? What are the main interests of this individual or the community members at this particular time? Are there any activities already being undertaken for any social cause and plans for action already articulated? What cultural practices are prevalent that can reinforce mobilisation? What knowledge, values and outcomes does the community or members value most? Who are the decision makers in the community?

B. Engaging the Community Develop a Dialogue between Community Members Begin a genuine engagement with the community. Spend a significant amount of time visiting, meeting and having a dialogue with the members, to help them understand the work, the need and how and why their contribution will be invaluable. Go beyond appealing to the goodwill of others to give a good life to the children by discussing legitimate needs and priorities and hold the community accountable for treating children as equal human beings. This will challenge them to examine and assess their value system and encourage them to make meaningful contributions and sustainable change. The impact of clear and timely communication cannot be stressed enough. Prepare in advance, crisp communication materials such as posters, data, photos, etc. for crisp and effective communication (Refer Annexure 1). Site visits and real interactions are extremely powerful methods at all levels that allow an emotional connection to develop. During the course of the interaction, find out how they feel about the work, the approach, the activities that have been designed and their role towards realising it. Do not make any assumptions as every community has its own dynamics and perspectives. Find out if they agree with the tasks and determine any conflicting interests.

Work with Existing Leaders - While approaching large communities, spend time to identify or groom, strong and capable community leaders which invariably goes a long way in leveraging community resources. Find out who the natural leaders are; the ones that people refer to and engage them early and often, to motivate and unite the rest of the community. Mobilising teams should be careful in identifying these persons as often leaders can be people who one least expects, such as women or youth or others who have the respect of a large group of people but may not hold a title.

Negotiate a Realistic Plan Through continuous engagement and mutual discussion, agree on the specific support role that would be taken up by the person/ people from whom the support is sought. Do not be vague about the kind, depth and time of support. Create a concrete plan on the basis of the implementing organisation’s needs, and the interest, skills and time commitment of those who are engaging. Clarify whether they will be engaged in direct work involving children or in activities that will implicitly impact the work such as fund raising, community 10

mobilisation, event management, etc. Once a commitment is agreed upon, give an in-depth orientation and training as required to ensure that both the parties are aligned in terms of values, tasks and outcomes. It is critical to introduce everyone who will engage with the children to the Child Protection Policy Protocol of the organisation, so that they can plan their engagement in mutually safe and acceptable ways.

C. Sustaining Community Involvement Ensure Regular and Clear Communication Getting people to engage continuously can be difficult, and therefore it is important for community members to be re-energised regularly. Build a habit of regular and clear communication right from the start. This means asking lots of questions, listening to what people may not be saying directly, but hinting or implying and checking to be sure that everyone is clear on an issue. Set a time and process for responding to and reviewing ideas, suggestions, comments and perceptions. This can be achieved through regular meetings with the community for each to share information on what is being already done and to talk about what can or should be done in order to go forward. Adequate advance notice of meetings and other events encourages participation in discussions and decisions. To ensure sustained engagement and momentum, community members also need to be exposed regularly to ideas that build on and reinforce each other, from a variety of sources, over a long period of time. Repeated exposure to the same ideas from a variety of sources can make a difference in peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s attitudes and behaviour. Organising talks, film screenings, exposure etc is beneficial. One of the ways to sustain the motivation is for community members to see the long-term benefits of their work. Marking progress with small celebrations in the community or home or having events to look forward to, like cross-visits with other communities, are very effective. Linking communities so that they can learn from each other is particularly effective. Share stories or instances showing impact of their actions in the form of written reports, photos, etc. regularly. Mobilisation is often seen to be something that happens just by talking to people about an activity and does not require any significant investment. However in reality, effective mobilisation requires intensive investment of time and effort, and these resources have a substantial cost to them. Implementing teams should ensure that a clear provision is made in the budget and separate allocations for mobilising officers, visits, activities and their supervision are clearly set aside. In addition to these resources, training programmes, which are critical for this activity, require investment of time, space and human resources. Community Mobilisation is a systematic process and ensuring ownership is a time consuming exercise. Recognise this reality and plan accordingly. Start small and resist the urge to build the network too quickly. Although a large network brings the perspective of more members, 11

it is important to lay a solid foundation first. Start with a small number of people and in a limited geographical area, as smaller groups are easier to manage. Mobilising the community requires a degree of maturity and deep engagement and this takes time. Keep flexibility in time lines. Slowly build a programme to suit the specific needs of the implementing organisation or Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home; refining the process along the way. As the Sneh Sathis mature in their work and the engagement with the community deepens, they will become more confident and skilled in facilitation and in turn, mobilisation will speed up and produce effective results.




Building Bridges with Key Stakeholders

The delivery of services to ensure the rights of children living and working on the streets is a complex and challenging process, as it requires an inter-sectoral and integrated approach. The caring community that needs to converge and collaborate to make this possible consists of members that can be categorised into representatives of Government Departments like Education, Health, Police, Railway, Labour, Department of Women and Child Welfare; Legal Associations, Municipal Corporations, the Civil Society itself and the local NonGovernmental Organisations (NGOs) and Advocacy Foundations that work for the welfare of children. (See Fig.2) “Working to ensure the rights of children is not just the onus of one community unit. In 1984-85, when UNICEF was changing perspective, it led a process that resulted in Bangalore having the first Action Committee/Plan for street children, which was headed by Women and Child Development (WCD) but also had the support of the Police Commissioner, the Mayor, the Departments of Health, Education, Labour, Urban Development and the Home Ministry. The programme talked about educational alternatives from the Government. The Committee was a forerunner to the creation of a national level networking of NGOs – the National Forum for Street and Working Children. Today, the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) has been modelled on this Action Committee.”

- Father George

This chapter looks more closely at these key units/ persons under each category and provides insights into how an implementing organisation can collaborate with them and leverage their support to help children access their rights and reintegrate them back into the mainstream.

Fig.2: Community Stakeholders 13

A. Government Agencies Police Police is the single largest agency appointed by the state to guard and defend citizens and maintain law and order. It has various wings in a city, such as the State Police, the Government Railway Police and the Railway Protection Force.

According to a report by UNICEF on street children, in a society where violence is accepted at all levels, i.e. family, school, community and where there are strong juvenile justice systems, where operations on the ground are inadequate or appropriate alternatives of care and protection are not in place, the overuse of detention, particularly pre-trial detention and detention of non-offenders is high.

In the context of street children, interaction with the police has largely been experienced and portrayed in a negative light. The authority that should protect, is seen as one of the most feared social agents by street children as well as homeless adults. Many children, who in the first place are on the streets to avoid poor or ill treatment by some family member, find another aggressor, the police, subjecting them, once again, to violence. Most of the children on and from the street, portray the police as an enemy, and recall encounters with them as being one of the most agonising street experiences. According to the children, police cruelty and violence occurs in three forms:1 •• Through systematic persecution with the intent to remove them from the streets against their will.

•• Actions with deliberate intent to humiliate them using verbal or physical aggression. •• In some cases through (alleged) sexual abuse, as revealed by the children in an indirect manner. “Where I work, being the centre of the city, the police is extremely alert and hawk eyed and often resort to violence to keep the place clear of street children. Out of the lot, there were two officers who were particularly brutal and I had complained about them at the police station. One day while I was sitting around with some children, I was summoned by them. Brushing aside my anxiety, I followed the messenger who took me to a nearby old temple, which mostly lay vacant and isolated. Crossing the dark winding corridors, I reached a small dingy section where I found the two constables sitting in an inebriated state. They threatened me, “Bahut hero banta hai” (Don’t make trouble for us or else you will be in greater trouble). Although I beginning to feel frightened I tried to maintain my calm, and told them that I was doing nothing wrong in working for the children; they have rights and in fact we should work together. In the meantime, two or three children whom I had been sitting with when I was called away found their way into the temple and seeing the small crowd behind me swelling, the policemen signaled me away. I continued to report cases of their atrocity and when a new SHO joined, he called me in and heard me out patiently. The two constables were asked to be “line hazir” for an inquiry. On being asked about what I would suggest to the beat constables on duty who encounter these children every day, I suggested that every morning during the parade, the senior should remind the constables that it is unlawful to beat

Excluded and Invisible - The State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2006



up the children and to contact the social mobilisers present on the field to deal with difficult situations. Another way is to create a booth in the police station and publicise it at all strategic points where the child is likely to reach in the city. These booths can be manned by one of the members (of the network of organisations) for a significant part of the day so that when a child arrives s/he can be interacted with immediately. This can also be done by older children of the Rainbow Home on a rotation basis.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

The police, faced with the pressure of maintaining security, see street children as vagrants, troublemakers, future criminals and as elements undesirable to public interest, and therefore to be controlled to preserve public order, cleanliness and community safety. With no alternate options, the police often resort to simply rounding up or locking children up. An implementing agency can do several things to bridge this gap. The regular and strong presence of an experienced team of field workers who can speak and attend to children, who live and work on the streets, will greatly be of help to the constables on duty. The JJ Act clearly lays out several guidelines and a code of conduct especially for the police. The community mobilisation team should make concerted efforts to increase the awareness of these norms starting with sensitising the local police units in charge of protecting the children, especially the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) who are deployed at railway stations( concentrated hub for street children) and have the responsibility to deal with the children directly on a day-today basis. Roles and Responsibilities of the Police under the Juvenile Justice Act •• Appointment of a Special Juvenile Police Unit at the district level, consisting of a Juvenile officer or Child Welfare Officer and two experienced social workers, with at least one being a woman. Special Juvenile Officers should be appointed to deal with juveniles and should be specially instructed and trained, .

