Tara Homes for Children, NGO for street children in Delhi, India

Thursday, November 30, 2017

TARA Boys are moving in!

The TARA Boys are now living in a new neighbourhood.

They felt a little bit sad when they left their older house, the first “TARA Home” opened in 2008. Regarding the oldest, nearly 10 years have passed in the lively neighbourhood of Savitri Nagar. Years full of remembers which have sweetened their childhood.

In the past few weeks TARA Boys spent a lot of time preparing the move – very difficult duty with 19 boys – and they put in place a drastic organisation for that. The boys Manager Basanti had to be patient to put in boxes almost 10 years of life which, once bundled, reminded us how quick our NGO’s development had been.

The values advocated by TARA as mutual aid and solidarity were the leitmotiv during such a bustle and the commitment of all the boys and the staff is a stellar example. Some of them were melancholic but they felt comforted when they visited their future house. More spacious. Better disposed. With a beautiful garden. In short, this new house is in tune with 19 growing boys.

This time the page had been turned for sure.

Friday, October 13. After restoration works, the house opened. Once the excitement was over everything had to be arranged. In the wake of the bedrooms’ attribution, all the common rooms have been converted into work, relaxing and game space. New benchmarks had to be found and the goodwill of the Boys, fully dedicated to the task, made it easier.

This time has been memorable also because of the arrival of Shlok, previously big boy in TARA Tots. He is 9 years old and gradually acclimatizing to his vaster and more empowering new environment. Shloky, as he is often called, left the carelessness world to the modern and bubbling world. Now 20 boys are living in this beautiful house.

On October 20, TARA celebrated both the festival of lights Diwali and the house-warming party of TARA Boys. Everybody was here to celebrate worthily these two important events. The children acted plays very well and gave dancing performances. Everybody was united. All the stars were twinkling. While TARA Tots were already sleeping, TARA Boys and Girls were prolonging the night listening Bollywood music.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meeting of the Friends of TARA Friday 22nd September 2017

Many thanks to all those who came to our 2nd Friends of TARA evening. The meeting took place on Friday 22nd september in the pleasant surroundings of IPT in the 14th arrondissement in Paris. More than 70 people came to meet Pascal, Founder-Director of TARA, just arrived from Delhi to give us all the latest news from the 3 TARA homes. The clearly stated aim of the event was to ask the help not only of the participants but also all existing sponsors, to make the Friends of TARA family grow and recruit new sponsors.

TARA under the spotlight!

Pascal began the evening with a short presentation of TARA for those not already familiar with it, and then focussed on the amazing team of qualified staff who run the homes. He gave us some details showing how complex the task can be - not always easy to run three « homes » of 20 kids each round the clock. This was all highlighted by a series of short videos on everyday life at TARA, full of energy and emotion.

Sponsorship

A new video illustrated well our objective to increase the number of individual sponsors (as opposed to Corporate sponsors) in order to ensure stable and long-lasting financial support. Today TARA is financed 65% by corporates and the aim is to reverse the trend and have 65% of individual sponsors.


Participatory workshops


The first part of the event came to an end with a great family photo including all participants. Afterwards, the group divided into two, according to interests, in order to discuss different ways in which everyone can contribute to finding new sponsors. The aim was to promote exchange and allow everyone to have their say. All agree that the best Ambassadors for TARA are the existing sponsors.

At School…

On one side, Anne-Emmanuelle and Alice led the workshop called « How to bring TARA alive at school and with family and friends ». Lots of great ideas to raise money and raise awareness with our children : collect school supplies, organise a Show and Sale, exchange of letters between a class here and TARA children, a pancake or bake sale…

And at Work

On the other, Julien, with the help of a very moving testimony from Fabienne, had a closer look at the tools which can be used to encourage companies to support TARA: open the door of the Foundation or at least identify the right person to contact, talk to them about Microdon’s salary round-up scheme, meet the works council to organise a presentation of TARA to staff during lunch breaks, put up posters or leave brochures at the coffee machine.

