Street Children/Child Trafficking


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Project: Street Children/Child Trafficking
Grassroots Asia is currently involved in several prevention and rehabilitation programs addressing this growing worldwide problem.

In Bhubaneswar, India

ASHRA  : More than one hundred mentally ill, destitute women reside at ASHRA's resident home in Bhubaneswar, India where they receive medical care, vocational training, counseling and housing. Many have been abused, have been rescued from being trafficked or were abondoned. ASHRA has been in the forefront of progressive mental health care. Grassroots Asia began funding a paper-making vocational training unit for the women in 2004. The women have not only made this a big success, but have expanded the program to include note cards that exhibit their own artwork, chalk making and bamboo house products. They have become a shining example of what a little help can do. The building of the vocational training unit at ASHRA paved the way for the State of Orissa Women & Child Development to purchase products from the women, insuring product sales. Several women have developed bank accounts and are saving for a new life.


Helpline  : Helpline began as a joint partnership between the State of Orissa Women and Child Development and Ruchika Social Services. In 2005, when it was in danger of being cut due to a shortage of funds, Grassroots Asia partnered with the State to insure the continuation of Helpline. Helpline provides an emergency hotline for women in distress, offering emergency response 24/7. Many of the women who work at Helpline receives an average of 500 calls per week. All women and children who require medical services, shelter, food or counseling are given access to this free of charge. For those women who need housing and additional care, Ruchika's Shraddha Bhaban was developed to give them shelter and many free services. (See Ruchika Shraddha Bhaban)


Ruchika Shraddha Bhawan  : Currently 20 women and children, some with babies, are residents at the Ruchika Shraddha Bhawan, a rescue home and crèche for destitute women and children. This rescue home is unique, providing a nursery that allows mothers to keep infant children and allowing longer term stays to those who require it. Many of these women have come from abusive environments, are abandoned or left destitute by unforeseen circumstances. The home provides food, shelter, clothing, music and dance classes, educational and vocational training opportunities, counseling, repatriation assistance, basic medical needs and a loving and safe environment for the women who reside there. Several of the women are enrolled in home nursing and tailoring courses or are placed in good jobs. Women must be re-building their lives in a constructive manner in order to stay at the Shraddha Bhawan, where self-sufficiency and making a contribution is emphasized.


In Kolkata, India

Samvav ('Possible') Center for Teens  : Serves four red light districts in S. Kolkata and provides a shelter, light snacks, games, education and safe harbor for more than 100 young teens looking for new opportunities in life. Tailoring classes, computer training, tutoring and counseling are also provided. Teens develop their own programs. Grassroots Asia and Samvav initiated this project in 2003.


The Red Light School Bus  : Grassroots Asia funded the purchase of a school bus to pick children up from red light districts and transport them to the new Samvav ("Possibility") Youth Center where young teens can receive tutoring, computer training, counseling and vocational training. The bus was placed in operation in July 2005 and is being used throughout the Red Light Districts in Kolkata to serve rehabilitation and prevention programs. The bus has doubled the attendance at health and care centers for children since July.

School Grant Program for Kolkata Teens  : In an effort to curb second generation prostitution in Kolkata's red light districts, Grassroots Asia and Sanlaap, a Kolkata-based NGO, have teamed to provide grants to youth who would like to continue their education but have no resources for books and tuition. For qualified students who have received good grades and show leadership skills, full grants are provided. The program also includes counseling, computer training, a study center and self-developed youth leadership programs.