•• The Officers must handle juveniles/children in co-ordination with NGOs or voluntary organisations. While handling children, the police officers must not be in uniform but in plain clothes. Also, no child, even if s/he has allegedly committed a crime can be handcuffed or fettered.

•• Legal protection must be provided to juveniles/children against all kinds of cruelty, abuse and exploitation.

•• Serious cognizance must be taken of adult perpetrators of crimes against children and to see that they are apprehended without delay and booked under the appropriate provisions of the law.

•• If found guilty, after due inquiry, of mentally or physically torturing a child, the police officer is liable to be removed from service, besides being prosecuted for the offense.


Underlying this sensitisation is the fact that the children on the street are not criminals but are infact a developing person in need of care and protection. It needs to be emphasised that it is unconstitutional and unjust to beat up, arrest and lock up children. It is also important to help the police understand how their action of forcefully rounding up these children with the help of the CWC, sending them to a children or observation home or restoring them to their family against their will, only to once again face the same problems that might have led them to run away from their home in the first place, makes them eventually return to the streets. They thus follow a path with no definite direction and without any future in a never ending cycle. A basic orientation on the hardships that these children face and the reasons for being on the street can help to soften their stand. Insist on all police officers receiving a basic practical training on these issues and how to communicate with the children, especially in difficult cases where the child may be lost, sexually abused, etc. and what to do at such times. Establish a rapport with the police. For this, set a convenient time to have a face to face meeting to discuss the situation of street children in the area. Address the police properly by using correct names and titles. Tell them, who you are, the work your agency or project carries out with the street children, and what your role involves. Present ones Identity Card (ID) if possible. Police should be trained together with other professionals working with children, e.g. social workers, lawyers, attorneys, judges, media personnel, NGO personnel, activists, etc. to have a cross section of perspectives during the training so as to ensure coordination and cooperation while working on child protection. Conducting a Police Sensitisation Workshop

• Share information on the problems and needs of street children, and discuss and provide written • • • • •


information (brochures) on local programmes and services present for street children, e.g. referral centres that can deal with a child under the influence of drugs. Ask about the roles and functions of the police and its experience with street children. Share with them what the street children have reported about their positive and negative experiences with the police and the legal system. Discuss specific laws relevant to street children and go over the rights of street children. Show a positive attitude towards the police and ask for their help to identify ways to work together to improve the situation of street children. After the first meeting, visit the police station on a regular basis so that the police can know you before a crisis situation occurs.

Childline The Government of India launched the Childline Service during the year 1998-99. It is a 24 hours free phone service, implemented in collaboration with local NGOs, which can be accessed by any child in distress or an adult on his/her behalf by dialing the telephone number 1098. Childline provides emergency assistance, i.e. rescue and subsequent referral, based on the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s need for long-term follow up and care. Childline is mandated to help with repatriation of children in collaboration with the police and the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). According to a Childline member, 70% of all calls received by them are made by street children themselves. The mobilising team should make regular contact and work closely with this agency. Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) - Anganwadi Programme This is a government sponsored programme and one of Indiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s primary social welfare schemes to tackle malnutrition and health problems in children. Delivery of services under the ICDS scheme is managed in an integrated manner through Anganwadi Centres. The main beneficiaries of the programme are aimed to be (i) all children below 6 years of age (ii) the girl child up to her adolescence and (iii) pregnant and lactating mothers. These centres are mandated for Immunisation, Supplementary Nutrition, Health Checkups, Referral Services, Pre-school Non-formal Education, Nutrition and Health Information. In every city one centre for every 800 persons has been established. The mobilising teams should link up the community with the nearest Anganwadi to procure the above mentioned services. Mid-day Meal System A flagship programme of the Department of Education, the primary objective of the scheme is to provide free, hot, cooked meals on school days to children of primary and upper primary classes studying in government schools. Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Homes that have been started in private buildings and are still waiting for school buildings to be allocated to them or have children who have not been formally admitted into schools as yet can also request to be included and receive the services of the scheme. Health Centres, Private and Government Hospitals It is mandatory for every state government to ensure adequate and effective medical treatment for its population. Primary Health Centres (PHC) providing basic health services are located every 5 kms, with whom the social mobilisers can link up. They also have an outreach worker in their team who can be asked to come to areas of concentration on a weekly basis to dispense medicines. In addition, all government hospitals and some specified recognised private hospitals are mandated to provide 25% free beds and other medical services for persons from the 17

economically weaker sections (EWS) St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ambulance is a premier non-religious, noncategory, i.e. any patient who is a political, non-sectarian, secular organisation, covering fifty resident of India, having a monthly countries of the world. It offers ambulance services, training, mobile medical units, first aid, awareness and prevention income less than the minimum wages camps, blood donation, pathological units, eye testing and of an unskilled labourer. For accessing surgeries. this, the social worker is the contact *** person, who on the presentation Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) is an autonomous body of the Government of the National of the Below Poverty Line (BPL)/ Capital Territory of Delhi. It provides free ambulance Antyodaya Anna Yojana(AAY) card services to victims of accident and trauma on a 24x7 bearing the name of the patient or basis with a fleet of well-equipped ambulances and welltrained manpower. It functions with a GPS-GIS enabled a recognition/referral letter from computerised system. Calls of accidents and medical the commissioner, Sub-Divisional emergencies are received on telephone numbers 102 and Magistrate (SDM) or Tehsildar will 1099. CATS provides ambulance services to all persons needing medical attention including transportation of arrange for the required service. pregnant women to the hospital and home after delivery, If the free bed facility is currently completely free of cost. not available in the hospital, they are required to refer the case to a private hospital based on the patientâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s choice, availability and the speciality treatment required. Department of Education The government under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (Education for All Movement) aims at providing free education to children aged 6â&#x20AC;&#x201C;14 years. This means that any child approaching a school has to be mandatorily provided admission and free education. The child is also entitled to other school supplies such as uniform, books, etc. It is under this scheme that the current Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Homes are operating. Also under the Right to Education (RTE Act), all schools, private or government, reserve 25% seats for children from the vulnerable sections. In addition there are schools offering special education. Apart from this there are various other schemes run by the department that can be leveraged by the mobilising team. Examples of Other Government Schemes for Children Government of the NCT of Delhi has launched a new scheme for the protection of the girl child called the 'Delhi Ladli Scheme'. The scheme aims at ensuring proper education in order to make the girls selfreliant, ensuring their economic security and protecting them from discrimination and deprivation. The scheme is open to families that have an annual income of less than one lakh rupees. Girls born on or after January 1, 2008 are covered under this scheme. The scheme is limited to two girls per family. Parents have to apply for this scheme within one year of birth of the girl child or within


90 days of admission to a government recognised school. Once enrolled in the scheme, the government deposits Rs 10000 initially and Rs 5000 is added when the child reaches class one, six, nine, ten and twelve respectively. Thus the maximum amount deposited is Rs 35000. The lock-in period for this scheme is till the girl turns 18 years old and the amount available at the end of this period is one lakh. Those who are born before January 1, 2008 and therefore enter the scheme late cannot avail the initial benefit of Rs 10000, but will get the remaining benefits as per their admissions in the above mentioned classes. For example, a child who registers when in class 6 will get four instalments of Rs 5000 making a total of Rs 20000. The scheme is open to families that are residents of Delhi for at least three years. The prescribed application forms can be obtained from the District Officer in the Department of Social Welfare, WCD, branches of the State Bank of India and government recognised schools. There are many examples of school authorities assisting the children to access this scheme.

Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) and Child Welfare Committee (CWC) These are the legal authorities that deal with matters concerning children in need of care and protection. A CWC Committee is available for each district or a group of districts and consists of a chairperson and four other persons, one of whom at least should be a woman. The committee has the final authority to dispose cases for the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of the children as well as to provide for their basic needs and human rights. A child from the street without responsible adult protection or rescued from a hazardous occupation, brothel, abusive family or other such exploitative situations is to be produced before the CWC, who will then conduct an inquiry to ensure optimum rehabilitation with minimal damage to the child.It also passes necessary orders for their rehabilitation, restoration and social re-integration.

