The programme at a glance – Weekdays (Mon – Fri)
VYF’s flagship programme, Soup Kitchen, was initiated ten years ago in a single room located in Andheri, Mumbai. Like we had imagined, this was soup for our soul and for those hungry and homeless hearts drifting along the streets. As our activities scaled up, we realized the immense needs to intensify all efforts towards this project. These street children were not only roofless but also alienated from a civilized society, and lacked any concept of living as part of a society.
Non Formal Education
Social Awarness and Self Development
Value Education, Social Security and Confidence
Self Sustaining Skills
Age: 4-16 years, homeless, straight from the streets
Andheri, Mumbai opposite Versova Police Station
Street children require special attention. Around 20-25 children attend Soup Kitchen daily.
Most of them are children of beggars, indigenous toy makers, who are self employed in the suburb of Andheri. They live on the road, foothpath and beg at traffic signals. During monsoon they repair umbrellas. They disappear when the Municipality cracks down on them. Hence the Soup Kitchen project has always seen an unsteady movement of children. On any day the number of children could vary from ten to twenty-five.
As hard as it is for us to keep the children focused and engaged in our programmes, it is challenging to influence the parents, and impress upon them the urgency and need for such developmental programmes for their deprived children.
We involve the children in a wide array of workshops and activities, but considering most of them have never been to school, their learning begins from the basics – alphabets, numbers and words and works. Today, most of them can read and write their names & simple sentences.
Learning through creativity has proven to be a very effective tool for teaching street children. All concepts can’t be taught through books; hence, we organize weekly drawing, painting, craft etc. The children abhor any kind of rigidity in their learning process, so the use of puppets, flash cards, work cards, dominoes etc, draw their attention and keep them focused. They keenly look forward to activities where they get a platform to freely express themselves.
By reading stories to them and providing them a library of books to read on their own, we stir their imagination and improve their language skills. We also conduct general knowledge classes, to update them with the events happening in the world around them.
HEALTH, NUTRITION AND SOCIAL AWARENESS
Being constantly exposed to the unhealthy living conditions on the streets, the children suffer from a range of ailments, most of which stems from malnutrition. After the daily sessions conclude, we provide them with nutritional food so that they don’t sleep with hungry stomachs.
We also provide basic necessities like clothes, shoes, blankets etc.
Educating them on basic hygiene and healthy living is important to their well-being.
Teaching them basic values and etiquettes, and giving them information relevant to their social condition, helps them to integrate and communicate better with the educated society.
We also celebrate various festivals with them, with a view to unify them and teach them to live as one big secular family.
SPECIAL TRAINING AND LIFE BEYOND STREETS
Every Sunday the children are trained in the basic of computers
A child’s education can’t be restricted to the streets and within fourwalls of a room. He needs to see and experience the world beyond that. We organize excursions to the zoo, parks, beach, nature trails, boating rides etc. This is a refreshing break from their dismal and dreary lives, and it creates more awareness and makes the learning process inspiring.
We need to provide vocational training for the children, especially to those who are in their teens and are expected to earn a living to support the family. At this mpressionable age, they are most tempted and drawn to easier means of income – like thefts, robbery and other crimes. Engaging them in constructive activities before they turn into anti-social elements is of utmost importance. Currently we have classes in:
MEDICAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT
Currently we are unable to provide sufficient medical facilities to the children. Our aim to provide them with basic medical and psychological support with the help of:
A physician who can visit the Soup Kitchen children once a week, for a regular medical check-up.
A psychologist who can offer counseling to the children who are often addicted to drugs, alcohol, and other substances.
A yoga instructor who can take regular classes, for the mental and physical well-being of the children.
To improve the quality of our workshop, we need to bring in more professionals who can add their perspective and skills to our programs, in different areas like:
Arts, crafts and other creative workshop