Posts which have been tagged with: children at risk.

Pongal Greetings from Sharana

This past week, Sharana’s office took a break for Pongal celebrations. We are just back at work, and wanted to share the celebrations with you.

Of course, the Night Shelter activities continued through the short holiday, in the spirit of the harvest season. Here are the children, gathered around the kolam decorations, with a small pot of overflowing cotton-balls, simulating the pots overflowing with milk and sweet rice which are the traditional symbols of plenty.

More Pongal and other photos are coming soon to Sharana’s Facebook page soon. Stay tuned!

Disability Training for Amala and John Peter

Last week, Amala and John Peter attended a disability training workshop in Chennai. The session was organized by the International Childcare trust, a children’s rights organization that works in partnership with local organizations in Africa and Asia. The focus of the workshop was on “Strengthening program and policy to promote rights of disabled children and young people in South Asia,” held at the Egmore YWCA.

Over 30 participants from a wide cross-section of NGOs from across India took part in the workshop, which aimed to inform, sensitize, and enable social workers working with children to address the needs of children with disabilities at both a practical and policy level.

Participants learned of three approaches to working with individuals with disabilities:

  1. Medical: the most traditional and expensive approach;
  2. Charity: which treats people with disabilities as helpless victims of their impairment, deserving of charity;
  3. Social (or inclusive) Model: an approach which sees “disability” as a socially created problem. Disability is not an individual attribute, but a set of social, medical, and cultural conditions, the management of which requires collective, collaborative social action.

This last perspective builds on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and holds that disability is not a medical, but a Human Rights issue.

Through group exercises, smaller break-out group discussions, and other similar activities, the workshop encouraged participants to think of the ways in which they each could implement the guiding principles of the UN Convention (signed by India in 2007) in their daily work.

Such capacity-building sessions are critical for Sharana social workers’ growth and development, both professionally, and in terms of their care for children in Sharana’s at risk programs.

J’OSE Volunteers at Sharana

A group of 40 Volunteers from J’Oeuvre de secours aux enfants: Relief work for Children (J’OSE) arrived at Sharana for the group’s annual visit to Pondicherry, this past month.

Volunteers at an orientation with Eric

J’OSE is a Paris-based organization which gathers young adults with the aim of getting them involved in volunteer programs, generally within the Jewish community but also working in general with people in need.
Last year, J’OSE organized a volunteer trip for development assistance to India. About 25 volunteers from France visited Pondicherry for two weeks, and worked on medical and educational projects in vilages and slums in and around Pondicherry (at that time under Kalki’s supervision).
This year, 40 volunteers participated in two weeks of educational, recreational, and medical camp activities, for the benefit of under-privileged children. The volunteers were here from August 5th to the 18th, and this year were focused on building environmental awareness in their work with Sharana’s children. They organized medical camps and offered spoken English classes at the Evening school/ Homework Help Center. They worked a lot with waste materials such as plastic bottles and newspaper, showing children how waste can be re-used and even transformed into such things as pencil holders, and even musical instruments.
The group also took the Shelter children for a daylong picnic. The photos below are from that day’s activities.

The schedule and itinerary for the volunteers was organized entirely by Amala Devi, who has become quite skilled in balancing the needs of such large volunteer groups and those of Sharana’s many and diverse groups of children.
Sharana has a steady stream of volunteers who share their time, energies, and ideas with the children and social workers in our various programs. To find out about the possibilities of volunteering, please consult our Volunteer Information Page.