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

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.

Monday, June 12, 2017

New school admissions for all the children

Education has been central to TARA’s model since it first started working on child protection in Delhi - when its first home for boys opened its door in 2008.

We strive to send every one of our children to the best possible schools for them – not an easy challenge, given that seats in good schools in Delhi are in very high demand (many parents put their children’s names down for school as soon as they’re born as competition is so high).

Until recently, some of TARA’s children remained in government schools, relying heavily on TARA’s in-house afternoon study programme to bridge any gaps which may come from poor quality teaching at school (one of the girls did not see her teacher for the whole of last year). We are thrilled to share that as of this month (the start of the 2017-2018 school year in India) every single one of the TARA children has now found a seat in a top private school, studying in English medium! This is a huge achievement for us and the result of many months of hard work by the staff, who have been busy identifying new schools, meeting principals and liaising with the Department of Education and even the High Court to ensure that every child is in the best possible school.

For some children in TARA Tots’ Home, the next school year will see their first steps ever in a school and they already received their new uniforms, which they wear proudly! We are glad that the bases of their education will be taken care of in these quality institutions. The elder children in TARA Girls and TARA Boys, who could not have been mainstreamed before in schools which would allow the full development of their potential, studied for months to prepare the entrance exams of their new schools. We are proud of their determination and success.

Thanks to the support and commitment of our whole team (staff, volunteers, sponsors…), all TARA children will now have access to the same level of quality education and their future looks even brighter with this latest development!

Though the hard work is far from over… The children will need a lot of support to catch up with their peers, especially with their English skills, so afternoon tuitions will be essential in helping them adjust to their new school environments. And whilst some of the schools give free or subsidised places to children from poorer backgrounds, for others high school fees have to be raised.

Help us ensure the best to the children by becoming a sponsor at TARA!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sunil steps out of the nest!

« I have spent only good moments at TARA and met amazing people. Pascal Sir really is a model for me, I am extremely grateful for what all he did for me. I try my best to follow his footsteps because it is very important that he is proud of me. It is impossible for me to define TARA in one word because it would not be accurate enough to sum up the eight years I have lived there. TARA is fantastic, magic and awesome at the same time…

I am proud of what I have become. TARA gave me important values which helped me become someone good. When I look at young people around me, I realize that many of them are not caring and kind, that they speak in a rude manner and like to party and to spend their parents’ money too much. As far as I am concerned, today I want to have a job and make a living.

My family is very proud of me as well. I come from a very small village in India where I am the only one to have studied. I became a role model for the community. »

This is how Sunil, now a young man of 20, speaks of his years at TARA and the new life which awaits him.

We still remember his first days in TARA, 8 years ago: his Hindi was hesitant and his English non-existent. He could barely read and write.
When TARA welcomed him, he benefited from a personalized tuition program which allowed him to be enrolled in school in class 6.

Since then, he has come a long way, learnt English and good manners and passed his 12th grade exam. He now works as a maintenance manager in a real estate agency specialized in housing for expatriates. He likes his job a lot and is eager to learn always more. He is in charge of carrying out the inventory of goods and checking that everything is working correctly.
In the beginning, it was not easy to take into account the requirements of his foreign clients but Sunil is now a confident young man who learnt how to get organized and assume his responsibilities. He manages a team of two people and his superior is very satisfied with his work.

He has just found a new flat which he will share with two friends. He will soon move in and leave the nest of the Big Birds for good! Exciting and tricky at the same time, the transition is not an easy step for Sunil… Even if TARA will always remain present in his heart, it is time for him to start his new life.

Sunil is the example of the impact that you, sponsors, have on a lasting change of lives. Your support gives the keys to TARA children to flourish and choose the future they deserve.

Spread your wings Sunil! The whole TARA team is very moved and proud to see you become a gentleman.

TARA, wish upon a Star

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Holi, festival of love and colours, is duly celebrated at TARA!

On Monday, March 13, 2017, the TARA Boys, the TARA Girls and a whole bunch of volunteers, staff members and friends of TARA gathered in Lodhi Garden to celebrate Holi, the famous Indian festival of colours.

This event traditionally marks the end of the winter and the beginning of the harvest, but it is especially for the children the opportunity to smear vivid colors on each other, to lounge in the mud and to use watering hoses as weapons of their revenge against the adult staff!
The children met in the morning in the large and shaded park of Lodhi Garden, armed with sachets of (organic!) colors and water pistols. Their faces did not remain unscathed for long, the game consisting of covering every centimeter of skin with rose, yellow, purple, green or blue colors until the children were hardly recognizable. The adults were not left behind and the multicolored faces soon drifted, following repeated attacks of sophisticated water pistols, fully emptied buckets of water and powerful hoses.
When colors and reserves of water were exhausted, the eldest children made a point of carrying the staff triumphantly and leaving them … in a huge pool of mud! That is a well-known fact: to get rid of the body mask that water and sun-dried colors for on the skin, nothing works better than a mud bath in the gardens of Delhi.

After this unconventional spa and the rematch by the staff, the stomachs started to groan and the snack prepared under the aegis of Coraline (director of the Guesthouse Bed and Chai and Supreme Organizer of Holi for TARA every year ) was warmly acclaimed. Biryani, nutella pancakes and toffees were swallowed within seconds; the digestion minutes that followed helped calm the game and allowed to take some pictures of this iconic celebration.

But the "hostilities" quickly resumed and those who were unfortunate enough to have washed their faces were the first victims ... The children are not novices, some had kept aside a few sachets of color so as to restart the game unexpectedly!

Finally, because a tatami is not worth a mellow lawn, the children competed in jiu-jitsu clashes where the TARA Girls confirmed their mastery in front of the adults, stunned by their agility, strength and technique. The TARA Boys were careful not to compete against them!
When exhaustion gained even the eldest and all the reserves were finally exhausted, the staff took over the authority they had conceded and gathered scattered shoes, accessories and children to go back to the Home where the rest of the day was spent trying to erase any trace of the colors which had covered everyone, from the root of their hair to the nails of their toes.

Finally clean, the children are already looking forward to next year ...

Surprise visit of Mr.Ambassador of France to India!