Programs for Children
The goal of this programme is to provide the much-needed facilities and a nurturing environment in which these children can recover in body, mind, and spirit from the horrors of life in brothels. The nature of the facility provided is based on the need expressed by the women themselves.
The Navjeevan Centre Child Development Process (NCCDP)
The organization’s approach is to facilitate the comprehensive development of each child who comes to the facility. Each child has a different background and this understanding is crucial in establishing trust and assisting in his/her growth in an informed way. Some children are in a position to turn to their mother for support with time, some have no scope for support as the mother is unable to do so and some children are orphans with no one to turn to, in which case Navjeevan Centre becomes their guardian. Therefore, every child’s need is looked at individually through a systematic process of case work, psycho social assessment and counselling. At each stage, priority is given to the educational, health, emotional, interpersonal, moral and creative maturity of every child with active participation of the mother throughout the process. Each child is provided with opportunities at various stages of his/her development to equip the child to become capable, independent, and confident and whole heartedly participate in the various avenues of life.
The centre currently has the following components:
1) Night and Day Care Centres in Kamathipura, Kethwadi and Bhiwandi, the largest red-light areas of Mumbai and Thane district, for the children of CSEW in the age groups of 6 – 7 years. Up to 75 children are part of this program. Children of mothers who are not willing to send their child to a total residential facility are taken care of in the day and night shelters which is in the vicinity of the brothels where the women work. The expenses are partly met by a government grant.
Social workers through regular visits motivate them to send their children to the day/night care centres. The social workers keep the mothers abreast about the activities of the Centre and also the growth of each child. Regular contacts with the mothers are an essential component, in the effective functioning of the Centre. The activities of the Centre are focused on providing basic nutrition and elementary value education. Primary training to prepare the child for formal school is undertaken at the Centre. Cultural programs, field visits, celebration of Independence day, Raksha Bandhan, EID, Diwali , Christmas, Children’s day and the outings to enhance their growth and understanding of the outside world form part of the Centre’s curriculum. Exercise, music, dance, drawing, hygiene sessions are conducted. Children are enrolled in the government-run school for continuing formal education. Regular visits and monitoring of the children’s progress in school is carried out by trained social workers. Periodic health check-ups, deworming and regular immunisation program is an integral part of the Centre’s work. Art based therapy and creative performance workshops are also used to support physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Professional counsellors help children with emotional adjustment and behavioural problems. The Centre also provides help with documentation such as Adhaar Card and opening bank accounts for the children.
2) Orientation (Preparatory) Centre: Children whose mothers are willing to send them to a residential facility is first enrolled in the Orientation Centre for a period of 6 months to 1 year, to prepare the children both physically and emotionally for the disciplined life in the institution which is very different from what they have been accustomed to. Under the care of house parents and counsellors, they are made to detach themselves from the learning that they have assimilated at the brothels and also to orient them to institutional life.
During this period a thorough health check-up and monitoring is conducted to rule out communicable diseases. This Centre aims to give appropriate care for the infected children. Children with health problems are treated at the Centre or, if required, referred to hospitals and, once cured, are shifted to the children’s institution. Functional literacy program, value education, exposure visits and training workshops form part of their curriculum.
3) Navjeevan Village is the residential home with a capacity of 165 children (5 to 18 years) of CSEW, situated at Kapri Village in Murbad Taluka (around 56 km from Kalyan city in Thane district). From the Orientation Centre, the child moves to a residential home. The child would be taken care of in this home till she/he becomes 18 years. This is the place that the child would spend most of his childhood. The children in the age group of 3-18 live in “homes” (cottages) with no more than 20 children under the direct supervision of house parents or house sisters. The house parents and sisters live with them providing the love, care and understanding needed for the physical, mental and psychological growth of the children. These separate homes collectively constitute the Navjeevan Village. The Village operates under the supervision of the Child Welfare Committee and Department of Women & Children. Using various educational, training, healthcare, psycho social care programs, extracurricular activities and a secular environment, every care is taken to provide a loving home environment to the children and prepare them to be confident and educated citizens of tomorrow.
4) Navjyothi School: (ISO 9001 2008 certified School), situated in the campus of Navjeevan Village, is an English medium school recognised by the Government of Maharashtra. Started in 2000, it caters to 346 children of Navjeevan Village as well as children from the nearby villages. Presently, the school has classes from nursery till Std X. The school was initially started for educating the children of Navjeevan Centre. However, as years progressed, the reputation of the institution grew in the local villages and students started coming from villages outside.
Competent teachers are appointed to teach and monitor the child’s growth in the set-up of formal education. Since the majority of these children have started schooling at a late age, there would be an emphasis on remedial teaching. Collaboration with organisations like Pratham, promoting alternative teaching methodology is utilised. Staff and students from B.Ed colleges assist the teachers in developing remedial curriculum and teaching aids. Older children are also helped through aptitude test for ascertaining their strengths and thereby help them to choose relevant skills in the future. Students are prepared to appear for the Class X board exam through the Maharashtra State Board. The school has a science lab, playground and a library which provides books and audio-visuals, to motivate the children. The school conducts various competitions and activities for the expression of the innate talents of the students. The students also participate in various interschool competitions like quiz, drawing and painting.
The teachers are mainly from the local villages. The school provides staff accommodation facilities. Regular workshops and classes by experts are conducted for the teachers to broaden their understanding, introduce innovative teaching methods and to enable them to understand the psychology and the emotional needs of these children. Latest technologies such as advanced computer laboratory, E-Learning Class, CCTV surveillance, magnetic non-scratchable boards, etc are part of the campus. The Binil Memorial assembly hall is a new building donated by well-wishers from the USA.
5) Extension Homes: Located at Kalyan, the Extension Home provides for a safe haven for those children of Navjeevan who have successfully completed school education and provides them higher education options and follow-up support till a stage of independence and reintegration. At present around 18 youths stay here.
6) Navjeevan Technical Training Institute is an ISO 9001 2008 certified Centre and offers training in 8 trades for the youths of Navjeevan and nearby villages. The skill unit was initiated in September 2009 to provide supportive technical skills to the high school going students of Navjeevan Centre, in addition to their high school education. Murbad being an untouched taluka in terms of development in the political process of the state, Navjeevan Centre found it an ideal place to start a technical centre by which the youth of the area would be able to contribute their technical skills for the development of the country. Moreover, one part of the taluka is a tribal belt where people have not even heard the word ‘development’.
The various courses offered are electrical, electronics, computer hardware, software, mechanical, civil, typewriting, fashion design, etc. This unit functions with the collaboration of Fr. Agnel Technical training Institute. It has helped the youths of Navjeevan Centre, as well as the unemployed youth from nearby villages, get job-oriented training.
Navjeevan Vocation Training Centre (NJVTC) in collaboration with Fr. Agnel Technical College is focused on imparting competency and action oriented, holistic, technical training to the rural and urban economically backwards youth to equip them for self and wage employment.
7) Health centre: A primary health centre catering to the needs of the children, staff and the villagers is operational at the Navjeevan Village. Since there is no government hospital or clinic in the nearby vicinity of the residential home, the health centre is of prime importance. A full-time residential nurse and visiting doctors take care of the health needs. The health centre is equipped with needed medicines and first aid kits to deal with the immediate health needs of the children. Frequent health camps to develop awareness on health issues as well as to monitor the health status of the children and the villagers are conducted. Specialists from different fields of medicine attend the clinic through the year.