B. Civil Society Street Neighbourhood & Peer Leaders While on the street, the child is surrounded by a large number of people that includes other boys and girls living on the street, shopkeepers, vendors, adult beggars, local street leaders, sex workers, etc. These are the people that the child shares a love-hate relationship with, who ironically support them by giving food or a place to sleep, or rescuing them from the police and yet often abuse and torment them in other ways. They are also the ones who are the first contact of the child on the street. These people are familiar with the geography and the dynamics of the streets and have a say in the current lives of the children. The support of this critical section of the community is an absolute must for reaching out to the children. Over a period of time, with skillful facilitation, they can become the eyes and ears of the mobilising team.One of the best ways of harnessing the power of the community is to seek the support of peer leaders. Central to the peer 19

The ‘Station Brothers’ Group “In the year 2001, I was working with Bala Tejasu, a project for children on the street. Each day at the Secunderabad Station, we would find 5-8 children coming in from all over the country. Reasons for leaving home - some trivial such as parents having scolded them or teachers for not doing their homework to serious problems of child labour, child marriage, wanting to study, inability to keep up with violent drug addict parents. There were some whose parents had died and who had lived with elderly grandparents or under foster care. We spoke to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel and the Station Manager, explained to them that we were working for the homeless children and requested them to give us an identity card so that we could move in and out of the station the whole day, to monitor the arrival of children from different parts of the country and reach out to them. At the end of 2-2.5 years, a network was created of all organisations working for the same cause which included Saathi, Ashrita, Don Bosco, Divyadisha, MVF, Bala Thejasu and Aman Vedika. During this time, we made friends with vendors and porters at the Secunderabad station and told them about the work we do. They asked us if they could be of any help in tracking children who arrived at the station. They started to informally help us as they felt that our intent was good and that we were providing the children a safe home. In fact, they said as they were doing this within the time of their regular job they could help us voluntarily. But of course they would need an identity card from the organisation where they were sending the child. As most of them were men located at the station, we collectively agreed to name it ‘Station Brothers Group’. We trained them to interact with the child on arrival and provided them with ID cards. Soon women sweepers also joined the group. The ‘Station Brothers’ group is of about 10-12 persons. They inform us about new children arriving at the station and we immediately go across to meet the child and do the needful. Initially, when the programme started, my colleagues and I spent days at the station to train and handhold the group. But now these men and women are our ears and eyes” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

support concept is sharing what one has learnt and developing the role of a “contributer” for the empowerment of others. Street children will gain significant strength from hearing the wisdom and hope from children and youth who have faced similar challenges, overcome barriers and achieved success. They show that change is possible and send a strong message that “If I did, so can you”. Peer support is especially meaningful in approaching children who might at first be not motivated. Peers can be called upon to play the “With their long experience on the street, Peer Leaders are role of a mentor or coach wherein empathetic and understand the needs of the children on the they have a one-on-one relationship street and can talk to the child more convincingly than the with the children - encouraging, staff of the organisation. They can be groomed into one of the biggest resources that can represent the organisation motivating and supporting a child or and act as the bridge to assist and to reach out to the a group of children. They may also newcomers on the street, identify and direct them to a Sneh provide assistance with issues that Ghar/Rainbow Home.” arise in connection with problems - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home such as dealing with the police, sorting issues of space, other legal issues, physical or mental challenges. The relationship


between peer leaders and children should be groomed to evolve as one that is supportive rather than directive. Peer support is a mutually advantageous process. While it provides invaluable support in reaching out to children; in turn it provides the peers with opportunities to develop and practice social action skills increasing their self-esteem, critical thinking, problem solving and leadership abilities, grooming them into catalysts for change. Community Based Organisations (CBOâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s) and other Organisations Offering Welfare Services As a subset of the wider group of nonprofit organisations in a city, there are several community based organisations (CBOs) that offer community service and action in the areas of health, education, social welfare and self-help for the disadvantaged. As they have a wide based presence, structural arrangements and maturity, the services of such organisations can be called upon by the mobilising team. Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) Most Sneh Ghars/Rainbow Homes will have in their vicinity a residential colony. Many such planned urban settlements have organised themselves into formal administrative groups called the RWAs. A body of people are elected or nominated and are responsible for resolving the administrative issues of the residents they represent. Due to uniformity in the geographic, social and economic levels of the people and the fact that they are already established as a collective, the sense of unity and solidarity is likely to be strong in such a group. There will be people of different ages, skills and varied interests and at influential positions, whose patronage can be a huge support to the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home and the work undertaken there. Neighbourhood Support In its intial days,in Khushi Rainbow Home in Delhi which had mobilised about 30 children, the majority of whom incidentally happened to be Muslims, were allocated space in a school that was located in a predominantly Brahmin locality. Initially, they faced tough resistance, with the neighbourhood unwilling to share water, electricity, sewage line and even the common street with the Muslim children. Over a period of two years, the Sneh Sathis and children, through systematic and friendly engagement with the community succeeded in establishing an excellent rapport and won them over completely. Not only did the neighbourhood accept them after this but also came forward proactively and shielded the Rainbow Home from several situations that could have otherwise developed into a crisis. One of the ways through which this turn around happened was to go beyond providing high quality care to the resident children of the Rainbow Home, and to bring together superior services for the children and youth of the immediate neighbourhood as well. For this, Dr Reddyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Foundation that provides opportunities for learning to those who have never been to school, or have dropped out of it; and works to improve the quality of education in schools was invited to conduct vocational courses. The community welcomed this initiative and more than 100 young girls and boys from the neighbourhood benefited from the free three to six months long courses offered in the fields of Computers, Hospitality and Retail. In return, the children of the Home intermingled with the youth, a section of society they would have otherwise not have access


to and also received intensive computer training on high-end machines during the evenings. In addition, a school for the community children was also started which brought under its wings thirty children from the local community. Belonging to ‘Lal Kuan’ a vast slum community in Okhla, these children had never been to school. The children were screened and then enrolled into appropriate classes - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

Corporate Houses and Local Businessmen The record of private businesses in India contributing to the promotion of social well-being is a fairly long one and this can be leveraged to provide a large amount of support. Companies that actively advertise and who already have established distribution networks often provide resources and space for such work. Sponsoring events and donating to programmes demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility, which is now mandatory. In return they can benefit from associating their names or products with the street child issue. Interest is growing in the responsibility of private companies with respect to human rights. In July 2000, the UN launched ‘Global Compact’ a sponsored appeal to companies to commit themselves to respect human rights. Youth and Youth Groups According to the MV Foundation “The youth have the advantage of viewing obstacles faced by them during the process of achieving their goals as challenges rather than difficulties. This, coupled with their exuberance in involving themselves into activities completely at various levels, deems them as an indispensable part of the system”. Articulate and committed young people are enthusiastic and motivated towards social causes and apart from directly contributing time and ideas, they can further organise students, friends and other people to support the mission of serving these children. Due to their high energy and enthusiasm levels, they can be roped to reach out to the community through street plays, music bands, magic shows, sports events and other kinds of interaction with school going children, their parents, school authorities, etc. they can help to sensitise that all children are equal with rights to life, education, shelter and privacy. Religious and other Subsidised Feeding Initiatives All religions in India emphasise the need for selflessly helping the needy. Every city will have many such government initiatives, organisations or people who can be mobilised to organise free or subsidised feeding. They can be approached to contribute or set up feeding at Sneh Ghars/Rainbow Homes or places on the street that have a concentration of homeless adults or children.


Amma Unavagams, translating as Ammaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Kitchen, a new intiative in Tamil Nadu, caters to those living in slums, daily labourers, drivers, load men and migrant workers. These subsidised budget canteens provide 'idli' at Re 1/-, sambar-rice and curd-rice at Rs 3. At present budget restaurants are functioning in Chennai's 200 wards. *** Free, fresh, nutritiously and hygienically prepared food is offered daily and served with dignity at almost all places of Sikh worship which are called Langars. Started by the first Sikh spiritual leader, Guru Nanakji, it is designed to uphold the principle of equality between all people regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender or social status. The tradition of langar also expresses the ethics of sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all humankind. *** The Umeed Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home located in Delhi was started as a small initiative in 2006. Fresh breakfast and dinner for the first batch of 25 children came from a philanthropic dhabba owner located across the city, and lunch was brought in from a nearby Gurudwara, with whom the Sneh Sathis had a tie up.

Individuals There are several persons in each community who do not represent an organisation or agency, but have a personal interest in contributing to a social cause and are willing to commit time. These individuals may be students, retired officers, teachers, housewives, professionals and families. They could also be extended families or small trusts and groups being run as memorials. Apart from time, donation of fixed assets other financial aid they can also support by providing care, raising other resources, and helping with administrative issues depending on their interest and expertise . Media As is known, the mass media is a powerful disseminator of information reaching thousands of people quickly and concisely and having a direct influence on individuals and communities. It is pervasive and can reach all levels of the community from home makers, school and college students right up to community leaders, health care providers, potential funders, opinion leaders and policy makers. In doing so, media can educate their listeners, viewers, or readers on related issues and messages and motivate them into positive action. One of the best mediums to leverage are the newspapers both published daily or weekly, which deliverers in-depth news in communities and cover many local events and issues together with a local perspective. TV stations also allot slots for local news and events and cater to general interest issues reaching a broad audience. Radio stations, which proliferate at the local level, with diverse programmes catering to specific audiences with different


types of music or talk shows have emerged to be another universal medium to reach out to a broad set of people and can be leveraged at appropriate times and in appropriate ways.

In 2007, the Dilse team in Delhi mobilised Red FM, a popular radio channel to build general awareness about the street children issue. Over a period of a month, blurbs were aired at regular frequency throughout the day about topics such as child rights interspersed with interviews of some children from the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home. They also helped with the complete planning and organising of the inauguration event of the Umeed Home and aired the entire proceedings live which had celebrities like Rahul Bose and Nafisa Ali in attendance.

There is an increased likelihood of having events covered by the media if one can provide a visual opportunity for them to photograph events, within the guidelines relating to the boundaries of confidentiality of children. Negotiate with them for some free airtime or of piggybacking with other news such as those relating to policy impacting children that is already being reported. In addition, certain days and months are designated to recognize certain issues such as the National Girl Child Day on 24th January, World Health Day on 7th April, Child Rights Day on 20th November, etc. One can â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;pitchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; during these times to increase ones chances of getting free media services. Interaction with the media should not be done randomly. A person should be designated to give and receive information to the media. A clear protocol for the same is given in the Crisis Management Manual.




