In India there are about 10 million street children, girls and boys who grow up without parents. Some of them may have a home, but don’t want to go back there. Most of them come from broken families living in extreme poverty. Alcohol, violence and abuse are commonplace.
The Don Bosco brothers establish initial contact with the children and teenagers on the streets, at bus stops, railway stations and markets. This first encounter is reinforced by regular visits, because regular contact helps to shed fears and gain trust.
Children and young people receive support and are given the opportunity to come to Don Bosco open shelters, which are open communal facilities. Children can come and go as they please. Shelter workers show the children that they are their friends and that their help is unconditional. The children get something to eat and can wash up and do laundry. Games, fun and support during learning are part of the program, as are hygiene training and psychological counselling.
Craftmanship and creativity
Several courses that promote a whole range of skills are helping to support 290 street children in harnessing their craftsmanship and creativity. A total of 160 girls and 130 boys aged 18 and under are receiving vocational training that will give them a chance to support themselves in the future. The educational activities, all led by qualified teachers, include stained glass and artisan craft workshops, tailoring and beauty courses, and a sports and nutrition program.
Health camps and hygiene training
Five hundred street children struggling to survive have been given a lifeline in the form of health camps. At twelve of these camps, kids receive care and understanding for their worries and needs, alongside medical treatment and education, as well as an in-depth course on hygiene, healthy eating and potential health risks.