రైన్ బో హోం పిల్లల తిరిగొచ్చిన బాల్యానికి పండగ
Rainbow homes is a campaign launched in Andhra Pradesh in the year 2008 to protect the rights of, and help reclaim the childhood of, deprived girls in urban areas which was extended for boys at a later stage. The categories of children targeted for these homes are children on streets, children of homeless families, children in begging, children in rag picking, children of sex workers and in sex work, children in domestic work and facing abuse and violence, children from farmers and weavers families those are effected by hunger deaths and suicides etc. These children face multiple vulnerabilities due to no adult protection-- either have no parents or escaped from abusive, violent environments because of alcoholic or irresponsible parents. They are deprived of education, distanced from health care, adult care and ridden with psychological problems resulting in self-destructive habits like drug addiction, leading to the alarming phenomenon of 'sustained underdevelopment'.
Aman Biradari, a national trust started this concept of “Rainbow homes” with the following salient features through its Andhra Pradesh chapter called Aman Vedika.
· Located in government schools for the appropriate usage of aavailable infrastructure to reclaim the childhood of these most vulnerable children
· A home for the children those are deprived of child hood and functional parenting
· A place that transforms these children to responsible citizens
· A home that ensure..right to life, right to protection, right to development and right to participation of the children.
AmanBiradari started implementing this concept in active collaboration with government as it feels that it is the responsibility of the government to take care of such children and to establish such mechanisms for care and protection of these vulnerable children. It used the following ploicy frame work to engage with government for establishment of these homes.
· Right to education act (RTE) and related GOs, Government of AP included Rainbow Home
· Juvenile Justice Act: As per the JJ rules it is the responsibility of the state to provide care and protection for the children in distress directly or through civil society organizations.
· SSA (Sarva Siksha Abhiyan) legal frame work mentioned this model of RSTC (Residential special training center formerly known as RBC (Residentila Bridge course) as one of the best practice.
SSA has budget allocations for RBC/RSTC for the children out of the school. Aman Biradari used these provisions for the benefit of these most vulnerable children with active involvement of SSA. After establishing 2 homes as models, Aman Vedika started advocating replication of the model through a group of 8 likeminded NGOs under the umbrella of Balyamitra Network. SSA and education departments actively supported the initiative through providing RSTC support and school buildings for these children. So far we could reach 1570 children out of which 1096 are girls and 474 are boys through 17 homes or Residential Special Training Centres RSTCs (10 for girls and 7 for boys) located in government schools, with these children attending classes in 66 govt schools. Most of the children are enrolled in the same school or nearest government school. This was possible through a tripartite partnership between RVM SSA, Civil society and the partner organizations of Balyamitra network. The proactive initiative of these stakeholders not only enabled these children to access education but also provided protection, care and social integration for these most vulnerable children. Providing all these basic rights of children in the school premises proved a successful strategy to cover the left out children, to remove the social stigma attached to them, give them a sense of self esteem and facilitate re-integration into society. Currently, these children are not only enjoying their right to education as students but they have also reclaimed their childhood.
In the whole process education and SSA departments have different role to play. Even though these children are supported by SSA through RSTC, the children basically belong to the education department and brought into the schools owned by education department. Children are first enrolled in to the schools according to their age and brought to the RSTC. Children will go back to the formal school after finishing their RSTC curriculum. Thus the children are under the supervision of the both the departments.
Role of education department:
The education department facilitates access to the premises identified by the NGO. Children have to be enrolled in the school records and sent to RSTCs. The RSTC children are included in the mid-day meal scheme, and their lunch is provided by the school. After the completion of the RSTC, they are enrolled as regular students in the school.
Role of SSA:
The SSA sanctions and makes available the funds for the children’s needs, monitors the education, and other routine work, looks at the accounts, and supplies the educational material. Hitherto, each child was allotted a sum of Rs.10,000/- per annum for a period of 10 months. Now, following the RTE regulations, each child is allotted Rs. 20,000/- per annum for a period of 2 years. Teachers for the RSTCs are trained by the SSA. Provision of basic infrastructural facilities to the RSTCs is also the responsibility of the SSA.
BMN is now on the threshold of a new phase in the care of children without responsible adult care. In this context, children in the Homes run by Balyamitra Network are celebrating their reclaimed childhood along with various stakeholders of RSTCs and those who contributed to the cause. BMN cordially invites you to preside over the event.
There are many challenges that pose questions for sustained support for these children.
· The RSTC support is available for only for a period of 2 years (It was one year earlier). Children with no one and nowhere to go need require sustained long term support to continue their education and settle in their life. Due to the lack of continued support after the RSTC phase, these children may go back to the street or end up as child labour. Currently only 50% of the children in the Rainbow Homes are supported by the SSA despite being in the stipulated age group of 6-14 yrs. Hence either education department or SSA should look into ways for providing longer term support for all these children.
· Previously the SSA’s target group was children between 9-14 yrs of age. Now the the RTE stipulates the age of the target group should be between 6-14 yrs. However, the SSA has yet to wake up to this extension—they are still calculating accounts according to the previous stipulation of 9-14 yrs.
· Even though there is a provision for supporting the renovation of infrastructure in school buildings and slightly modifying it for residential purposes, there are no focal persons and guidelines to access these provisions. As a result the request for such infrastructure development has to go from the Head master of the school and revolves around many people at higher level. Hence it is extremely important to notify the responsible people for infrastructure development and corresponding process.
· At times, school teachers are not convinced with accepting these children as they feel it is additional burden on them. Many resent them because they are from the street, have no family that can be held responsible for them, and even after the completion of the RSTC, teachers need to put in extra work to bring the new children upto the level of the others.
· In many instances the teachers’ unions tried to propagate that the school is going to be privatized, sometimes they even stooped to malign the staff in the Homes. Hence it is important to lay down some clear instructions to the schools.
· Infrastructure related requirements: Most of the existing RSTCs in the school buildings are in the need of infrastructure requirement like:
o 80% need renovation of buildings with minor modifications
o 50% need electricity facilities
o 50% need drinking and running water facility
o in 75% of the premises, construction and repair of Toilets and Wash Rooms is an urgent requirement
o 30% need doors, and 90% need closed cupboards
o 75% need drainage facility
o Surroundings of 25% of schools have to cleaned, as garbage is being dumped
o 50% need water storage tanks
o 40% need kitchen and wash area
o 90% of the buildings need white wash.
· Other issues:
The space in the school buildings is under utilised by dumping unwanted, broken and waste material in at least 25% of schools.
Before the NGOs took up the premises to establish the Home, they were faced with huge amounts of pending electricity and water bills
100-% of the teachers in schools need orientation on rules and procedures related to RSTCs.to no adult protection-- either have no parents or escaped from abusive, violent environments be...