Mobilising Children from the Streets

It is not enough to simply make policies, advocate for entitlements, intellectually engage with the issues affecting children or establish Sneh Ghars/Rainbow Homes, and expect that street children will automatically benefit from these. Street children have a robust lack of faith in adults and have to be gradually won over by trust and negotiation. An important enabling component of this work is to have a strong, street-based team of community workers who meet the children regularly on the streets to build their trust and secure their informed and free consent to move into the homes if required. For this, there has been much to learn from the efforts of organisations such as the MV Foundation, BOSCO and the National Literacy Campaign. This chapter talks in detail about the method of reaching out to children on the street and deciding on the best care intervention for them. There is also a discussion on the processes involved if the alternative of shifting a child into the care of a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home is taken. Learnings from MV Foundation Based on the non-negotiable principle that ‘no child works and that every child attends full time formal school as a matter of right’, the MV Foundation has been working towards abolition of child labour in all its forms, and mainstreaming them into formal schools for over a decade now. From its humble beginning in three villages in 1991, it has now spread its philosophy far and wide. MVF follows an ‘area-based approach’ as against a target-based approach. It seeks to address the rights of the entire universe of children - both in school and out of school - in the 5-14 years age group in its area of operation. This approach deems all children out of school as child labour and understands that being out of school is intrinsically hazardous to their growth and well-being. MV Foundation also ensures that every child attending school does so without any disruption until s/he reaches Class 10, since there is no guarantee that the child does not get pushed out of school to join the labour force again. MV Foundation’s approach has the twin responsibility of organising community for public action and exerting pressure on the system to deliver services. Simultaneously, it seeks to prepare the concerned public institutions to take care of children and their education in formal schools. The Child Rights Protection Forum (CRPF) is a unique forum that is a spin-off effect arising from MV Foundation’s mass mobilisation. In the process of mobilising communities to establish a social norm that no child should work and every child must attend full time formal school, MV Foundation enlisted the support of every section of society. When there was a specific case of protecting a girl child from marriage or of withdrawing a child from the clutches of bondage, supporters of child rights in villages formed themselves into a Child Rights Protection Forum. In the beginning, these forums were ad hoc and got organised to sort out specific cases of violation of children’s rights. As they became active they felt the necessity to get institutionalised into formal forums to protect children’s rights. Members of the CRPF include gram panchayat members, school committee members, youth, schoolteachers, erstwhile employers, women group members and political leaders. Cutting across caste and class barriers, the members of the CRPF are the conscience keepers in the village playing the role of spokespersons for child rights in the community. Currently the membership base of CRPF is more than 80,000. Life members from the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu are currently involved in the campaign.


Mapping and Profiling One of the first tasks of an implementing team that wishes to reach out to the children should be to have a realistic idea about the prevelence of the street children and the local fabric that they are a part of. This can be done through an exercise of mapping that will not only provide an approximate number of homeless people and children residing permanently or temporarily in the chosen city, but will also help to include and lay the foundation for mobilising and synergising local community support. The local community can then further provide insights and perspective on the best strategy to be adopted towards the mobilisation process. “We conducted a mapping of Dehradun city on an initiative taken by the WCD Director. Along with the secretary, government school principals, district officers and some prominent NGOs, we were about 3040 people. We first divided ourselves into six groups with 5-6 persons in each team. Each team took up 2-3 mohallas each and went around to understand where there was a concentration of street children, where were the major kabaddi shops and cinema halls. We also found out if there were any NGOs already operating in the area, or if there were any night shelters. We paid special attention at the railway station and bus stand. We observed and interviewed children, shopkeepers and other people present around there. We would start at 9 am and continue till 3 am. The exercise was conducted in an ‘ambush’ mode, that is, it was rapid and intensive and completed within three days. This has to be done as the children on the streets have a tendency to wander, are driven off by the police, are locked up or escape and migrate to new spots where they can find employment”. - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

The method of Survey is best suited to find the locations where homeless people and street children live or congregate and count them. This can be undertaken by dividing the city into clusters and visiting them at different times of the day, evening and night and making a note of the number of adults and children living or occupying these spaces at different times. After gaining familiarity and achieving a toehold of trust with the children and the immediate community, combine the processes of observation with group discussions and individual interactions to get a broad understanding of the “We started a street project in Bangalore to see who all would following: be interested in the children, and who all would be stakeholders •• Age and gender of homeless adults and children.

•• Details of the family -

Who are they? What do they do? Does the child live with them?

not living with the family, •• If

are the children in contact with them or not?

•• The reasons of being on the streets


in such a programme. It had the same mission but with a different approach to the Cochin experience. But after speaking to different officials and interested parties, I came to realise that brokers (in child rackets) and the underworld had a very dominant influence over the lives of these children in Bangalore; whereas in Cochin, their influence was minimal due to the dominance of the BOSCO institution. We also realised that the most important stakeholders in the lives of these children were not the public or the government or social workers but street vendors and hawkers. The significance of the underworld was due to the power they held. The whole approach had to be different. What was important was to align those looking to further the needs of the children”. - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

•• What is the kind of work they do? How do they survive? What are the sources of income? •• The unique socio-political-economic contexts , barriers and other problems they face in in •• •• •• ••

that location. Significant people in the community. Experiences, aspirations, strengths and values of the children, families, adults, individuals and groups there. Facilities available in and around the neighbourhood - How many are active and which ones have the potential to be leveraged in the current circumstances. Other organisations working at the location.

Apart from enabling the estimation of numbers, the analysis of information collected through the mapping exercise helps in several ways: •• Provides a clear picture of how the community currently operates - How children and their families, agencies and institutions relate and interact. •• Helps to identify strengths and untapped assets of a community. •• Generates ideas about how and what kind of plan should be devised to penetrate the community and how will it collaborate or differ from existing systems. •• Generates initial ideas about how to sustain a healthy collaborative effort. Conducting a Survey

• Divide the city into clusters primarily according to the location of the religious places, market places, railways stations and intercity bus stops or any other such local city spots.

• Identify the location in each of these places where children congregate. • Form teams with an ideal number of 5-6 members with at least one female member. Take as • • • • • •

many locals as possible as the community would accept them. This way more information can be collected. Orient and hold meeting with team members to discuss the format of the survey form. Train the team about how to speak with the children and the community sensitively. The survey is usually to be conducted in the evening or at night. Find out where and on which day the children congregate; e.g. Tuesdays in a mandir (temple), while Thursdays at a dargah (Islamic shrine), etc. Create a place where there are some fun activities; like a kiosk with a television so that the children are attracted to visit the place. Interviews can be conducted on the streets, parks, religious places, schools, shops, community centres, any setting in which people are comfortable. Do a head count in each location. Collect as much information as possible. Revisit the location for verification. Compile the data.

As many partners conduct the survey as a collective exercise, the resulting information should not be taken as accurate data for statistical purposes but only considered useful as a broad initiating point. However, it is important to note that the assessment is an ongoing process. A continuous review of the children and community over time will help to fine-tune the implementing teams activities to respond to any changing condition.


There are some parts of the city that most attract the children . These are: •• Railway Stations and Bus



•• ••

•• ••

“The work on the streets was divided into four different areas – with a network of NGOs in different areas. Our Bosco team was working with unaccompanied children, i.e. street children, paper pickers, porters, vendors. Concerned for Working Children (CWC) looked at working children who were working in rural areas. Rag pickers Education and Development Scheme (REDS) mostly worked in slum areas, and the fourth was ICCW/KCCW (Indian/Karnataka Council for Child Welfare). Such a network ensured that the burden of the work did not fall on one NGO and their work in their respective areas complemented that of the others”

Stops: Usually the entry points where most of the children land on arrival in the city. Places of Worship: Where the children come to beg and collect alms and food distributed by devotees thronging the place. Market Places: They work here - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home in dhabas (small eateries) and work as cleaners, assistant cooks or to ferry things or to serve customers. Highways: They are employed at eateries, vehicle repair shops or as truck and bus cleaners. Under the Flyovers: Unaccompanied children can often be seen here huddled together on a cold/rainy winter morning or night. As the flyover provides a permanent and strong roof, some children make it a regular place of stay, especially those that are near places of worship or markets. Industrial Area: Where children are employed as labour. Parks and Open Spaces: The children come to rest after the day’s work. Those employed as domestic help at homes may also visit the parks sometime during the day.

