Education is given utmost importance in our approaches. Workers try to enroll children in formal schools as well as in non-formal educational classes taking place at the centers. Support in terms of study classes, uniforms, stationery, shoes etc. and regular interaction with teachers of the formal schools is an ongoing activity. Children who need extra coaching are provided the support through sponsored tuition classes. Many of our children pass 10th std. and go on to study further in various streams while working side by side. Visits to schools are a regular feature of work planning of Vatsalya's team. They keep close follow up of how the children are faring in studies and other activities at school as well as to ensure that they are treated with respect and dignity.
Children need nutritious food apart from safe and open environment for their full growth. Children also require medical attention for minor infections and illnesses. At Vatsalya we provide breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner at the Shelter Home while lunch and snacks are served at the centers. Children at the Shelter Home, centers as well on the streets are given first aid or are referred to hospital or dispensary as per requirement. Medical Camps are organized in collaboration with other organizations. Besides, Yoga and meditation sessions are regularly conducted.
Counselling is an integral part of all approaches of work with children at Vatsalya having the objectives of helping children deal with their emotional problems, bring positive change in their behaviour and motivate them to study and learn various skills. However, the Professional Counsellor engaged by the organization regularly conducts counselling sessions for children referred by the workers.
Through art & craft activities the younger children learn mind-body coordination and develop capacity to pay attention while for older children it opens up opportunities to develop vocational skills that may become a source of income. We imparted training to 70 children in skills like computer operations, gardening, jari work, beautician, bead work, mehendi drawing, hospitality, tailoring, dance, and sewing. Vatsalya teachers and volunteers conducted most of these trainings in-house. The children going to formal schools at the Shelter Home have the option of learning basic computer operations.
Expressing one's thoughts and feelings in writing comes naturally to many children at Vatsalya. They are able to write small pieces of writings - stories, essays, poems or their views on different aspects of life in a coherent manner. In addition, a few are also able to illustrate the thoughts expressed the piece of writing through drawings. The exercise when facilitated in a systematic way results in a hand-written book, written, designed and edited by the children.
Dance, music and theatre are our forte. Our children enjoy performing dance and music performances at various events like Birthday Party, Sneh Milan (Foundation Day), Diwali, Ganapati Festival, Durga Puja, Christmas Party etc.
Capoeira, a Brazilian martial art, was introduced by the group 'Cordao De Ouro' to the children of the Vatslaya. Capoeira uses music and dance in its quick and complex moves, which is a delight to watch. The group conducts practice sessions twice every week with about 20 children. The sessions include learning of the Brazilian music instruments like tabaki, pandhero, birimbao as well as singing. The children learn the art naturally and benefit from it in many ways. According to the group, the boys practicing Capoeira develop fluidity, speed, accuracy and grace in all their activities in life. Each child learning Capoeira is given a name according to his unique characteristic. Anil, a student of std. 8th, is named after his long legs as Pernalonga. He says that Capoeira inculcates self-discipline in him and makes him proud that he could learn and perform the martial art. Avinash who has been given the name Cobra says, 'I can learn singing and I can build my body at the same. It is fun to learn Capoeira.' Avinash is a student of std. 7th. The children have performed Capoeira on stage and have completed the first level of Capoeira and are proud owners of the Green Belt.
The skill training project in culinary is also a catering service at the Shelter Home where visitors can sponsor meals for our children on special family occasions like birthday, death anniversary etc. The boys at the Shelter Home help the mavshis (cooks) in preparing special meals and learn the art of cooking. Some of the boys opt for a professional course after they discover their liking for cooking.
The gardening project encourages boys to be in touch with the nature and respect it. The plants and trees around the Shelter Home are taken care of by the boys under the guidance of a trained gardener while gardening provides a therapeutic effect to them.
To let the children and youth realize their in-built potential, we provide them with skill training. They learn skills like making, purse, bag, candles, rakhis, book marks, files, diya painting, wool work etc. They feel gratified to see their own talents and aesthetic skills. The articles made by these children are put up for sale at exhibitions.