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CRY- Giving the needy Childen their just future

A fter being a CRY volunteer for the past two years I finally had an opportunity to visit two CRY projects during our trip to India recently. My wife, Kavitha, accompanied me on both the project visits. We visited SKCV (Sri Krishna Chaitanya Vidya Vihar) in Vijayawada and Dr.Reddy Foundation for Social and Human Development in Hyderabad. The project visit was a valuable experience. It helped us in better understanding the work involved in the projects and was also an opportunity to meet with the children, teachers and social workers.

Seeing the enthusiasm expressed by the children to learn and to get educated, one thing crossed our mind - how much difference "OPPORTUNITY" can bring. The opportunity to have a normal childhood was made possible by CRY with support from each one of you. We returned to US with a re-affirmed faith in CRY and renewed energy to promote CRY and help it reach out and assist more and more needy children.

1. Dr.Reddy's Foundation for Human and Social Development:

Dr. Anji Reddy of Reddy Labs started the Foundation three years ago. One of the projects under the Foundation is the-- Child and Police Project (CAP) is supported by CRY. (8.5 lakhs/year). The primary aim of the project is to minimize exploitation, deprivation and offer children a life of dignity and opportunity. Following an interface between police and various organizations like Dr. Reddy's Foundation, MVF, labor department and the social welfare department, 500 children between the ages of 7 and 14 were identified and motivated to join the project.

These children were working in a hazardous work environments like welding and mechanic shops, quary, and foundry shops, were paid abyssmal wages and were being exploited to the hilt. A transition camp was set up at DIET campus at Neredmet, Hyd. The basic aim of the camp was to provide shelter, learning environment and inculcate values of caring, sharing and co-existence besides providing a carefree childhood. The objective was to prepare the children for a regular school life within a span of 6 months.

A team of specialists conducted regular medical check-ups. The camp received tremendous support from live and print media. Several national and international channels covered this programme. Doordarshan is all set to telecast a four-episode serial on child labour which has been drawn from the experiences of the children at the camps.

At the end of the camp the children are admitted into 10 schools - the purpose being to make them a part of the mainstream education. The selection of schools is based on a survey of various schools in the city in close co-ordination with the principals and area police. Steps have been taken to ensure that the children do not drop out of the school and get back to work again. A careworker has been appointed for every 50 children who will monitor the children at school and family circumstances. Simultaneously, local monitoring committees will be formed and attached to every school. Each of these will compromise of a social worker, the inspector of police and the principal.

Children who have no parents are supported through a Foster Parenting concept. The deprived child is put in the care of another parent who acts as a surrogate parent for the child providing him with the required love and security and enabling to blossom into a healthy individual. DRF is proud to be associated with CRY which has evinced a lot of interest in the CAP project.

CRY is supporting the Foster Parent Programme entirely. The funds are used to look after food, clothing and living expenses of 52 children and partly for the maintenance of the support staff. Besides, CRY also provides networking opportunities, which helps the CAP project establish contact with people and organizations working in the same field. CRY is also providing training inputs for the programme officers of the CAP project. MV Foundation provides the teaching staff. The camp is into its second year with additional 400 children joining the camp, will be enrolled into regular schools in June 1999.

2. SKCV:

SKCV has three locations within Vijayawada. We spent a half-day visiting all the three centers. We first went to the Night Shelter where Krishna Prasad received us. Krishna Prasad, a former street child, grew with SKCV trust since its inception in 1987. He is completing his BA degree and is the chairman of the SKCV village management committee. He has an aspiration to become an IAS officer."If I do not make the mark, I want to become a government officer." says Prasad.The night shelter forms the first step for rehabilitation of street children. SKCV staff observes them for 3 months and if they show an inclination to lead a better life they invite them to the Children's village. On an average 70-80 street children spend their night at the Shelter. The Shelter also houses a computer center, health center, and vocational training center.

After that we visited the girls shelter a few blocks away. This center was started recently for the girls and has about 20 girls. They are attended by female social workers. After that we visited Prema Vihar Children's village on the banks of the serene Krishna river which was recently damaged by the floods. Prema Vihar is home for about 160 children. Prema Vihar gives the children a chance to get formal and non-formal education. More than 2,500 children have passed through Prema Vihar's gates. Along with formal education the children are provided vocational training in welding, plastic molding, tailoring and commercial art."We have the freedom to learn and do things at our pace as long as we do not inconvenience others," says Saleem, 17 a ragpicker who left home because his employer in a cycle-repair shop beat him everytime he made a mistake. The teenager is now preparing for his Class 10 examinations. Attitudinal changes like these equip them for a better life. "I will complete a Masters course in social work and work in the rural areas," says a hopeful Rameshwar, 18, who fled home because he did not want to join his truck driver father as a helper.

Today, several street children in Vijayawada have forgotten their darker days of roaming on streets purposelessly. The days of picking plastic cups on railway platforms or begging for food in trains or paying their hard-earned money to dadas are a thing of the past. For many years now, CRY have taken SKCV under their wing, and has helped to develop more and more programmes and Trust Corpus Fund through both their financial and academic assistance. The sincerity and excellent management of CRY is definitely ensuring that a multitude of smaller dedicated service organizations in the future will be able to perform their service to the nation's poor children better and more effectively through partnerships with CRY.

Note: Detailed information about CRY can be found at www.cry.org

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Customer Reviews:

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522 of 1046 people found the following review helpful:

   , Apr 13 2005
Reviewer: Latasha Graves

I would like to know are you guys are doing a camp over the summer for counslers. please just wirte back for i can know.


Thanks

Im 15 an im hust wondering.

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