Samparc India supporting orphans and children of sex workers

ProMosaik’s Denise Nanni and Milena Rampoldi  conducted the following  interview with Amitkumar Banerjee of Samparc-India which all began  with the very humble purpose of giving the orphan and destitute children of sex workers new identities and the opportunity to grow under the community umbrella. ProMosaik would like to thank Amitkumar for taking the time to provide detailed answers.

How extended is the issue of orphan children in your region of intervention?
As Social Action for Manpower Creation, SAMPARC is a renowned institute for the care of orphan, CSW, and other needy children, so that all well-wishers of children and the competent authority CWC (Child Welfare Committee- Government Body) prefer having children cared for by SAMPARC. Children are admitted in the district through CWC. Annually 3000-4000 children appear before CWC to get admission in 62 institutes recognised by government in the district of Pune, Maharashtra, with SAMPARC always being the first choice of all concerned people. NGOs operations are mostly based on their own fundraising. Shelter homes which are 100% aided and controlled by Government are run by only 3-5 staff members. Approximately 5000-6000 children are cared by volunteer organisations including SAMPARC  which has been actively involved since 1990. Most important of all is that SAMPARC continues the rehabilitation of the boys and girls even after 18 years of age for their higher education, employment and marriage.
SAMPARC has very limited resources in the district of Pune and can only admit 270 children of which 120 are girls and rest boys. Every year only 30-40 children get replaced through CWC.
In what ways do you identify the children that could benefit from your support?
During the past ten years the SAMPARC lost control over the admission of any children directly to its organisation. CWC made the decisions regarding the  placement of children in SAMPARC on the basis of the following criteria:
a.     Children in difficulty with the Police who have the CWC review and order their placement in institutions.
b.  Similarly by any public servant, NGO, volunteer organisation, Non-Governmental organisation, Social Worker or child himself, or any child referred by a hospital to the CWC for vetting procedure and placement.
In the district of Pune 10% are orphans, 15% are street children, 35% children of CSW, 2% are victims of trafficking, and 3% are abandoned, with the rest being the children of single parents who are mostly mothers — working as a maid servants or security guards — unable to take care for their own children; or children whose  fathers are alcoholics, in which case  concerned people approach the CWC and try to have them placed in suitable institutions for care and protection. All categories will be found in SAMPARC children’s Home. In fact, SAMPARC acts in accordance with the Juvenile Justice Act and follows the advice and guidance of CWC for the admittance of children to the institute. Sometimes they place physically challenged children which SAMPARC reschedule them with the help of CWC.
SAMPARC always ensures that children’s homes are operated by having the overall involvement of one adult per seven children which serves to create a tremendous positive impact in the life of the children. Apart from physical support, the children also get psychological support that enables them to remain confident both physically and mentally, and to remain healthy. SAMPARC believes in providing special education in math’s, reasoning, general knowledge, sports, drawing, painting, music, and cultural activities. Such tuition helps children to grow properly. They are also given various exposure visits and vacation trips. Food, nutrition, and medical support are provided which results in less disease and health problems.
In what ways do you support them?
SAMPARC believes that the people involved with the children should be primarily concerned with achieving good results for care and protection of the children. SAMPARC has established involvement of expert organisation such as the Miracle Foundation and other similar groups to work with the children, so that . . .
a.    Girls get sense a of independence, fearlessness, confidence, and can take leadership roles in various areas.
b.     Their health (HB), is properly maintained with water, sanitation, hygiene and food values are meeting the basic required standard.
c.      Children should be in a homely atmosphere where they feel their interests and basic requirement are protected.
d.     They are confident to express their opinions with girls and boys having equal status.
e.     They are doing their school studies properly and receiving the necessary support to overcome their problems in the SAMPARC Shelter Home. 
f.   A group of expert, qualified and trained counsellors act for SAMPARC Children’s Homes. SAMPARC is now extending the same benefits to other NGO’s for qualitative development and training on counselling to create benefits for another 2000-3000 children.
In what does your women’s empowerment project consist of?
SAMPARC women’s empowerment though initially started through active effort of SAMPARC personnel where women can express their desires and opinions while resisting torture, unhealthy environments and alcohol somas to improve the scope for growth. During the first ten years, it was a constant effort to develop self-help groups and to ensure that crystallised their efforts to achieve an organised approach. Consequently, a Co-Operative credit bank and about 187 self-help groups are now carrying out women’s activities.
Today it is a very natural for women to refer to SAMPARC Mahila Bachat Gat as their outreach leader in maintaining women’s groups that promote the interests of women in the Maval Block district Pune, Maharashtra. A very strong women’s group functioning as a natural force without having involvement of any political and religious views in their own activities.
There are lot of opportunities among the women and villages to develop comprehensive support programs in the area of leadership development in income generation — livelihood, agriculture, animal husbandry, village planning, and resource mobilisation. They need exposure visits and scope to learn from others.
How would you define your approach?
SAMPARC maintains two approaches, one is to follow the basic and statutory norms for care and development of orphan children and for students in SAMPARC schools, hostels. And the other is to mobilise communities in the field of vocational education of school dropouts, poor village people for medical support and health awareness, and women’s empowerment programs. The last approach involves lots of meetings and interaction at the village community level to identify target population/beneficiary. To intensify the approach SAMPARC organises various training programs that analyse annual operational plans and endeavours to understand the approach, the work, and the meeting program targets. SAMPARC considers the program should ensure . . .
a.     Maximum cover of village populations.
b.     That women and children are the main beneficiaries.
c.      Detail of the programs are known at Gram sabha/Panchayat.
d.     That SAMPARC women self-help groups should have consent.
e.     That a village person should be a signatory to operate the account.
f.   That a managing committee should be responsible for implementation of the project.
The above approach helps SAMPARC to make activities village based with training requirements being  implemented as and where required.