Perhaps the flagship project of Delhi Seva Bharati is the ‘Street Children Project’. Children who used to dwell on streets begging for bread are now living a life filled with self-respect at Sewa Bharati's Keshav Sewa Kendra. Their lives are enlightened by education and they have understood the real meaning of life. It is housed in Keshav Sewa Kendra, Dilshad Garden, Delhi on the other bank of the river Yamuna. It was started to provide education as well as some vocational training to children of poor slum or pavement dwellers.
About 6,000 people reside in this colony and most of them are rickshaw pullers, labourers, beggars, sweepers, etc. Many children also struggle for bread along with their parents. Some kids dance as jokers at traffic signals, some are engaged in boot polish, some sweep the streets while some just beg on roads.
After one year’s coaching some of these children got admitted in nearby Government or Corporation schools.
These children are oriented to develop finer values of life and adopt healthy habits. Stress is laid on cleanliness and punctuality, prayers, group songs, and yogasanas.
They are also told about the cultural panorama of our society and stories of patriotic sons and daughters of Mother Bharat are also told to them. They develop good relations with their friends and pay respects to their parents and teachers. They, thus develop reverence for cultural values. All these positive results have convinced the organizers of the need to expand the facet of social work.
The efforts of these street children have been appreciated by the society on a number of occasions. Even Delhi Chief Minister Sheela Dixit rewarded the children for their creativity.
At present this project is run at six places with an enrolment of 450 children from the nearby slums. Ministry of Women and Child Welfare supports this project financially by providing 90 per cent grants while Sewa Bharati adds 10 per cent contribution.
These centers are located at:-
1. Keshav Sewa Kendra, Dilshad Vihar, Kalandar Colony, Delhi- 110095
2. Lal Bagh Jhuggi Colony, Under Shahdara Fly Over, Shahdara, Delhi- 110092
3. 6/389, Khichripur, Delhi- 110091
4. Basti Vikas Kendra, Chitra Vihar, Delhi
5. Maharana Pratap Sewa Kendra, East Gokul Puri, Delhi-110094
6. Saraswati Bal Mandir, Jhandewalan, Near Jhandewalan Mata Mandir, Delhi-110055.
The programs Seva Bharati plans for the future include creation of Care Center in various extensions in other slums or sewa bastis as they prefer to call; identifying areas which have concentration of neglected children; non-formal education centers; vocational and job-oriented training; comprehensive personality development programs and camps and, awareness building with regard to consequences of drinking, drugs etc.
The vision that works behind this unique project is ensuring physical, mental and moral sound health and well being of every child; inculcating in them cultural values and molding their character; strengthening the relationship of children with other children, his family and the community and, restoring the children’s relationship with their own families when required and when possible.
At present, Seva Bharati makes arrangements for free education to these children; provision of school uniforms and other educational material and needs; training in skills, crafts and arts and health supervision and training.
The motto of this project is “We care for our own children. Can we step in and help a few homeless children? This will make our own children more considerate and responsive towards society,”
In our country the number of children in slums is increasing day-by-day. There is every possibility that given the environment of the slums, these children are likely to fall prey to the anti-social elements and become a threat to the society. As responsible citizens, there is definitely a lot we can do for them. We could step in and embrace these children and help them lead a life we dream for ourselves. These children are future of our country and could contribute greatly if given an opportunity. This is the rationale and motive behind starting this Street Children Project.
Seva Bharati (Street Children Project)
Keshav Sewa Kendra, Dilshad Garden
Delhi- 11 00 95
(New Delhi, India)