Closing the event

We finished the evening with a delicious cocktail prepared by Catherine and Soline during which we were all able to exchange and get to know each other better. There were also some promotional TARA items on sale : mugs, magnets, books.

We really hope to be able to organise another Friends of TARA meeting another time and invite all the new sponsors you will have helped us to find!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

TARA super talented girls: debate competition


For or Against? Pick a side!

The weeks leading up to the debate competition involved a lot of back and forth between all the girls. From understanding what a debate is, to watching videos regarding their topics and even hiding their debate sheets from their competitors!

Finally after lots of practice on Saturdays and during English classes we held the Super Talented Girls - Debate Competition on 29th April ’17. Kamal’s sponsors were visiting that afternoon and graciously agreed to be the judges for the event. In their own words, they ‘had a very difficult time picking between the participants as all of them did a great job and the competition was very close’.

Though the younger girls didn’t participate in the formal competition, they did try to prepare a few sentences regarding the interesting topics each of them was given. This gave them a chance to explore something new and at the same time work on making sentences in English!

Meena helped her younger friends to understand by translating the debates from English to Hindi.

Here are some highlights from the 4 groups that did compete :

Do you have to be a good student to succeed in life ?

For the topic: Noorie – Against the topic: Meena

Noorie started off the debate with an informative discussion about what she thinks is the definition of a good student and how it goes beyond studies to qualities like listening, learning and working hard. She spoke about how Albert Einstein may not have been ‘a good student’ by the rigid definition of his school and was expelled but he was a good student of his subject which led him to success.

Meena continued the topic by elaborating on what success is and how that can mean different things to different people. With her varied examples including Bill Gates, Steve Jon, Richard Branson and Thomas Edison she was able to sway the audience into believing that being a good student wasn’t the only thing that assured success.

Should we be careful about how we use energy to preserve the earth?

For the topic: Roshni – Against the topic: Vanshika

Roshni started this section with talking about how electricity shouldn't be wasted. She spoke of how difficult it would be to do any homework without electricity at night or even print any of the fun pictures we always seem to be needing for different crafts and learning.

Vanshika did her best to handle the difficult side of this debate and argued one could always use their creativity and draw and that life would be more fun without electricity anyway. She gave examples of different games people can can play in the dark.

Though the topic was a little difficult for them to grasp, they seemed to have fun with it. This round was followed by a lot of questions from the judges and the audience which gave everyone a good chance to revise which resources are renewable and which are non renewable and how the electricity we use everyday comes mostly from the non renewable coal energy and in turn we must use it cautiously to preserve the Earth.

Should there be any zoos in the world?

For the topic: Kamal – Against the topic: Noorjahan

Kamal started the discussion very well by arguing animals in the wild have no guarantee of food, medical treatment and safety which Zoos provide animals with these advantages. In the wild, animals can be hunted for their fur and skin but at zoos they are given food, taken care of when sick and kept safely away from harm. This also prevents people getting hurt as they can safely see the animals.

Noorjahan spoke next and really got her audience involved by asking questions like “How would you feel if you were locked up away from your home and family?” . She spoke about how animals also want freedom just like we do and if we would just let them be and let them live in their natural habitats, i.e. jungles we could come to a peaceful resolution. She spoke against the unfair and inhumane conditions of captivity at zoos and was able to convince her audience very well.


Is it harder to be a woman in everyday life?

For the topic: Soni – Against the topic: Nandini

Soni started the topic by discussing how people perceive women to be less capable and how this makes things difficult for women in everyday life. She pointed out that she doesn’t see many women take up jobs such as police and army officers and how they are often not allowed to do everything they may want to do.

Nandini countered well by suggesting both boys and girls can go to schools nowadays and can approach any jobs they like such as posts in the government, army, police, etc and therefore it is not harder to be a woman these days.

This topic also led to a short informative discussion between the audience and the judges. We spoke about how things sure have been difficult for women over the years, all over the world and especially in our country but that shouldn’t discourage us and we can be whatever we choose and like. Both boys and girls should feel free to do what they enjoy doing.

