Kalki Welfare Society
Circa 2008 - 2012 Archived Pages
Kalki Welfare Society was a non-profit organization working with vulnerable children in Pondicherry, India and other nearby areas. Established in June 2008, Kalki sought to provide better opportunities for street children and other marginalized young people by enabling them to access existing services provided by government and civil society. Kalki also plugged the gaps in these services to ensure that every child at risk was protected.
In the US we have similar programs that are utilize Federal, state and private funds. A year and a half ago I was conceptualizing with a friend about creating a website that would offer eyeglass lens replacement. My friend already had an eyeglass frame store and we were building a website to promote the frames. However, his problem with excessive drinking sideline the project until he finally found a program that was actually effective in helping get his drinking under control. I am so relieved, as must his family and other friends, that today, alcohol no longer controls his actions. He no longer has cravings that would lead him to drink excessively. When I learned about what he was doing, I was curious as to what this new approach was and how it worked for him, since I knew he had rejected the total abstinence, 12-Step programs that many residential treatment programs in the US and AA follow. That type of disease model convinces its victims that they have a chronic disease, leading many to believe that they will never be free. The treatment program my friend follows dismisses the idea that AUD is a disease. LifeBAC believes that with the right support, medication, and guidance, the cravings to drink can be reduced and brought under control. They do not even advocate that you have to stop drinking. The LifeBAC program that offers treatment with either the use of Baclofen or Naltrexone, two prescription medications that targets Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) by disabling the reward circuit associated with consuming alcohol, amazed me. Apparently Baclofen is a popular treatment for AUD in France and Australia. My friend had a LifeBac personal coach who guided him through the program. He set his own goals, and his coach worked with him to optimize his plan and made sure he stuck with it. Well, my friend got his life back and he is ready to go.
The eyeglasses website proceeded. It became an online store where folks could order replacement lenses for single vision, progressive, bifocal, and trifocal lenses, mail in their frames, and get their lenses replaced. I suggested that some of the proceeds be used towards offering eyeglass lens replacement to qualified low income people who would not otherwise be able to afford them. My friend concurred. We approached a local non-profit organization to see if we could team up with them to try out a pilot program.
I was inspired by what the Kalki Welfare Society was doing in Pondicherry, India and wanted to give back to my community in some way. Once we were able to find a reputable lens manufacturer we were able to proceed with the lens replacement website. We are now finishing up the free lens replacement program with our neighborhood non-profit organization. The future looks bright.
At Kalki’s community spaces, the organization offered health services, day care, remedial education and recreational activities, along with home-cooked food, and clean and secure shelter to help empowering those in its care.
However, in January 2012 due to difficulties with the Indian Inland Revenue department around receiving foreign donations, Kalki Welfare Society merged with Sharana, with another local NGO with similar goals and projects. Kalki’s programs, now integrated with Sharana’s own programs.
Go to: www.sharana.org/2012/08/kalkis-programs-come-under-sharana/
As a result, the domain, kalkiwelfaresociety.org, eventually expired since Kalki Welfare Society no longer had a need for its own website. When I discovered that the domain was available I bought it with the goal of restoring as much of its original content as possible from its archived pages. The Kalki Welfare Society did astounding work and I felt that it should not be forgotten. You can view this site in its historical context or go to the Sharana website to see the most up to date info regarding the social and development that this organization is doing in Pondicherry, India.
Welcome to KALKI
Kalki Welfare Society is a non-profit organization working for vulnerable children of Pondicherry and nearby areas. Since June 2008 Kalki has striven to provide a better opportunity to street and other vulnerable children living in very poor conditions, offering them the chance to become active players in their lives.
These children live on the streets of Pondicherry, where they wonder around all day in search of tourists and begging for money. They spend their time standing on roadsides, playing on the beach and sometimes smuggling goods from small shops. Some of them have been in school but dropped out, while others have never been enrolled. At night they might go back to their families on the street, where they are often exposed to all types of dangers.
At its community spaces Kalki offers home-cooked food, clean and secure shelter, health services, day care, remedial education and recreational activities to those children in need of care. Bringing a full-range of services to the children, Kalki aims to empower them and give equal opportunities to every child.
Kalki strives to cooperate with every organization, government agency and business in Pondicherry to ensure the best possible quality of services for the most vulnerable children. Our focus is on reaching the most marginalized children, enabling them to access existing services provided by government and civil society. We aim to fill any gaps in these services to ensure that every child at risk is protected and offered a chance for a better future.
"Kalki strives to provide a better opportunity for street children living in very poor conditions, offering them the chance to become active players in their lives"
Mission & Vision
Kalki’s mission is to provide protection and assistance to the street children of Pondicherry. We provide care, shelter, access to education, vocational training and recreational activities. We work with street children, their families and the local community to identify the best services available to each in accordance with their needs and aspirations.
Kalki believes in a world where all children are protected, have access to proper food, education and healthcare, a world where no child is left alone, is forced to work or beg.
We imagine a place where children can express themselves freely and live safely, in a community that cherishes them, a place where children have the opportunity to realize their ambitions and build futures free of danger. Ultimately, we envision a community where Kalki is no longer needed.
The ability to reach street children where they live and work has always represented a fundamental aspect of our work. Kalki views its centre-based activities as an extension of its outreach work on the streets of Pondicherry where the most vulnerable children and their families spend their days.
"It is crucial to understand each child's background and situation in order to work with them effectively"
Through our outreach program we are able to meet the families and children directly on the street. Our outreach team operates daily in specific areas and becomes the direct point of contact between Kalki and the children, their families, indeed the whole community. Confidence and trust is vital. It is crucial to understand each child's family background and situation inorder to work with them effectively.
