Salaam Baalak Trust: Removing the ‘street’ from ‘children’
“The street is their home and struggle their life.”
With millions of children living on the streets, our country is home to a substantial number of homeless kids who struggle to survive each day. It is heartbreaking to see these young fledglings striving hard to have their voices heard. Once in a while an angel comes along to drive out their miseries and fill their lives with happiness. One such angel, changing the lives of these street children, is the Salaam Baalak Trust.
The Inspiration Behind
Founded by the acclaimed filmmaker Mira Nair, using the profits from her award-winning movie Salaam Bombay!, the Salaam Baalak Trust, founded 25 years ago, is a registered non-profit organization that understands the plight of the street children and seeks to foster their development. Amidst the dark streets, when you and I don’t cast a second look at those street kids, the Salaam Baalak Trust sees in them a potential to outshine the world.
Catering to the needs of hundreds of young minds, the Trust has spread its wings into the remotest areas of our national capital, aspiring for a better tomorrow for these vulnerable lives. It functions through 25 centers that provide these kids with long term and short term stay facilities. A dedicated team of 150 members, headed by a group of 6 trustees, has been the sole determinant for the heightened progress of these children.
Spreading their helping hand, the Salaam Baalak Trust started a child helpline service in 1998 – CHILDLINE – that seeks to provide help to the affected child within 60 minutes – ranging from emotional support to physical protection. Children found in the childline a friend they could trust and open up to, sharing their dark horror-filled experiences without the fear of being judged.
The Salaam Baalak Trust envisions a society built on the ideal of social inclusion – where the most neglected and vulnerable are accepted as a part of the mainstream. The Trust provides these young lives with a range of platforms to showcase their talents and realize their ultimate goals. The children are not only provided with a roof over their heads but also support in healthcare and education. The children are encouraged to take up various performing arts to complement their abilities.Just like you and me, these kids also deserve to be treated with dignity and respect – for they are as much citizens of our country as we are. The Trust acts as a guardian angel watching over these hapless street children who otherwise may have no one to call their own. It provides these young lives with a range of platforms to showcase their talents and realize their ultimate goals. The children are not only provided with a roof over their heads but also support in healthcare and education. The children are encouraged to take up various performing arts to complement their abilities.
Spreading their helping hand, the Salaam Baalak Trust started a child helpline service in 1998 – CHILDLINE - that seeks to provide help to the affected child within 60 minutes – ranging from emotional support to physical protection. Children found in the childline a friend they could trust and open up to, sharing their dark horror-filled experiences without the fear of being judged.
The concept of City Walks by the Salaam Baalak Trust has been a visionary initiative, where a guided tour of our capital is carried out by the kids who once lived on those very streets they now tour.
The City Walks give the tourists a chance to view the streets through the eyes of those who once had no other place but those very same streets they called home. Every child has a different and unique story to share about their past street life. It fills them with joy when people take a genuine interest in their stories, enabling them to share in the sense of recognition and pride.The organized and steady income assists them immensely in moving away from human predators and a precarious life on the edge.
The journey of the Salaam Baalak Trust towards a revolutionized India has been a bumpy one, with new challenges popping up at every turn. With the number of children increasing by the day and high inflation rates, the Trust at times finds itself acutely short of funds. Nonetheless, the Salaam Baalak Trust has never compromised on the quality of life of the kids they take under their wing, even if it means working double shifts without pay.
And yet, the Trust rallies on. Huge fund-raising events are undertaken to ensure the trickle of funds doesn’t freeze up – from featuring artistes like Shubha Mudgal and Astad Deboo, to organizing charity golf events.
For those millions of homeless street kids, the Salaam Baalak Trust becomes family – a home they never had. Every young fledgling that enters the Salaam Baalak Trust family is nurtured with the same love and affection each child deserves. At the Trust, it is about making each dream come true. Despite the various roadblocks, the team has successfully brought happiness and joy to the lives of over 50,000 street kids till date giving them a flicker of hope – lighting up the path to their dreams!
How can you be a part?
Donate, volunteer, shop, orsign up for their unique City Walks.
Take a look here: salaambaalaktrust.com/how-to-help.html
She loves to write on topics of social interest.She finds her passion in dancing. She is an avid reader with an inclination towards research journals.
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