The Salesian centre is a childcare institution licensed under the Juvenile Justice Act. Every home for children at risk needs to be licensed by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department of the State Government. It is located behind a railway station in Rajahmundry. Children who have run away use the railway station for travel and to beg for money to survive. Salesian staff has a good relationship with the railway police department to rescue children from the station and bring them to the courts and then onto the Ekalavya Children’s Home.
The home also works in collaboration with Child Line 1098 and is available to children in need day and night. Some children live in the home, are provided skill development programs and are sent to a nearby school for regular education. Other children are part of the shelter program. They stay at the home until they are able to go back to their family homes or are rehabilitated at another place.
In 2020, 41 children joined the home. Twenty of those children came from a background of living in poverty. Other children were orphans or from struggling single-parent households. Two of the children had hearing impairments and were sent to a specialized home and school.
While providing for basic needs and connecting children into educational programs, Ekalavya Children’s Home also helped children understand their emotions and connect better with their peers and adults. The home provides a weekly meeting where children can talk about issues that are bothering them, whether it's with other children, school or adults. This helps children work through interpersonal issues and helps them resolve conflict in a productive way.
In addition to this support, a care mother is available for children at all times. Children have regular night prayer and time to share the events of the day. They are able to discuss any issue they have come across during the day. The children’s meeting and time with the care mother also provides an opportunity for children to express their views and ideas for the better functioning of the home.
“We are pleased to support the activities of the Ekalavya Children’s Home,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “These children come from disadvantaged backgrounds and need the support of caring adults to ensure they are cared for and receive an education. This home environment provides children a chance at a brighter future.”
Source: Salesian Missions