For each child, our outreach workers create unique, tailored plans that are specifically prepared to fulfill their individual needs. These plans encompass the various services that Kalki and its partners provide, including education, recreation, vocational training and medical care. The outreach workers continually monitor the progress of the child, who can ask to revise the plan at any time. The child has constant access to senior members of the team in order to discuss any problems she or he may be experiencing.
The Drop-In Center is Kalki's main strategic program. It is the first point of contact with the street children and it caters to their immediate needs (medicine, shower, food etc.). With time, the centre then encourages the child into education or vocational training. It is located in the centre of town making it easily accessible. Children are welcome to drop in at any time between 10.00am and 5.00pm. This is important, as many children do not have fixed routines or schedules.
"The Drop In is the first point of contact with the street children and it caters to their immediate needs"
The centre has play areas and basic play materials like carom boards, board games, puzzles and a television set.
Only once the children regularly start coming to the drop-in centre are more structured sessions planned and slowly the educational classes can start. Finally, these children are entered into educational programs and are supported when they begin formal education.
Individual plans are prepared that manage the progress of the children and these are closely monitored by our social workers. Services provided:
- Games and educational materials
- Television and DVD player with cartoons/educational videos.
- Bathing facilities
- Full time cook and meals available
- Full time medical expert with medical equipment on site
- Immediate referrals to the nearby Clinics/Government hospitals for sick children.
- Regular dialogue with the children to motivate behavioral and attitudinal development.
- Drug/Alcohol Addiction Awareness, Sexual Health and Harm Reduction sessions.
- Ongoing monitoring of progress in terms of education, social and behavioral development and of their relationships with their families.
We provide referrals to partner organizations in the cases of children with special needs.
Kalki aims to provide a safe place for babies and young children from 9 am to 3.30 pm where they are cared for and kept away from the risks of the street. Thanks to Kalki¹s outreach team, children are identified and picked up by bus daily and returned home in the evening.
Children are divided in groups according to their age:
- 0 to 2: crèche
- 3 to 4: kindergarten
- 5 to 6: preschool
After reaching the centre, children are given a bath, clean clothes and breakfast by our early childhood teachers. Daily games and activities are organized for older ones, while babies can rest or simply play. Children in preschool are engaged in informal activities (educational games, drawing, music classes, basics of writing) that will help them once in school.
After lunch, kids can rest and play till it is time to go back to their families. Every evening Kalki¹s van drops them back to their homes, where a teacher makes sure that mothers are waiting for them. A full-time medical expert is on site providing any necessary care or referrals as required.
Education is key for every child, enabling them to become empowered, independent and to play a positive role in society. Only through education can children access better opportunities, plan for their futures and improve their employment prospects.
Kalki’s aim is to offer the possibility of learning to all children. Due to the complexities of the children’s backgrounds and the diversity of educational experience, Kalki has developed two targeted education programs:
The aim of the Back to School Program is to help children who, due to their circumstances have been forced to drop out of school, to go back to formal education. Through specially designed curricula and study plans children aged between 6 and 14 are supported in their learning and mainstreamed into Governments schools.
Regular monitoring ensures that we are able to keep track of their progress and we are also able to offer extra support classes if necessary. Further educational progress is available through scholarships, sponsorship programs and referrals. This program is designed to inspire and motivate the children to succeed.
Teenagers aged 13 and upward often feel that they are too old to study with younger kids and feel ashamed by their lack of formal education. Yet, they desperately desire to become literate and to acquire viable skills to secure safe jobs and build a better life for themselves and future families.
For these reasons, Kalki has developed a literacy course that offers these young people the opportunity to learn how to read and write, how to do basic calculations and develop their general knowledge. They are able to work together in a positive, inclusive environment, which for the first time in their young lives encourages them to strive to reach their potential.
Many children are on the streets because they must care for a younger sibling rather than attend school, have been asked by their families to beg or simply because they have nowhere else to go. For these reasons, they are simply unable to access the Kalki centres or local school. Isolated from education and without reading materials or games, many of these children become sick, remain illiterate and lack basic social skills - all of which serve to perpetuate the cycle of poverty and ignorance.
"Kalki has a mobile library van that takes toys, games and educational materials directly to the areas where the children live and work.."
In order to reach hundreds of these children, in the city and more isolated areas, Kalki has a mobile library van that takes toys, games and educational materials directly to the areas where the children live and work. It operates throughout the day and offers children most in need informal learning opportunities and a chance to develop some practical skills. Most importantly, it allows the children to play and have fun.
This program serves as a supplement to our outreach program by allowing us to link these children with Kalki's education program and allows us to develop a relationship with their families.
Shelter for Vulnarable Children
Kalki’s shelter program aims to provide overnight shelter and protection for children most at risk. Many of these children have been neglected or abused by their parents or do not have families at all and spend the night alone./p>
"We provide children most at risk with overnight shelter. The children are able to make friends and develop a sense of stability and normality, which until then they will have lacked."
At our centre, we provide children most at risk with temporary overnight shelter. Here they have access to all the basic facilities (food, water, sanitation, clothing, medical care, counseling and drug rehabilitation), they attend educational programs and are involved in daily activities, from sports and play, to helping with household chores. The children are able to make friends and develop a sense of stability and normality, which they have lacked.
Since the centre is not a long-term residential institution, Kalki starts building a plan for the future of each child from the moment they are admitted.
For children between 5 and 12, often the best 'exit strategy' is to access boarding schools (either run by the government or other organisations) once they have adjusted to a more structured life. Social workers ensure long-term follow up of children placed in such centres.
Children who have been abandoned will be placed in orphanages or other long-term institutions, in alliance with local authorities and/or the Child Welfare Committee. Again, we ensure regular follow-up monitoring.
In other cases, the best solution is still the reintroduction to their families once temporary problems or crises have been solved with the help of our outreach team.