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Home > Discover Mumbai > NGO Watch
  NGO Watch


 Shelter - a lamp of hope 

Street children at ShelterShelter Don Bosco, a part of the Don Bosco group of institutions, was started in 1987 with a vision to reach out to the vulnerable runaways on the streets, so as to empower them with functional education and skills training, and to integrate them into society.

Talking to Mumbaibest, Fr Xavier Devdas, the Director, said, "Shelter has grown over the years. Today we have 13 different projects under Shelter, only for the street children, the rootless and the roofless. Shelter is about how much society can reach out to underprivileged children." Commenting on the response of the children, Fr. Xavier added, "The response is overwhelming. Slowly they have begun to confide in us. We can see the willingness in them to learn and we are helping them."

Street children at Shelter's melaShelter organises a monthly mela on the 19th and 20th of every month for street children in Mumbai. On November 4, 2000, Shelter arranged for a grand celebration for the street children on the eve of Diwali, where around 1000 children participated, attended workshops of art, handicrafts, culture and showcased their hidden talents. One of the children who has had a 5-year association with Shelter said, "Shelter provides us with a platform to display our talents. They come to us and make us feel needed. The sisters and volunteers here are very good. They help us to study further."

Shelter has a drop-in centre at Dadar, where street children can drop in if they need any emergency help, a 24-hour open house and residential programme at Wadala. One of Shelter's projects is directed towards non-formal and value-added education.

"Depending on the aptitude of the child, we channelise his skills. We do not force anybody, we only take them when they show us their interest in such programmes", said Sharon D'Souza, one of Shelter's project managers. When asked about the age of these children and their response to Shelter she added, " We take children below 14 years, so that we can groom then educationally and at the same time, make them competent in any para-technical work. We give them free education till class five and then, if they show interest, we encourage them to go in for open school education."

Shelter also has programmes for the settlement of grown up boys in society , the deaddiction and rehabilitation of street drug addicts, and an HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention programme. Their next project, which is in progress, is Street Community College. With proper, guided and supervised training, the College empowers street youth to reach out to other street children with a one year through para-professional social work training.

A small part of the funds for Shelter is generated internally and the rest comes from different fund raising programmes.

Commenting on the attitude of the general public, Fr. Xavier said, "Society considers these children as a problem, but I think they are victims of our neglect. Why should they suffer for our mistakes. We are trying to reach out to them as much as possible because these neglected children, if not nurtured properly, could become tomorrow's criminals. Today, people think donating money is the end of their duty. Not so, you should come, interact and spend time with these children. They also need your love and care. Your few words of love can light a lamp of hope in the life of these children".

Address: Shelter, Opp. St Joseph High School, Wadala(W),
Mumbai 400 031
415 0562 / 460 3988

By : Sharmistha Chakraborty
Photographer : Vinayak Prabhu

µ Comet Media Foundation
µ Cancer Patients Aid Association
µ Giving a child a loving home
µ Celebration of the senses
µ Concern India Foundation
µ Make A Wish
µ Adding life to days with love
µ Eldred Tellis
µ Mother Teresa's roses
µ Association of Youth for a Better India
µ ICICI Providing a helping hand
µ Shelter Don Bosco - a lamp of hope
µ Akanksha - Bringing a smile to every face
µ The Spastics Society of India
µ SMILE - A charitable organisation with a purpose.
µ Vipula kadri
µ Bombay Natural History society
µ  NGO Listing