Overall, the debate competition was a great opportunity for the girls to speak in front of an audience and try to outwit one another! Meena won the ‘Best Speaker’ prize while Soni, Noorjahan and Roshni won for their respective debate topics.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Environment awareness in TARA Girls and TARA Boys

Environment is a topic that is very important at TARA, both for the staff and the kids! From the beginning of the year, especially the girls have been following an Environmental Program designed by our social workers with the help of professionals and volunteers. The objective was to raise their environmental awareness and to adapt their daily behavior. Until now, workshops on environment have been conducted with Shibani, our volunteer who has a Master in Psychology from Delhi University.

A strong emphasis has been made on waste management (quantities of food are calculated every day depending on the number of people registered on the lunch/dinner’s list), gardening activities have taken place in the park opposite to TARA girls’ home and LED lamps have already been installed in TARA Girls.

This summer was again the opportunity to enhance their awareness, therefore, with the help of our wonderful volunteer, Alice, both TARA Girls and TARA Boys have transformed into an eco-friendly summer camp!

The kids break from school has been a great opportunity to develop the sense of art of the children, using recycle materials, and to discuss the importance of recycling and waste reduction. Vishal, Piyush, Rahul, Farhaan, Manish, Raj and Sachin have built a train with paper rolls and bottle caps, and Sanowar, Monika, Noorie, Sania, Simran and Shikha have created a cute caterpillar and beautiful butterflies with paper rolls.

The kids have also planted grass seeds in recycled yogurt pots. After watering the seeds for a few days, the grass has grown and given green hair to the characters drawn by the kids!

During the summer break, the boys have also watched the documentary « Before the flood » produced by Leonardo DiCaprio at the time he was the United Nations messenger of peace. This movie explains the issues of climate change and the different challenges our planet will have to face in the near future: global warming, sea level rise, pollution, deforestation… It also gives some solutions that can be implemented in our everyday life to protect our planet. During the viewing and the discussion that followed, the boys have shown a great interest and a very impressive understanding of the geographic, economical, and scientific topics that were developed in the movie.

On the next day, the boys have used their newly acquired knowledge for an « eco treasure hunt »: answering questions about climate change enabled them to find some clues, eventually leading them to their favorite treat (chocolates)!

The boys and girls have also prepared some fun posters picturing them holding the earth with the inscription: « The future of the planet is in my hands ». Unsurprisingly, all the boys have pictured themselves as super heros saving our planet!  With such cute and dedicated super heros, we can be highly optimistic about our planet’s future!

The summer holiday is over now but their commitment for environment did not stop there. The establishment of a compost is expected on TARA Girls’ rooftop and the recovery of water (from water filters) for cleaning the dishes and watering the plants should be planed soon.


TARA, wish upon a Star for a better world!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Rewarding experience of TARA’s volunteers

At TARA, we regularly welcome volunteers from all over the world to conduct activities with the children and we are always thrilled to see the wonderful work they are doing! Their commitment, their enthusiasm and their hard work help change the story of 65 children and bring joy and passion to their world. Today, we are also very proud to see that volunteering at TARA is a life-changing experience not only for TARA children but also for our volunteers themselves! Anne Désérable, former volunteer, tells us more about her experience:

«I first met the TARA Boys on a warm Wednesday night in the middle of the summer in 2014. Their energy struck me instantly, as well as this sense of brotherhood they had managed to create. I started coming every Wednesday after work, to have dinner with them and read stories to the youngest. After a year or so, I switched to Saturday afternoons and would bring all the boys to a park nearby to play cricket, or football, or whatever they fancied. As days, and weeks and months passed, I learned a lot about each one of them.

Throughout these few years, I've had the chance to witness significant changes in them. Some went from boys to teenagers, others became young men. By the time I left, little Raj had arrived from the Tots, Mohid had gained 50 cm, Rahul was still fearless, Manu could speak great English, Sachin was cheekier than ever, Sameer hadn't stopped smiling once, Ramu and Shyamu had embraced their big brother role, and so much more.

