Around 150 girl children and adolescents live in the streets of central Pondicherry, at constant risk of sexual abuse and trafficking. Another 250 live in the city’s slums with no privacy and often at risk of being abused by relatives or neighbours.
Piloting a new approach, in June 2008 KALKI Welfare Association opened a Drop-In Centre for street children in Pondicherry, India. The facility is a community space with an accessible full-range of services. KALKI offers home-cooked food, clean, secure shelter, health services, remedial education and recreational activities. KALKI is the vision and work of Panjali who herself grew up in the slums of Pondicherry and found an escape route through an informal education offered by NGO’s and then a career working for them.Panjali – on the left – the founder of KALKI
To avoid abuse and nights on the streets and in brothels a number of girls are currently sleeping at the Drop-In center. To better cater to these girls and others at immediate risk of abuse, KALKI plans to set up a safe night shelter. This shelter will operate as a transitional house where girls can live for up to one year, while socialorkers help them plan for their future. Girls will access the education program at KALKI, while older ones will be supported in vocational training activities. All will receive medical care and counseling. In some cases girls can be referred to extended families or to long-term residential homes when they have been abandoned and a safe placement within their extended family cannot be guaranteed. The night shelter will be located outside Pondicherry, in order to ensure the safety of the girls and avoid relatives claiming them back from KALKI in order to exploit and traffic them – this is at the moment a serious problem since the drop-in centre is located in the centre of town.
The total budget for the running of the Night Shelter for 1 year is US$19,946. This includes rent, food, medical supplies, furniture, utilities and salaries. ADM Capital Foundation is heavily invested in all aspects of the KALKI project and will be monitoring the roll-out of the project alongside New Day. Panjali is finalising the premises for the shelter and it should be operational in April 2009. Thank you to ADM Capital Foundation for their support!
You can download the presentation on KALKI to members here KALKI Night Shelter-ppt