In Swami Vivekanand Manparivartan Kendra, Samatol Foundation since last 15 years, effortlessly making an attempt to rehabilitate children who have run away from their homes and are staying at platforms of junction railway stations. Samatol’s aim is to reform their lives by reuniting with their families in their own state where they can learn in their own language. Presently Samatol works on C.S.T., Kurla, Thane, Kalyan, Pune and Bhusaval stations.
Samatol conducts four rehabilitation camps in a year. This camp is conducted for children in the age of 6 to 16 years who are either addicted or are staying on platforms for more than 3 months and completely deserted from their families. Our objective is to cure these children from their bad habits of addiction & try to inculcate moral values and good behavior in them & make them aware that staying away from their homes is quite risky and they should always be with their families for their safety. We found these children mostly coming from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka, West Bengal & Madhya Pradesh.
There are many reasons to runaway from their homes but most prominent reasons are city attraction, in search of employment, educational problems, internal disputes in family & natural calamity. After arriving in the city & knowing that nobody in the city is going to help them, these children choose to stay either on streets or on railway platforms & make their home there. To get familiarize with the platform atmosphere, these children form a group and start various addictions. Out of these, 80 % children are addicted to dangerous solution intake, smoking, goa-gutkha, liquor, bhang, sleeping pills & many more addictions and even indulged in homo-sexuality. Many runaway children flee from home after giving up even their primary school education. This lack of education turns them to criminal world.
The reason to hold the Man-parivartan camp is to reintegrate the runaway children with their families and make them responsible citizens of India in future. In every session of the camp more emphasis is given on the family bonding. Every child gets individual interaction with every visitor visiting the camp. Through this continuous interaction, children start connecting to their families and agree to reunite with them for love of family and relatives.
“MANAPARIVARTAN CAMP” PROCESS
Planning of camp is scheduled for 5 weeks period
Contact process: Our volunteers interacts with the children staying on the platforms through several visits and counseling sessions. We also take various social programmes with these children and win their confidence. Through these efforts, children agree to get rid of this risky platform atmosphere and join Man parivartan Camp.
First week (Getting child familiar with Camp):
After the child comes to camp, first we try to make child familiar with camp atmosphere. Initially for a week, he is allowed to behave as per his nature and he is free to do anything in the camp so that he doesn’t feel different from other camp children. But we see that he does not harm any other boys in the camp and he becomes aware for what purpose he is admitted to camp. The child is told that this is an important chance for him, to change his future life. In this week only, children’s medical checkup is done. Accordingly they are classified into groups and further camp planning is carried out.
· Monitoring the children.
· Select appropriate children for the camp activities.
· Encourage children to participate in every activity of the camp.
· To select leader of the camp.
Second week (Good & bad) :
In second week, a time table of activities is chalked out & we try to teach various disciplines to children. In this week, they are taught to take care of their health, how to interact with public & respect their elders etc. They are taught about good habits they should follow and bad habits they should avoid in their life. The children share their experience of station life and speak about what they learnt from station life and what type of addictions they had for instance liquor, gutkha, ganja, smoking, solution intake etc. To bring the children out of torturous station life, various activities like group discussions, meditation & physical exercise are taken. During group discussions, children can express their inconvenience and troubles which are solved out. We give them examples of successful children in society to encourage these children to follow good life ahead.
Third week (Family Bonding) :
We start implementing time table drawn in second week with special attention given on telling moral stories in this week. These stories have characters who surrender to their parents, teachers, all mighty God & our country which help these children to change their thoughts positively towards their parents and families. Children start discussing among themselves how beneficial it is to stay with their family members. They are given guidance on how to deal with difficulties in life and how to overcome anger. Through stories and songs good messages are imparted to children. In this week emphasis is given on building family love and affection and healthy relationships. We get names, addresses and contact numbers of their parents through counseling. At the same time, children get guidance through psychiatrist and other experts and most importantly through dhayna process, we get to know about the children’s thinking.
Fourth week (Identify their needs):
After first three weeks, some changes are noticed among the children. In this week, attention is given on personality development, vocational training, informal education & value education to these children. For this purpose, we take help of experts in those specific fields. Counseling & medical checkup is done again. Love and affection by the visitors to camp during this week create love for their families among the children.
Fifth week (Goal of life):
In this week children are told real life heroes’ stories. Their sacrifices for their country and well being for fellow countrymen inspire the children. These stories are discussed among the children. Then they come forward & start giving their own examples. Children talk about their future goals in their life and obstacles they will face and possible solution to overcome them. This inspires other fellow children to do better in their coming life.
In same week more attention is given on the dhayan activity & children’s choice of good & bad qualities is taken into consideration. We discuss with each one how to behave and respect & obey his family & how to attain his desired goal. We contact their family members or message is given through local contact and inform them about the children and call them for handover of child in send off ceremony. The children prepare to perform in cultural programmes. The reason conducting these programs is to bring to limelight the real facts of the children’s life plights through their own performances. So the society can accept these children and work towards Child Friendly Society.
Camp Sendoff programme :
The parents are called one day prior to send off ceremony in Mumbai. We counsel the parents about progress of the child and his future plans. The send off programme is held in various parts of the city in co-ordination with several institutions. We invite actors, psychiatrists and known personalities and dignitaries from cultural, social and political field, officers from government departments to grace this occasion. Various donors and Samatol Friends are also invited The send off ceremonies are conducted for making social awareness about child rights.