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

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Return of the Jedi

Our hero, our great friend Emily Bild just came back to Delhi after nearly one year of absence. Emily, who used to volunteer at Tara, who wrote a national report on children working in mines, is now associated to UNICEF in Geneva. Here is what she observed when she came back to Tara:
  • On the whole, it was incredible to come back after 9 months and see the boys so happy and adjusted in their new schools and study routines. They seemed to have grown a lot in confidence (as well as in size!!).
  • I was particularly impressed by: the politeness and manners of all of them; the huge strides the small boys are making in their English skills; and the responsible and caring behaviour of all the seniors when I took them out for the day.
  • It is clear that they are thriving in their new school environments and I was pleased to hear most of them talking about the friends they have made in school (when I left last September, they were all still quite unsettled in their new schools and hadn't made many friends outside of Tara). This is a huge step, especially for the older ones who are adjusting to a very different routine and environment than they have experienced before.
  • The boys are going to cross 'class' barriers - which is incredible in such a rigid society. For example, the boys now love all sorts of things they had never heard of a year or 2 ago - Facebook, pizza, Harry Potter, Justin Bieber!! What really struck me, is that these boys are going to go to university and fit in - they won't face stigma for coming from residential care which is really remarkable and the only real way they will be able to achieve their career and life dreams.
  • In terms of the future, I think it's great that you're putting so much thought into long-term plans and I love the idea of Tara Tots and Tara Girls.
  • I also think one of the keys to Tara's success is the way the boys are so integrated into the community. Their integration into regular schools is vital for their social development and for their future success, and it's great that they have a steady supply of staff and volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds. It was even impressive to see them interacting and chatting confidently with shop-keepers around Tara and negotiating with auto rickshaws.
  • As I've mentioned before, I really think we have an exciting model that could be replicated elsewhere and think we should start to document this. Though I would be happy to help support where I can, as Tara continues (and will always) have a very special place in my heart.

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