After the areas of concentration, are identified and numbers ascertained, locations should be selected where intensive work is required, based on the organisation’s capacity and resources. Rather than attempting to cover a very large area and form mere superficial contacts, it is recommended to focus on areas that can be penetrated easily by the community workers. Once these pockets are identified for regular contact, one or two field workers supported by the community mobiliser and other Sneh Sathis (health, legal, administration) should be placed in each of these locations. Coordination with other organisations (as already elaborated in Chapter 2) and working on different issues in the same area will help in building networks. “It is nearly impossible to reach out to children without associating with the adults around them, whoever they may be - family, other children, police, vendors, etc. You have to become a part of that community. They must see and feel that you are truly a well-wisher. No amount of wishing and hoping to connect works with them. Once during my work with one of the clusters, I had begun to feel dejected as I had already spent several days but had not succeeded in making a real rapport with the children the way I had hoped to. One evening when I was sitting around with the children, a lone old lady from the community I used to see often in the vicinity but had not spoken to till then, was suddenly hit by a passing vehicle. I rushed to her and found her bleeding and so called up the ambulance, which reached there within minutes. Repulsed on seeing the person he had come to help, who was dirty and stinking, the medical attendant said, “Oh, a homeless lady, they are used to these kind of things, she does not need help, she will be fine


on her own”. No amount of appealing moved the man to attend to her and he continued to stand aside and stare at the woman. So I took the first aid kit from his hand and with the help of the children began to bandage the wound to stop the bleeding. After watching us do this for a while, he said that we were bandaging in a wrong way and he took over to show the right method. Once he began, he helped to move the lady to one side and gave her a pain killer and told us how to take care of her for the next couple of days. The incident was the turning point for me. After the lady was settled, the children around me, whose number had increased by now, shrieked victoriously and lifted me in the air to show their appreciation for what had happened. They talked about the incident with everyone for the next few days and I became a hero. This was a turning point in my work.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

Children in Difficult Circumstances While interacting on the field, the mobilising team will meet a range of children in distress. These would usually include: •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Children who beg, rag pick and do other odd jobs on the street. Disabled children Children of temporary migrant workers Child labourers (domestic and bonded) Children who are being or is likely to be grossly abused, tortured or exploited for the purpose of sexual abuse or illegal acts. Those with terminal diseases or incurable diseases having no one to support or look after them or who are mentally or physically challenged. Those who have a parent or guardian but who are unfit or incapacitated to provide care, such as homeless parents, children of street sex workers, single mothers, disabled or terminally ill parents, etc. Orphans who have no one willing to take care of them. Abandoned children Run-away children Lost children Children who are victims of conflict, riots or natural calamity. Children who are likely to be inducted into drug abuse or trafficking. Children of wandering tribes A new child landing on the street

Building a Relationship of Trust The social mobiliser and the team should build, over a period of time, a relationship of trust and faith with the children and their families (if they exist), their friends, their peer group and with the general homeless community. For this, there has to be a steady, continuous presence on the street on which the child and the homeless community can share, bond and rely on, in both good and bad times. In order to achieve this, one of the foremost things is to set up places of regular contact. Once the place is identified and set, it is easier to maintain regular contact with the child. Afternoons are especially a good time to meet children who work as rag-pickers, in repair 29

shops and at road-side shops and the mandi (wholesale markets) as they have a short break during lunch. Late afternoon could be a better time for meeting the children who work in dhabas. The mobiliser should make themselves physically present at these spots preferably for most part of the day and definitely during evenings and late nights, when children are likely to be free and congregate together. Initially some children may not come, but as the mobilizer's presence gets regularised, more and more children will begin to come.

“Sometimes a child has one or both parents living. Some only have a mother; the father may have left them or may be working as a laborer or rickshaw puller. He may be alcoholic, beating them regularly or the mother may be pregnant and have no shelter, so these children wander about. The parents lack knowledge of vaccines, medicines, food, health and sanitation, etc. and providing them with information about these was the context of my initial interactions with them and through this counselling I built trust with the mothers. They are now used to seeing me every day and know what I work for. Once they began to feel comfortable, they started telling me other problems and ask for help. I helped them by either calling for help from my office, or through my own experience and initiative. I have to help them somehow, only then will I be accepted.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

In order to deepen the relationship of trust, street presence should be combined with services that are value-adding by themselves such as the following: “My first priority is to gain the trust of the child on the street. For example, I pick issues that have a universal impact on the maximum number of children such as drugs. Without targeting one specific child, I talk generally about the harmful effects on behaviour such as addiction and how it will affect overall health. In this process other children around also join the group, which helps to form a bond with them as well. It takes me around 15-20 days, sometimes a little more in certain cases for the children to feel connected.” “While working, especially with girls, choose a place that is relatively less crowded and quiet, where activities can be conducted seriously. I started my evening education sessions with a set of children, along the safety of a wall. We soon discovered that it was the back of a school building and the school children would tease us and often thrown paper or pebbles at us. My children got intimidated and embarrassed and refused to continue. We then located a park close by, a Mahila park, exclusively for women. Initially the watchman denied us permission but we were determined to use the space as it was a public space and the only option for us to continue our work with the children. We had to meet the MCD official under whose supervision the park fell several times, and continued to do so till he relented. We promised him that we would use one corner and for the purpose of education. The girls and I fixed to meet between 1-3 pm every day; the free time between two rounds of rag picking. Girls could talk freely, open up, study and were slowly joined by more girls. Initially we used clean pieces of cardboard to write on, which were later replaced by small note copies and pencils. Some of the women who used to come for walks in the park slowly began to approach us and offered to join in.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

•• Blanket distribution to homeless people (families of children now in residential schools/homes) both in Night Shelters and living on the street. •• Providing counselling to people on the street and spreading awareness on various health issues such as TB, STDs, HIV, etc. •• Providing and facilitating drug de-addiction support. 30

•• Linking up with other NGOs to provide shelter to single homeless women with the help of •• •• •• ••

Human Rights Campaign. Assisting during emergencies such as physical accidents on the street, floods, fires and other disasters and facilitating immediate medical support. Providing legal support. Opening bank accounts and financial advising for the homeless, along with consultation regarding their needs and financial plans. Helping the homeless to secure a Ration card, Health card, Pension and other Government welfare support mechanisms.

“Helping the people with government entitlements, such as old age pension, Aadhaar card, Voter ID, Ration card, PDS connection, etc. can cement the relationship of trust. In Delhi, 400 people have been helped to get their Aadhar cards made. We tied up with SBI bank and requested the Aadhar office to hold a camp in the Home. In the process, all the children in the homes, their families and others in the neighbouring community have benefited. It also helped to raise awareness and facilitated the mingling of communities”. “Health camps are an essential and effective method of reaching out to a community. With poor nutrition and nearly negligent health care services available, the entire population of a spot, the men, women and children will benefit significantly from a camp. Eye, dental, immunisation, general, gynaecology, and paediatric camps are especially useful. Pick spots where there is a concentration of homeless adults and children and where you can conduct follow-up camps. For this, tie up with hospitals and agencies that are mandated to deliver health services but are unable to reach the needy. In this collaboration, we take responsibility to mobilise people and they provide us with their expertise and dispense medicines” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

Working with Families While mobilising children who live with families or guardians, mobilisers can expect varied responses and in some cases extreme ones like resistance or complete support. The attitude of the families will range from hostility, violence, to appeals to move the child into the protection of a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home at the earliest. Some guardians, especially the ones who are addicted to drugs or those who are disabled and bank on the child for their survival will see it as a loss of a helping hand; a hand that may be bringing in money, taking care of the younger siblings or in the case of girls cooking for the family while the earning mother and the older children go about their routine that helps them to earn money. Working with such families can be made into a rewarding experience with a little planning and a lot of compassion and kindness. Sneh Sathis should practice patience, wisdom and maturity to understand what the family, who will continue to live on the street, will have to endure. Principles for a mutually healthy, productive and enabling partnership with the families during and after mobilisation are: •• Create a non-threatening, respectful environment for meetings and dialogue. •• Build a relationship of trust and collaboration. •• Treat them with dignity and respect privacy.


•• Use simple language and have clear communication. •• Do not make false promises.

Deciding on an Intervention - Best Care Option for the Child Urban poverty has multiple layers of complexity and vulnerability that cannot be viewed through the same lens. Thousands of unfortunate children are all categorized under the generic term of ‘street children’. This however does not correspond to the varied ways that they relate to their unique experience and obscures the heterogeneity in the children’s actual circumstances. While some will have a greater chance of basic rights being met, other will be positioned for violation. Therefore it is important to locate each child in the ladder of neediness. In order to assess the vulnerability, i.e. the levels of weakness and helplessness of a child, the following tool as shown in the Box below will be useful. Vulnerability Scale In descending sequence of vulnerability • Girl in the Detention Centre • Boy in the Detention Centre • Girl living alone on the streets • Boy living alone on the streets • Girl living in an abusive and /or uncaring home environment • Boy living in an abusive and/or uncaring home environment • Girl living with single mother on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with single mother on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Girl living with single father on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with single father on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Girl living with both parents on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with both parents on the streets and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Girl living with single mother in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with single mother in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Girl living with single father in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with single father in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Girl living with both parents in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work. • Boy living with both parents in slums and facing abuse, and/or Drug Addict parent, and/or Alcoholic parent, and/or Doing Street work.


Our experience has been that interventions focused on ‘rescuing’ children from the streets by placing them back at school or with an abusive family, do not generally provide lasting solutions because they tend to ignore the children’s own views and all that they have already accomplished for themselves. Therefore planning for a care provision that ensures permanency should be based on some key parameters. Essential among them are: •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

Reason for being on the street (lost, abandoned, runaway, etc.) Age of the child Will of the child (for children above 6 years) Presence/ absence of a family Nature and quality of the child’s attachment to his/her family The family’s capacity to safeguard the child’s well-being and ensure a harmonious and holistic development. The child’s need or desire to feel part of a family The child’s relationships with siblings The desirability of the child remaining within his/her community The child’s cultural, linguistic and religious background

Since each childs situation will be different on these aspects, no one solution can be said to be best suited for children in general. While adoption could be the preferred approach for the youngest, unaccompanied children, street based support is beneficial for the category of children with caring families, and for the others residential care may be the best or sometimes the only way to provide support. The collective support should be irrespective of age, gender, religious and social background with the only aim of providing those ‘at risk’, the best suited care option. The following options as per the age and circumstances of the child should be explored: 1. 2.


