Beneficiaries involvement in TARA

In the four TARA Homes in South Delhi, involvement of the beneficiaries in the projects is encouraged. The children are directors of their own protection and education; they fully participate in the drafting of the rules of the Homes and in the definition of their rights and duties.

This page has been written on the basis of a workshop conducted with a social worker and a group of TARA Boys and TARA Girls.

What do we mean by child participation and empowerment in TARA?

"Expressing what we need and want without fear"

At TARA, each child’s opinions and feelings are valued. Each child is considered individually and all children above 6 years old are involved in the implementation of the decisions affecting them. After a few months in TARA, the children’s self-confidence increases through expressing their likes and dislikes as well as being encouraged to disagree with the adults, providing done constructively!

Some of the children regularly meet a child psychiatrist in Delhi, who works with a multidisciplinary team of therapists and educators to ensure an optimal follow up. This therapy helps the children express their wishes and desires without fear, to rely on their strengths and weaknesses, and to gain confidence in their ability to make choices for themselves.

"Deciding for ourselves"

In TARA Boys and TARA Girls, the children play a part in deciding how rules are implemented and regularly revise them. Designing and respecting the rules of their Home involves the children in their own protection and education. Children participation and empowerment are closely linked. By participating in the decision-making process in TARA, the children become stronger and their confidence grows. While they were often considered as just another mouth to feed in their communities, they know their opinion is listened to and respected at TARA. Eventually, they will be able to make their own choices and become independent young adults.

"If we don’t like an activity, we can tell the staff. It does not necessarily mean that the activity will be cancelled but at least our opinion will be taken into account, and if all the children have the same opinion it will influence the decisions of the staff"
Rashid, TARA Boy

What are the measures taken in TARA to encourage child participation and empowerment?

"Giving our opinion everyday"
  • In TARA Boys and TARA Girls, the children elect a Child Representative every semester who attends the weekly staff meeting.
  • The children define the rights and duties to be respected in the Homes, as well as the consequences if they break these rules. By contributing to the making of the rules, the children understand their purpose and are given the responsibility of enforcing them.
  • The suggestions and complaints of the children are actioned and then documented and circulated to the management team and trustees.
  • TARA counsellors and psychiatrist work together to build the children’s confidence. This is re-enforced by extracurricular activities (sport, music, art classes, outings in Delhi and beyond...) which allow children to develop new skills and knowledge.
"The feelings and opinions of the children are valuable. When they arrive in TARA, most children have often been treated as objects all their life; our partner psychiatrist in Delhi, Children First, helps us to restore the children’s dignity by acknowledging each child’s personality and helping them develop their potential"
Caroline nicknamed Basanti, Manager at TARA Boys
"It is not always easy for us to express feelings, this is why some of the children go to Children First (TARA’s partner child psychiatrist in Delhi)"
Soni, TARA Girl