I remember this one afternoon I tried to organize something special for the boys but it failed terribly! It was on a very hot Saturday and instead of going to the park under the heat, I had organized a projection to watch the latest super hero movie. The minute they reached, we experienced a power cut, the video projector could not work, nor the AC or even the fans, and the 20 boys ended up watching the movie on the small screen of my computer, with weak sound and sweating like hell. I was so disappointed and embarrassed! But it's now a fun memory to remember and I'm grateful for their patience on this day.

TARA Boys, you are truly special and I'll never forget you!»

Being connected to well wishing adults, like Anne Désérable, is a fundamental need of TARA's children. Our volunteers really participate in the quality of our work.

Do you also want to join as a volunteer?

At TARA, the emotional stability of the children is our first priority; that’s why we require a minimum of 3 months commitment from our volunteers with the possibility to come on a regular timeslot. Volunteers must be at least 22 years old.

If you also want to experience a human adventure and you meet our requirements, just come knocking at our door and kindly send us your resume and a cover letter at tara@onyva.in


Bruno, former volunteer at TARA 6 years ago came back to TARA yesterday. Today he will join the TARA Boys for the football as he is now semi professional in the discipline in France.
Welcome back Bruno!

The TARA Tots went to buy fruits and vegetables for the cooking activity with the help of their volunteers Louise and Valerie and Monika their nanny.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Legion of Honour to Dr. Bharti Sharma

On 15th June 2017, TARA had the great pleasure to attend the ceremony which conferred the Legion of Honour (highest civilian French award) to Dr. Bharti Sharma, Chairperson of ONYVA (the NGO which conducts TARA projects) at the French Embassy to India.

This award from the President of the French Republic honours a long career committed to Child Protection and Women empowerment; Bharti’s many friends and colleagues were proud to share this moment with her.

Dr. Bharti Sharma holds a doctorate in juvenile delinquency from South Gujarat University. She has taught in the most prestigious Universities in India and abroad and was the first ever Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (Board of Magistrates who decides the placement of the children in shelters when the situation requires it) from 2003 to 2009. Since the creation of TARA, Bharti Sharma has been a mentor for our organization and her precious guidance was instrumental in our successful growth. She has been part of Onyva’s Board of Trustees since 2011 before becoming our Chaiperson in 2016. Dr. Bharti Sharma is also associated with various partner NGOs of TARA in New Delhi and dedicates herself tirelessly to the cause of women and children in India.

The magistrate shared her joy to see her commitment and work acknowledged before mentioning the extent of the progress still to make in our mindsets to consider the child as an individual with distinct opinion and desires. Her speech argued for a growing involvement of the children in the decisions which affect them and echoed TARA’s work, which commits everyday to give the 60 children it welcomes the tools to become independent and develop their potential fully.

Bharti Sharma stressed the importance of placing the women and the children at the core of decision-making processes and give them back the ownership of their lives. As an NGO, our role is to give our beneficiaries the tools which will help them fly their own wings, become responsible and independent adults and take decisions for themselves.

This process starts by taking into account the ability for judgment of the child and valuing it. At TARA, corporal punishment is prohibited and we base our education on communication and reasoning. We involve the children above 7 years old in decision making at TARA through the election of the Child Representative (in charge of defending the children’s interests and bringing up their requests), the establishment of the rules of the Home, the presence of complaint boxes… The children are encouraged to share their opinion and know that it will be taken into account. This allows them to increase their self-confidence and critical mind. When they grow up, these educated and independent young adults will be able to take decisions by and for themselves.

We are extremely grateful to Dr. Bharti Sharma for encouraging and enlightening us on this path since many years, and proud to see her work deservedly rewarded. We affirm our full support to the continuation of our common fight for social justice in India and know that her precious advice will continue to accompany us on this arduous path.