For very small children who have no known parents, the best option is adoption, under the provisions of the JJ Act. For very small children who have biological parents, but who are unable or unwilling to take responsible care of the child (because of incarceration, alcohol or drug abuse, physical violence or extreme destitution), the idea of foster care, under the provisions of the JJ Act could be explored. One does not, unfortunately, find too many examples of foster care implemented on the ground, baring a few sporadic attempts in cities like Mumbai. For small children, these two options can be followed without the child’s explicit consent. But for older children in the circumstances as listed above in Point 1 and 2, the options of adoption or supported foster care should be explored, but with the consent of the child. If the child decides, after consultation with the social mobiliser, to return to the biological home, this should be arranged with the help of CWC, Childline and the police. After due counselling and reassuring the child that s/he should feel free to return if things do not work out at home, the social mobiliser, if requested by the CWC, should accompany the child to the biological home, and also support and counsel the family.



Children between 6-14 years, who do not have families or have families who are incapable of providing care and are so willing, should be brought into the Sneh Ghar/ Rainbow Home, with the approval of CWC.

There will still be a group of children who will choose to continue staying independently on the street. One must respect their individuality but continuously provide support to them. Offer them the option of repatriation (if the child so wishes) to their biological family or continue to motivate them to move into the safety of a home. “This happened in the early phase of my work. I used to visit the Hanuman Mandir area near Yamuna Bazaar, Delhi (adjacent to the Old Delhi Railway Station, Kashmiri Gate Inter-State Bus Terminus, and river Yamuna). I met a woman with two children who used to beg there, her husband had HIV and swelling all over the body. After meeting her a couple of times, she opened up and told me that her husband harassed her for money. He wanted two hundred rupees every day. She requested me to help her, mainly with her girls who were 6 and 7 years of age. I told her about the Rainbow Home, where she could send her girls, but before that I needed to see where she lived and in what condition. This information is needed by us to understand the need and necessity of admitting children. The day, when we were going to see where she lived, the husband followed us for a long distance and kept asking for money – 500, 300, 200 - she said he would not leave us till I paid at least 200 rupees. He used vulgar language and threatened me. To shake him off I took an auto-rickshaw, changed to a RTV, and then a rickshaw. I wanted to save the woman and her children from the clutches of that man. Finally I reached the broken down shack on the other side of the Yamuna river bank (Yamuna Pushta) near Shastri Park. It was very near to the water and had nearly collapsed. In fact, the river was ready to flood over. There were no clothes, no utensils, only some odd broken things and scraps of clothing. The woman said if two of the youngest girls were taken care of by the Rainbow Home, she would escape to her sister. That is what she did after the girls had been taken in to Kilkari Rainbow Home, where they continue to stay” *** “In the case of new children arriving on the street, the ‘first contact’ has to be made carefully and with an understanding that the child who has run away, is traumatised, hungry, shaken, lost, tired and most importantly emotionally shattered. Therefore, someone speaking in their vernacular, a glass of water and a hand extended is what matters to the child.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

“Repatriation-: On his regular visit to the Old Delhi Railway Station, Delhi, our field worker Deepak overheard a young girl desperately resisting a boy who was coaxing her to join him. Sensing her discomfort, Deepak intervened and confronted the boy, who immediately disappeared from the scene. On enquiring further the girl identified herself as 14 year old Pushpa. On probing further she revealed that she had run away from her home in West Bengal with a friend and her boy friend. On reaching Delhi, the boy sold both the girls. With help from another friend, she managed to escape from the brothel in a week’s time and returned to the railway platform, where Deepak spotted her. Pushpa was brought to Khushi. On arrival she expressed her desire to get back to her parents. She spent 15 days at Khushi. We arranged for all the relevant documents, conducted her medical exam, submitted a Daily Dairy (DD) to the police station and produced her at the CWC. She was eventually handed over to Nirmal Chayya, an NGO that organises repatriation of girl children.” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home


While the rapport building and mobilisation process should be continued with the existing children, social mobilisers should be alert towards immediately locating new children arriving in the area. For mobilisers working specifically on the streets, a thorough understanding of the risk factors (individual/ environmental and historical) associated with this work will help in risk reduction. The behaviours and actions listed below will help to prevent, circumvent or avoid occurrence of unpleasant situations that may escalate into potentially harmful situations: 1. Never intimidate nor use physical or verbal threats.

2. Never use abusive language.

3. Never attempt to or actually assault physically.

4. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t carry cameras, video and any such expensive gadgets. If you must then, keep safely in a handbag.


5. Although an excellent tool for communication, a mobile phone can also potentially escalate an aggressive situation, and the mobilisers should therefore use it in a sensitive and sensible manner.

6. Avoid wearing jewellery and other valuables, fashionable clothes, footwear or accessories that may trigger reactions.

7. Be alert while carrying out high-risk activities like interacting with those carrying a weapon or who are in an inebriated state.

8. Ensure that cell phones are fully charged and that emergency telephone numbers are noted in a pocket diary.

9. Always carry a small first aid box.


10. Young interns with a lack of experience, who may appear timid, vulnerable, lost or confused, with a lax attitude and/or overconfidence, need to be guided appropriately. Appropriate support may include being accompanied by a colleague or supervisor, changing the day or time of the visit,etc.

(Refer Annexure 2) Field Contact Form for documentation to be undertaken by the social mobiliser at this stage.

Negotiating and Preparing a Child to Move into a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home It is after weeks of persistent presence that the children take a decision to begin any meaningful interaction with the social mobiliser. Based on this developing mutual dialogue, the nature of further interactions and field engagements should be chalked out. Through a discussion prompted by the social mobiliser, proactively weigh out the future stay options with the children and the families(where available). While some children and families are enthusiastic for an immediate move, others may take time and need further preparation for the shift. If the child is inclined towards a move, begin to prepare for it and if not, continue to support the alternate decision arrived at by the child. If residential care is required but the child and/or the family is reluctant, discussion on certain critical issues may facilitate them to reach a decision, some of which are elucidated in the following section. Address the Concerns in the Context of the Family Even though the reason for recommending the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home option may be the inability of the family to provide adequate care, from a childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s point of view, moving into a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home might be described as being â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;being looked after by people who are not his/her parents and being away from family â&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Entry to care is a major turning point for the child and the family and its important to prepare both as much as impossible for the impending move. The facts of the situation need to be conveyed immediately and in as straightforward a way as possible to the child, the parents and siblings. Provide relevant information clearly, concisely and directly. Convince the child that the parents and/or adults s/he is close to, will continue to be a part of his/her life. S/he can be in touch with the family over the phone and times will be set aside for regular meetings. S/he can spend festivals and other important occasions with them as well as return to their families when they want to. 37

Assure them that even after the child has been moved into a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home, families will be treated as valued members of the care team and informed of all policies and procedures that relate to them and developments regarding their child. Information about the process, visitation plans and time frames for decision-making and expectations for involvement in meetings will also be shared. Arrange a Visit to the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home Offer to take the child to the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home for a visit. Let the family/relatives/ concerned adults accompany the child and spend as much time as possible there, for them to get a feel of the place. Concrete enquiries about the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home, children and routine should be answered honestly. Seeing other children who have moved from the street earlier and listening to their stories will also motivate the families and children to consider the option. Highlight the Open Gates Participatory Approach The child should never be pressurized and should have the flexibility and freedom to choose whether and when s/he would like to move into the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home. After the initial entry into the non-custodial set-up of the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home, children can be expected to remain in an ambivalent state and go through multiple exits and re-entries into the home. During this stage of indecisiveness and perplexity, the child should be supported and taken through a process of further dialogue. Promise a caring, unconditional acceptance in the safe and welcoming environment of the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home till the child reaches a decision and the assurance of support should extend even if they decide to discontinue. The childs father was completely unhappy with the idea of sending Fatima, the 3rd in his brood to the Rainbow Home, as it meant loss of a hand which in turn meant loss of income. I spend nearly two months convincing him to let her go. I described how education will provide her an opportunity to change her own and maybe his destiny in the long run. With better health, she would live a healthier longer and dignified life. I let him know that it was her right to be safe, be educated. After dilly dallying for a long time,, The he gave in finally after he visited the home” - Social Mobilizer, Rainbow Home

Highlight that the child will have a voice and will enjoy the freedom to express his/her opinions fearlessly. Children can expect a caring environment wherein corporal punishment is prohibited and their dignity is respected in all regards. All negotiations and conflict resolutions are made through a process of mutual dialogue and other non-violent methods. Instill hope by offering concrete examples of the child friendly process and structures that will ensure maximum participation such as the Balsabha.

