Safeguarding children’s health is the duty of the family,the community and the state. Vatsal Chaya has been holding health camps more frequently since July 2012 as a supportive facility to children as well as siblings and mothers.
Vikram and Sanjay will beg from morning to night with their little brothers in their arms.It is a part of their training to evoke pity and elicit more alms.No matter how many p.j.’s u give them the babies will be unclad waist down since the boys do not how to deal with the frequent wetting .The babies too know how to immediately stretch out their little hands and say “dey dey ” meaning give. Sanjay will manage writing with one hand while Vicky ( named here by all of us and the children’s choice) sleeps in his lap.
The open school is very different in one precious way—some children who started their journey into retrieving their childhood– away from violence ,abuse exploitation towards safety,security,health,education , skills ,dignity and affection accompany us as peer educators. Here is Pooja then and now–she beams at the new children bursting to tell her story which began here
The old days
This is the same spot from where Vatsal Chaya began its journey with 12 children who tapped on paasing car windows and begged for money–an ubiquitous sight in all our towns and cities. Mnay of those are still with us ,safely in school and crafting a better life,some have gone back,and now new ones have appeared .Every year a couple of months before Diwali child begging is renewed vigor and with fresh influx from poorer regions. the open classroom is revived whenever there are street children who need a transitional support in the form of non formal teaching ,creating a classroom experience in their familiar environs.
after the basic numeracy lessons ,simple home cooked food follows ,it is an important part of the daily activity,vital nutrition and quality bonding time.Conversation reveals the family problems of each and the personality of each child emerges slowly.They drop the garb of practised child beggars only after a while.What helps us is that a few of them have known the old class or heard about it .