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Help Swakshatra Save Children from Danger

Some of us Ex-Indian Army Officers, along with other concerned citizens, have started a Trust called Swakshatra, with a broad based mandate to work for the welfare and safety of Children and Women.

 Swakshatra, a word of Sanskrit origins, means Innately Strong and Self Powerful. This is our vision for every woman and child, and we seek to work towards this vision, primarily by engaging in Child and Women Safety initiatives including Anti Human Trafficking activities.

Towards this mandate, we have the following programs undertaken by Swakshatra:
Program 1: Short-stay Shelter for Girls at Risk, in the age group of 6 to 16 years, intended to house high-risk profiles such as victims of child sexual abuse/ assault, victims of various forms of trafficking, children rescued from streets, children rescued from various forms of neglect and any situation that may inhibit the exercise of basic child rights.
Program 2: Training in Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Awareness and Women Safety.

The Short-stay Shelter mentioned above, has been commissioned with effect from Apr 2016, and with effect from Jun 2016, we have received various risk profiles of girls routed by the Child Welfare Committees.

It is for this Short-stay Transit Shelter, that I seek your support. Our operational expenditure to house 12 children is approximately Rs 1,00,000/- per month.

Over the last one year, we have successfully moved into long-term rehabilitation, 6 children. Presently we have 10 children at our Shelter, whose short-term rehabilitation is in process.

A broad breakup of this cost per month, is as below detailed:
Facility rental, utilities, staff salaries, conveyance, office expenses, incidental and miscellaneous - Rs 58,000/-
Food, essentials and medicinal expenses for 12 child beneficiaries and 2 caregivers - Rs 42,000/- (at Rs 3,000/- per individual per month)

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15th February 2018
Dear Supporters,

Swakshatra Trust celebrated its second Birthday on 08 Feb 2018. The shelter got commissioned in Apr 2016 and has witnessed an ever growing stream of rescued girl children since June 2016. Since, October 2017, Swakshatra has also forayed into long term rehabilitation of some children.

Below is a brief update about the developments and achievements under the two Programs of Swakshatra Trust, namely the (i) Swakshatra Home for Children Program and (ii) the Safety Training for Women and Children Program:

  1. We have impacted so far, under short and long term rehabilitation and reintegration initiatives, a total of 30 child beneficiaries till date, since the inception of the Swakshatra Home for Children.
  2. We achieved our first year completion milestone of expansion of housing capacity, from 12 children, to 25 children.
  3. We were successful in securing a landmark ruling from the Honourable Supreme Court of India, permitting a Medical Termination of Pregnancy in a victim of sexual abuse, at 26 weeks of pregnancy.
  4. With the help of crowdfunding through Milaap Social Ventures and the blessings of our patron, Mr. Ray Umashankar of Asset India Foundation, we were able to raise sufficient funds to develop the open terrace on our Shelter facility, into a closed, grilled enclosure with roofing and cross ventilation, thereby making this space available for a host of activities including remedial literacy and all our extra curricular activities, throughout the day.
  5. With our family of ever growing volunteers, we rolled out during this period, activities for children to include Dance, Yoga, Gardening, Spoken English, Cookery, Martial Arts, Music, Sketching and Painting, Mehendi and Crafts.
  6. We revamped our remedial literacy approach, again thanks to some of our volunteers, with improved output.
  7. We have conducted 4 Child Sexual Abuse Awareness Programs for children from various strata, impacting nearly 150 child beneficiaries and a majority of their parents.
  8. We have conducted 6 Personal Safety Workshops for women, thereby impacting nearly 250 individuals.
  9. 4 of our present strength of 17 children are school ready, and attend a nearby aided Kannada Medium School, while 2 more kids who are school ready are being home tutored in English Medium, in preparation for the upcoming 10th and 2nd PUC examinations during this academic year. The remaining kids are under remedial literacy initiatives, aimed at enrolling them for the NIOS exams at various levels, due in Apr 2019.
  10. A Tailoring Skill Development Centre has been sanctioned to us by Rotary Club, with a provisioning of 3 sewing machines. These machines should reach us by early March 2018.
  11. We have also received a grant from a donor, to commission a Baking Skill Development Centre, which will impart vocational skills to kids in Bread-Making, Cake -Baking, and Chocolate - Making. With the above stated last two developments, we have made a foray into the much needed 'vocational training' layer for our kids. The Baking Skill Development Centre is pitted to be commissioned by the end of this month.
  12. We did face some trials and tribulations in the area of Trauma Management, with some kids with severe trauma backgrounds being assigned to us for care and protection, and with these kids now bordering on psychosis as a result of the trauma. Hence we have made serious attempts at improving our trauma management know-how, with the support of Organizations like Enfold India and APSA,  State entities like the Child Welfare Committee and Academicians from the Western Michigan University, USA.
  13. Our next milestone, is to emerge as a 'Best Practice Model' for Post Trauma Care for certain high-trauma profiles. This, we seek to achieve by the end of 2019, and are presently engaged in developing metrics and measurement criteria for Best Practices, in consultation with the Western Michigan University, USA.
  14. Last but not the least, and possibly our biggest achievement so far, is garnering the support of our ever-growing, village of supporters. One of the advocates who worked on the Writ Petition with the Karnataka High Court, as a first process step towards the Supreme Court case mentioned earlier, once told me, that 'it takes a village to do what we do in this attempt to ensure a better childhood for our kids', and we are proud to say, that we in the last two years, have garnered a village of supporters for our kids. 
Our thanks to all individuals instrumental in bringing us to this milestone in our journey.

Your contribution towards creating the roof top Activity Area for our children has added immense value to their life at the shelter.

Sharing with you the pics of the Activity Area in its present avatar. Also, adding snaps from the following two morale-boosting events held there in October 2017 (Sorry, for the late update):-
(a) Goldman Sachs employee engagement programme for the children
(b) Visit of our mentor and patron, Mr. Ray Umashankar from Asset India Foundation.

Please continue to support us in our endeavors.

Warm Regards
Maj Bhavana Chiranjay, Retd
Executive Secretary
For Swakshatra Trust

Your support is our strength...

11th November 2017
Justice for our Child at Supreme Court:

This August, a child victim of sexual abuse, who was pregnant and had crossed the legal deadline of 20 weeks for Medical Termination of Pregnancy was put under the support of Swakshatra by a Child Welfare Committee at Bangalore.

Apathy of the system had brought us to a juncture where we were left with no choice but to file a writ petition against the state in Karnataka High Court to permit the MTP under exception, a move that created a lot of friction with the government agencies. We lost the case at the High Court due to inconclusive medical opinion by experts.

However, in the process, we found a crusader of a lawyer, Aarti, who worked pro bono for this case and got her entire network of friend lawyers involved in the fight. Thus, we could appeal to the Honorable Supreme Court with fresh medical opinion- all thanks to the selfless support of Aarti and her team.

Finally on 21 Sep 2017, the Supreme Court bench, headed by CJI, pronounced a favourable judgement in the case enabling the child victim to undergo an MTP under specialist care.

6 weeks of relentless pursuit by Bhavana against an apathetic system finally brought justice to the child, who is now recuperating from the set back and planning her future.

Another positive outcome is the initiation of the process of judicial reform to prevent procedural delays in such cases which compromises a child's life and well being.

Let us hope that the provision for a standing medical commitee for expediting expert opinion in such cases gets implemented at the earliest.

The case is covered in the news link below :-
12th September 2017
Dear Supporters,

Please find images attached in connection with the previous update.

Thank you for the support.
raised of Rs.100,000 goal

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Beneficiary: Swakshatra Shel... info_outline
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