Movement into the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home Children, whether mobilised directly from the streets or persuaded over a period of time to move into the protection of a Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home must first be taken to the nearest Child Welfare Committee. A request must be made to the to place the child in the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home that has been identified by the field worker.  38

Where the child has a parent, they should accompany the social mobilizer to the CWC. While presenting the facts, the social mobilizer should submit a report based on his assessment of vulnerability and explain to the Commissioners the specific reasons why the child needs residential care . Encourage the child to participate and express his/her consent and interest to leave street life. The report must also be accompanied by a consent letter (Refer Annexure 3) that has been duly signed by the parents/relatives/guardians or any other adult member who is the custodian of the child. Where a child is deemed to be missing or abandoned, the same should be brought to the notice of the Child Welfare Committee who may direct the social mobilizer to file an FIR with the police and submit a Daily Dairy (DD) entry (Refer Annexure 4) In cases where physical or sexual abuse is suspected, the social mobilizer should request the Child Welfare Committee pass an order for a medical checkup (MLC)2 (Refer Annexure 5).  The social mobilizer should thereafter produce the child before the Child Welfare Committee with the original medical report of the child. Based on the findings, the Child Welfare Committee shall direct the social mobilizer to take further action under the POCSO Act. The Committee has the power to refer children for long-term or short-term care once the social mobiliser has explained all the circumstances. Once the order is issued, the child can be shifted into the home. In emergency cases when a new child has been met with at night, or where the child has been rescued and needs to be provided a protective space immediately, the child can be brought in without any written orders but this should be confirmed by the Member of the CWC or JJB via a phone call, with the assurance that the child will be produced the next morning. As far as possible, the individual/police/social mobiliser must come back within 24 hours and get the appropriate orders from the CWC or JJB. Documentation of Details of the Child for Records Once the child comes into the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home, take a photograph of the child with the individual/social mobiliser/police who comes with the child. Simultaneously enter the name of the child (and parents/concerned adults) into the Attendance Register, and open a separate case file. Mark the date of entry of the child in the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home. The file must be kept in the name of the child and the copies/originals of documents received on entry (all) along with photographs and contact details of parents must be kept in that file and in a secure place.

The police, CWC or social mobiliser may approach any government hospital for an MLC of a child. The doctor will examine the child and first aid or treatment is given if required. Here you will be asked to fill out a form and sign it. Your signature is required to authenticate the information you have provided. A three page report specifying accurately the medical status of the child is then given





Social Mobilisers: Roles and Responsibilities

It is through a dedicated team of social mobilisers that the critical journey of mobilization is undertaken. The mobilising team and its members are the people who mobilise, i.e. get things moving, those who catalyse, bring people together, build trust, and facilitate discussion and decision-making, through which the work truly unfolds. It is critical that one person in the team holds the reins. The key responsibilities of the person include delegating, confirming that tasks are underway, providing feedback and suggestions, and guiding the team members to learn from both their successes and failures. This person would provide consistency, commitment, leadership and necessary guidance to ensure the success of the outreach . The lead mobiliser must understand and guide other field-based workers through a process wherein they become empowered and independent and therefore careful consideration should be given to the selection of the person or persons to fill this role. The degree to which a social mobiliser is able to raise community support is directly proportional to certain competencies and qualities that s/he possesses. This section looks more closely at developing the right combination of attitude, knowledge and skills that are required by a community mobiliser.

Attitude Attitude connotes the way of responding to people and situations. It is based on the beliefs, values and assumptions one holds. Some of the beliefs that the mobiliser must support are: •• •• •• •• •• •• ••

A belief in communities and its people’s capacity to engage and take effective action. belief in equality A Respect for human dignity Respect for human diversity A secular approach Honouring the uniqueness of each child, person and unit in the community. A child’s right to self-determination and right to informed choice – to never pressurise a child. The solution must be in the child’s best interest, and not be based on the mobiliser’s need.

Knowledge This refers to the required knowledge of processes, systems, history, dynamics, entitlements, etc. needed to perform the task well and the ability to apply this knowledge to new situations. As one gains experience and is trained, the mobiliser will gain more and more knowledge about how things work. Knowledge on the following issues is a key requisite: •• Concepts of vulnerability, exclusion, homelessness, street children and all interconnected issues, problems, causes and effects, government initiatives and challenges.

•• Ethical issues related to working with street children and the community such as privacy and

confidentiality. •• An in-depth knowledge of the local state government’s outlook and schemes that can be leveraged. These will provide a definitive direction and purpose to the mobiliser’s efforts. Social mobilisers should also know the norms and rules around accessing these.


•• Familiarity with laws pertaining to children. Street children often get into conflict with legal authorities

such as the police and the social mobiliser will often have to act as an unofficial advocate for them. Therefore social mobilisers should familiarise themselves with all the rights and laws pertaining to this work. Also sometimes social mobilisers are regarded with suspicion by the authorities because of their late night working hours and close association with street children. For their own protection, social mobilisers need to know about their own rights and about the laws regarding street action. Primary among them is to have a good clarity about the duties and responsibilities of the police with regard to children and community work, which will help in seeking legitimate support or challenging them if need be. For example, a. The circumstances under which the police can stop, search and question a street child or enter the Sneh Ghar/Rainbow Home; b. Ways and methods – who, when and how can the police interact with the children; c. Reasons why a police officer can detain or arrest a street child and the length of time a child can be legally held without being charged with a crime; d. Whether the police have the right to interrupt or interfere with a gathering of street children in a private place or in a public place; e. Under what circumstances can the police stop and question a street mobiliser. •• An understanding of who the stake holders are and how several units such as government, semi government, or autonomous bodies, have to be synergised to support the cause of street children. It is important to know how the various units/departments work as well as to interpret their similarities and differences. For example, the education department’s method of working is different from say WCD or MCD. The mobiliser needs to familiarise him/herself with the structures and hierarchies, as it is important to pursue matters through the right channels, never superseding or overstepping any person or office. Respect plays a crucial role in facilitating collaboration. •• Similarly the social mobiliser should have adequate practical information and training about first aid and the capacity to facilitate a medical emergency. S/he should know the basics and be able to recognise instances that require a referral to a professional, especially in the case of mental illness.

Skills Skill is the ability to do more than just follow rule-based actions and is characterised by expertness, practiced ability, dexterity and tact. It can usually be acquired through practice and experience. Vital skills of a social mobiliser are: •• Approach the community with sensitivity, respect and dignity. Be empathetic, friendly and

accepting. Engage with an open mind and heart. Keep a non-judgmental and accepting approach. Community mobilisation is a two way process. Be willing to learn. While working in street neighbourhoods, be alert that their ways of communicating and engaging may not irk people or children, or be perceived as hostile. •• Do not be directive. Strengthen the ability to influence others and be able to connect with as many people and units as possible. Network with other members in the community. Initiate but never take over completely - do not lead. Be a catalyst for inspiring action. Empower, coach and push for mutually beneficial decision-making and collective action. The need is to harmonise everyone and bring them into synergy. Remember not to pressurise but to go at their pace, time and convenience. •• Practice patience and maintain a sense of humour. Anticipate and acknowledge the challenge of finding new ways of dealing with all the stakeholders. As many people are involved, the process may be slower than one’s anticipation. Traditional mindsets and attitudes that are often difficult to handle will also have to be overcome. •• Group work is a good way to harmonise and bring all the stakeholders together. A feeling of commonness develops that binds everyone together. Share different experiences and 41





opinions. Meet at a specific place and a specific time. Call in as many people as possible. This will also help to increase visibility. Hone the skills of observation and interpretation. Use all the senses to observe, record and make sense of the economic, social and psychological dynamics of the people and situations. A social mobiliser should be able to understand what’s happening and how, what and when things will work. A social mobiliser’s efficacy hinges a lot on the level of self-awareness. They must be aware of the strengths and gaps in their person, the development and refinement needed, and the willingness to examine and challenge their own motivations, assumptions, opinions, beliefs and biases. Competence in observing, exploring and articulating how thoughts and feelings impact one’s behaviour and others, is essential for the conscious development of a helping relationship that has to aid change. Facilitation, the pivot on which community mobilisation hinges, requires strong communication skills. It requires the mobiliser to sit together, share ideas and experiences. In order to communicate effectively, one should be familiar with the local language and use it in the simplest manner to ensure maximum reach. The mobilisers may have to alter their communication style multiple times during a single workday to maximise effectiveness with children, colleagues, supervisors or community members. Social mobilises rely on the strength of their verbal communication skills in settings as diverse as advocating for a client in a public office, providing educational presentations in a school, serving as a witness in a courtroom, or testifying before legislators. They should have the discretion to know when to speak, when not to and how much. It is critical that regular documentation of the work is maintained so that one can be transparent and accountable to stake holders. Therefore, the mobilisers must have the ability to write clear and concise progress notes, correspondence and reports.

It is also important to exhibiting respectful and pro-social behaviour. Convey a sense of purpose or direction and a vision. Be a role model. Be punctual. Don’t drink or smoke when at work. Be dignified.


Annexures Annexure 1 Communication material-Poster


Annexure 2 Field Contact Form (To be filled by the Social Mobiliser after at least three meetings with the child)

Instructions: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Fill the form in the language you and the child are comfortable with. Do not leave any question unanswered; write NA (not applicable) wherever necessary. Avoid overwriting. To be also filled in case of immediate admission of the child to the home.



Basic Information of the Child (as reported by the child)

Full Name and Alias (Capital letters) Age/Date of Birth (as on………….)


Native Address: Place of Night Rest: Engagement of the Child on the Street: Is the child usually accompanied by someone? If yes, specify… Has the child stayed in any other home/institution? If yes, specify duration and name of the organisation.

Date: Contact Point: Contact Place: 44

2. S. No.

Basic Details about the Family of the Child (as reported by the child) Name

Relation Age Sex Education Occupation with the Child

Salary Quality of Relation with the Child (accepting/ rejecting, etc.)

What is/was the parent’s/guardian’s attitude towards the child (as reported by the child)? …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………


General Information about the Child


Identification Mark:


Hair Colour:


Any visible disability? If yes, specify…


Any health problem requiring immediate care? If yes, specify…


Any health problems reported by the child?


