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

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.