The home was created by the Salesian-run People’s Action for Rural Awakening for disadvantaged children. It can accommodate up to 50 children, was started to support school dropouts, rescue child laborers, and provide a home for at-risk children, those living on the street, or those who have run away from dysfunctional families.
Ekalavya Children’s Home is a child care 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.
Ekalavya Children’s Home 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 members have good relationships 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 receive rehabilitation services at another place.
While providing for basic needs and connecting children into educational programs, Ekalavya Children’s Home also helps 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. The children’s meeting with the care mother also provides an opportunity for children to express their views and ideas for the better functioning of the home.
Ekalavya Children’s Home also offers facilities for hosting small functions including retreats and workshops. There is a semi-open-air auditorium for seating 150 and a training hall for 100. There are also four bedrooms available for anyone who needs to stay at the home while using the facilities. These spaces are often rented out to provide income to help sustain the home.
Source: Salesian Missions