Is the child taking drugs? If yes, what kind?


Any legal issue requiring immediate intervention?


Is the child currently a part of any local educational programme?


Any other observations…



Vulnerability Assessment

As per the Vulnerability Scale, the child’s eligibility for home care is …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… Brief description of the child’s vulnerability (as reported by the community) …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… What are the child’s/parents’ expectations from the organisation? …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………


Care Options

i) Which care option has the field worker discussed with the child? •• R esidential Care •• Short term Stay •• Repatriation ii) Child’s reasons for choosing the above care option (in case of self-admission)

iii) Guardians/Parents’ reasons for choosing the above care option (for children sent by parents)

iv) Social mobilisers reasons for recommending the child for the above care option (children referred by social mobilisers)

v) The duration between the first contact and the child’s admission into the Home 46

1 day

less than a week

1 week

1 month

within 3 months

Others (specify)…………………………………………………………….........………….


Ongoing Interventions done by the Social Mobiliser (starting from the first date of contact)

Date of Contact


Interventions made, along with Rapport Building, (educational, medical, legal, any other)

(If there are more details, please use the back side of the sheet)

Signature ……………….….


Name ………………………



Initial Admission Form (To be filled by the Home Coordinator in consultation with the Counsellor within a month of the child’s entry to the Home)

Instructions: 1. 2. 3.

Fill the form in the language you and the child are comfortable with. Do not leave any question unanswered; write NA (not applicable) wherever necessary. Avoid overwriting.


1. Basic Information: i) Full Name and Alias (Capital Letters): ii) Date of birth/Age (as on…………):

iii) Sex:

iv) Religion:

v) Language: Paste Photo

vi) Date of Entry into the Home: vii) Document verifying the mode of admission has been filled: a) Juvenile Justice Board



b) CWC (Referral Form)



c) Parent (Consent Form)



viii) Address (Native): …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… ix) Address (Local, if any): …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… x) Place of Stay before the Child came to the Home: …………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………


xi) The Family can be contacted at the following Phone Number …………………………... (Self, Neighbour, nearest PCO, friend, etc.) xii) Who was the Child Saying with when on the Street? (Can tick more than one option) Parents

Single mother

Single father




Others (specify) …………………………………………………………………………… xiii) Duration of Stay on the Street: Brought immediately 6 months-1 year

less than a week

less than 3 months

3-6 months

More than a year

xiv) Occupation/Engagement of the Child on the Street: Begging

Rag Picking

Seasonal Labour

Sex Work

Petty Crime

Street Hawkers Other, (specify)…………………………………………………………………………….. xv) Reasons for being on the Street (as reported by the child) …………………………………………………………………………………………….. xvi) Reasons for being on the Street (as reported by the field staff) …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………

2. Background Information of the Family S. No.


Relation with the Child






Quality of Relation with the Child (accepting/ rejecting, etc.)


Who has referred the Child to the Home? Social Mobiliser




Other Organisation


Peer Others Specify)………………..…………………………………………………………… Has the Child stayed in any other Home/Institution? If yes, specify duration and name of the organisation. …………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………

3. Vulnerability Assessment: As per the given Vulnerability Scale, the child’s eligibility for home care is …………………………………………………………………………………………… ……………………………………………………………………………………………

4. (i) For Children referred by CWC/JJB: Reasons for sending the Child to the Home: •• Long term stay (care and protection including health, education, etc.) •• Short term stay (repatriation, adoption and foster care) (ii) For Children sent by Parent/s consent: What are the reasons for seeking residential care for the child? (iii) For Children sent by referral from Field Staff or Self Admission: Reason for choosing residential care (as reported by the child) Reason for recommending residential care (as reported by the field staff)

5. General information about the Child: i)

General Health (only by observation)

ii) Any kind of visible disability? If yes, specify… iii) Has the child ever used drugs? If yes what type? Is s/he using it now? iv) Has the child ever been to school or attended any educational programme? v) Any specific observation about the child …


Checklist of Process to be completed at the Time of Child’s Entry to the Home

S.No Complete the sentences with √ or X 1. 2. (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) (f) (g) 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

9 (a) (b) (c) (d) (e) 10.


Completed field form has been submitted to the home manager by the field social worker. Child has received the welcome pack (given after one month; which includes the following): 1 or 2 sets of clothes (including undergarments) 1 small towel 1 toothbrush 1 comb 1 pair of slippers 1 bag 1 locker Child’s name has been entered in the Central Admission Register (with photograph) Child’s name has been entered in the Daily Attendance Register Child has been given a guided tour of the Home The child has been introduced to all the children and allocated a bed The child has been assigned 2 mentors (one adult mentor and one child mentor) Name of the mentors: Adult ________________________ Child _______________________ Health interventions have been done (including) Lice treatment De-worming Treating visible injuries Haircut (if required) Nails have been clipped (if required) Cases where the child is in contact with guardians/parents; they have been informed about the programme (including the services, their engagement, etc.)

Sign (of the Home Manager on duty) …………………


Name (of the Home Manager on duty) ……………….


Annexure 3 Letter of Consent (To be filled in case the child is being sent with the consent of the parents/guardians) Date: I/We Mr. /Ms. _____________________ and _______________________, are the parents/ guardians of the following child/children. 1. 2. 3. We want to give our child ______________________ (Name) under the care and protection of Mr. /Ms. _____________________________ (Name of the Coordinator) who is the coordinator of the __________________ (Home); situated in _______________ (Place). I have been informed about the Center for Equity Studies and its policies on child care and protection and agree to send my child to the Home. I am ready to cooperate with the organisation on issues of leaves, holidays, meetings, etc. in the best interest of the child. The reason for which I want to send my child to the home is _____________________________ (education, protection, health care, legal protection, etc.); although I will still continue to take all the responsibilities of the child as a guardian. I have received a copy of the Consent Letter. Name: ______________________________________ Signature/Thumb print: _________________________ Name: _____________________________________ Signature/Thumb print: _________________________ Consent Letter by the Parents/Guardians signed on _________________ (Date) at _______________ (Place). The parents/guardians should submit a copy of the age proof of the child for record purposes. Documents submitted by the parents as age proof of the child 1. Birth Certificate 2. School Certificate 3. Ration Card 4. Others 5. None Announcement made by the person accepting the Consent Letter 52

I, with my prior knowledge, have informed the childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parents of the rules related to the care and protection of the child. I certify that the parents are completely aware of the rules and regulation of the Home. Name: _________________________

Date: ______________

Signature: _______________________

Place: ______________

Note * 1. 2.

This letter will be read by the person who can read it and will be read aloud and explained to people who are not literate. This letter will be available at the Home and also with the social mobilisers.


Annexure 4 Sample of Daily Diary (DD) Entry


Annexure 5 Medical Form(MLC)


A Home on the Streets Excerpts from the book - Unheard Voices It was in 1980, even before he was ordained as a priest that George Kollashany and his colleagues began working among rag pickers, coolie boys, street hawkers, shoe shine boys, hotel boys, street beggars and so on. Through repeated contacts they built up a relationship of friendship and trust, and shared the daily lives and struggles of these children of the streets. The boys would take pleasure in taking Father to the tea shop, as they told him of their past, their struggles and their hopes and then insisted on paying the bills. The volunteers provided on the street itself, medical and de-addiction facilities, counselling services and intervention with the law enforcement machinery and the children’s employers. They would also try to re-establish contact with the estranged families of the children; eventually some were even re-united with them. These efforts to reach the children on the streets itself, resulted in Father George breaking some of the conventions of his religious order. But they were pioneering in their non-institutional approach to the care and rehabilitation of street children. The basic philosophy of Father’s work is that as long as the society remains as it is we will continue to have street children. It is then important to concentrate on providing to them a range of supportive and rehabilitative services. Father also clearly perceived that it would be futile, or at best symbolic, to concentrate ones effort on a small number of children who are artificially transplanted from their street reality into a protected environment. Any work with street children must respect, build upon the love of these children for freedom, and their fierce independence. His approach, instead, is to meet the children as they step out of their homes on to the streets, and to partner them in their daily struggles to survive and grow on the streets. It is based on the belief that if a child refuses to succumb passively to trauma and oppression in the home, has special qualities of courage, and love of liberty and life. As one Father put it, “As I shared the life of the children on the streets, I have been very enriched by them. Their sense of freedom, their sense of joy, their very lifestyle… have all made a deep impression on me. They are boys who courageously moved out of their unbearable home environment for a better life. And on the street they make adult decisions regarding their work, shelter, clothes, food, etc. These little men deserve our respect, love and concern”. Volunteers of the organisation therefore, seek to reach out to these children on the street in a non judgemental, supportive way, eliciting their friendship and trust, and gradually providing them with support in their efforts to build a better life for themselves. Nothing is imposed on the street children, nor is their freedom forcibly thwarted. Only the possibility of alternatives is presented, and assistance to reach any of them provided as and when the children so choose. At the same time, without adult protection, street children, despite superficial semi-adult street wisdom, are constantly vulnerable, to exploitation and harassment, to hunger, to illness, to drugs, and to loneliness and so on. They lack reliable and humane adult role models and it is this adult support that the volunteers try to provide the children in their daily life struggles Unheard Voices, Harsh Mander, Penguin Books, 2001 - pgs 32-34


Open Hearts, Open Gatesâ&#x20AC;Ś

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Comprehensive Care for Street Children: Handbook for Planners and Practitioners Building Caring Communities

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