SHELTER, REHAB, TRAINING... GROUPS WORK FOR RIGHTS OF UNDER PRIVILEDGED KIDS
By Frederick Noronha
PANJIM Their work may hardly make it to the headlines, but groups campaigning for the rights and concerns of under- priviledged children are undertaking a wide range of activities, according to a survey done of those working in this field. There are a whole lot of groups in Goa working with slum children, migrant labour, children of sex-workers, and offering residential and boarding facilities for those deprived of them. Others work for 'differently abled' children, while there are groups also working with substance abusers, HIV sufferers, or offering educational and vocational facilities. This comes out from a mini 'resource directory' of people working in this field, put together recently by Childline, an organisation working to help children needing help. Organisations like Asha Sadan of Vasco, run by Sister Lourencia, offer primary education and vocational training, besides rehabilitation of commercial sex-workers. Jan Ugahi, run by Greg D'Costa near Margao's ESI Hospital, is into education, literacy, vocational training, awareness, health and group savings. Reggie Gomes' CRG (Children's Rights Group) of Panjim is intoeducation and awareness. ARZ or Anyay Rahit Zindagi -- run by Arun Pandey and Zarine Chinvala -- works on education, prevention, rehabilitation, recreation and identification of perpetrators. There are a number of organisations which offer residential and boarding to children and young people in distress. These include the Home for Destitute Women and Children at Quepem's Palacio de Deao, Mathruchaaya in Ponda, Nava Jyoti at Madel-Tivim which is run by the Sisters Adorers, St Joseph's at Tivaivaddo-Calangute, Arvind Society of Canacona, and the Shri Parshuram Vidyarthi Vasati Grah at Painguinim. To cope with the problems of 'differently abled' children, there are organisations like Fr Valmiki's "Daddy's Home", Gujarati Samaj's facility in Aguem-Margao, Manovikas' education for the hearing impaired, Lokvishwas Pratishthan of Ponda, St Francis Xavier's at Old Goa, Disha at Panjim and Peace Haven in Caranzalem. Asha Bhavan and Manoshanti of Bastora work with counselling and rehabilitation of children of alcoholics. There, the contact person is Ms Juliet D'Souza. Organisations working with HIV/AIDS include Positive People of Skylark Apartments in Panjim, and Ristha of Veigas Vaddo in Arpora, run by Sushila Mendonca. In the educational field, a number of small groups are offering medical, literary, open school, night school or non-formal education. These include the Nanu Nagle Slum School, run by Kristanand Desai opposite the Margao ESI Hospital, St Theresa's in Vasco, the 'Poti School' run by educationist Ms Joan Rebello, and even the prestigious Don Bosco's of Panjim which also has a night-school for the less-priviledged sections of society who could otherwise get pushed out of mainstream education. Other such institutions include the Franciscan Brothers' St Anthony's Boys Home at Duler (education and vocational counselling), Yuganayak of Assagao (boarding and education, run with an Ambedkarite philosophy), St Anthony's Girls Home at Verna, Missionaries of Charity at Panjim, Sisters Adorers at Nuvem, and Fr Agnel Niketan Orphanage. Many such institutions offer education and shelter. Carmel Jwala, run by Sisters Grita and Emila, is run at Shelim- Loliem in Canacona, and offers a boarding for single-parents, apart from supporting mentally challenged children and running a clinic. Government-run Provedoria in Candolim, the Corso Farm at Siolim, Don Bosco's Agro-Ed Complex in Sulcorna, and Don Bosco's at Tuem, along with the School for Appropriate Learning-Asha Deep at Vasco offer such facilities. To cope with the increase in problems, there are also family guidance clinics and counsellors now undertaking service in the state. These include Sangath, the family guidance and child development centre in Porvorim; Family Service Centre and Nirmala Niketan Social Service Centre at Altinho. While the latter two offer counselling, the first works on development problems of children. Other individuals doing such work include Dr Beryl Coutinho of Borda (psycho-educationist), Marianne Lobo of Margao, and Lucette Virginkar of Panjim (counsellor). Sponsorship, adoption and vocational training for youth is available from groups such as Asha Niketan of Nuvem, Palacio de Deao of Quepem, Jan Ugahi of Margao, Provedoria near People's School in Panjim, Nazareth Home of Pernem, Don Bosco Ganv in Quepem, Don Bosco's Crafts Institute of Loutolim, Don Bosco's Technical Institute of Fatorda and the Montfort Vocational Training Centre of Corlim. Organisations working with women that have been listed include the Bailancho Saad (legal advice), Bailancho Ekvott (intermediary, rehabilitation), Palacio de Deao (shelter, rehabilitation and employment) and atruchaaya (shelter and rehabilitation of orphans).