Wednesday, July 22, 2009

THARA-The Home for Anawim Rest and Awakening

I(along with my friends) visit some NGOs on weekends. From this time onwards, I'm thinking of providing the details of each NGO that we visit.

We visited THARA, a home for the street children in Secunderabad, last sunday. Fr. Jose Mathew, SJ established THARA a few years back. We spent sometime there and met Mathew to know his motivation to start THARA, objectives of THARA etc.

Motivation to start THARA:

Some people generally look at the street children and say that they are dirty and don't let them come near. Most of there street children run away from home due to various reasons. Broken families, stepmother.s ill treatment, and alcoholic parent.s ill treatment etc., cause many children to run away from their families. And some parents force the children to leave their homes due to utter poverty.

Aims and Objectives of THARA:
  • To rescue and protect the children found on the streets
  • To build up an atmosphere of a family
  • To provide counselling and guidance
  • To provide social support and to build a positive image of street children among the public
  • To defend the rights of the child
  • To provide rehabilitation. What we do here is not charity but ensure the child his or her rights. Therefore the goal is the holistic growth of the child in to a fully human person

And this is what they do to reach their aims.
  1. Three of their staff go to the streets and railway platforms etc at different times in a day.
  2. They are in touch with Local police station [Gopalpuram], and the Railway police. They inform the police about the finding of the child.
  3. Efforts are taken in different ways to reach the child back to family. Many children were accompanied to reach home. Many parents were called to THARA to receive their children after contacting them over phone. These reunions are the moments of deep joy for the parents and the children.
  4. They give counselling to the children to be in reunion with the family members. The parents of the child is also given counselling and guidance. A follow up is made even after the child reached his home.
  5. The children who are addicted to drugs etc and who are in need of medical attention are accompanied with special attention.
  6. Bridge course is being conducted for the dropouts to join in the regular school.
  7. The children below fifteen are attending regular school. They are admitted in SPG School and Islamia School . Right now, fifteen of them are going to school. A few of them are admitted in English medium. Children are given special coaching when they are back at the Centre from the school. Many of them shine in the academic pursuits, scoring first, second or third rank in their respective classes.
  8. The children above fifteen are being sent to different places to acquire different skills like, automobile mechanism, driving, tailoring, house keeping, and hotel management, etc.
  9. Children are trained in music and dance, drawing etc. During summer holidays selected boys get the opportunity to learn musical instruments, dance etc in Kaladarshini, in ANDHRA LOYOLA COLLEGE , Vijayawada .
  10. Regular spiritual and physical exercises are part of the daily programme.
  11. Entertainment programmes, cultural events, picnics etc are part of the weeklyand monthly programmes.
  12. St Patrick.s school ground is made use for the games and other activities. The coaches of the school give coaching for the boys in cricket, football etc. THARA boys bagged many prizes when LOYOLA ACADEMY conducted tournaments for school children.
  13. Birthdays and all religious and other festivals are celebrated with due importance.
  14. Children who study at the high school level are motivated to join in NCC. This is to imbibe the spirit of patriotic love for the nation.
  15. The children are initiated and motivated to gardening and identifying the medical plants in collaboration with the municipal corporation. Create an awareness of eco-friendly relation ship.

Formation of street children demands different types of ambience and requirements. The child has to be shaped through different stages of growth, formation and liberation. This is visualized in four stages. Each stage needs to be taken care of independently. They could be divided in the following phases or stages:

Phase I: Drop-in Centre:  The children, who live on the street adapting themselves to the culture and life-style of the street, are brought in here first. These children are taught to learn quite a few simple lessons about cleanliness, regularity, and habitual ways of doing things. This is a kind of a nursery stage where, the child is trained to be steady, regular and disciplined.

Phase 2: De-addiction center: The children on the street are exposed to the elderly people who are addicted to smoking and drugs. These children easily imitate them and become addicted to these intakes. So they need to be taken care of closely. Provision for de-addiction programmes, counseling, meditation, yoga etc would enable the child to come back to normalcy. An atmosphere for this kind has to be created specially at this stage.

Phase 3: House for formal education:  Once the child reaches the normal behavioral pattern, time has reached to put him back to school. The child has to go through a bridge course before put into school. At this Centre, provision for helping the child to learn with the assistance of tuition master is required. An atmosphere of quietness is to be maintained. At this stage, motivation for bringing out the hidden talents and engaging them in to extra-curricular activities would give them a boost for living their childhood in a meaningful way. Here a routine timetable for school days and holidays to be followed. The age group would be below fifteen at this Centre.

Phase 4: House of learning technical skills: At this centre, the age group will be above fifteen. From here, the children would go out to learn different skills. There are many possibilities to learn different skills within two kilometres radius. Their timetable would be different from other centres. They need more relaxation when they are back at the Centre. Their thinking pattern would be different from other children. A follow up is needed here so that they do not fall back into their previous deviant behavioural patterns. At this stage, possibilities of suppressed behaviours could be expressive and hence violence could erupt. Therefore, a close monitoring is required, while giving responsibilities to them.

It was a great experience to talk to Fr. Jose Mathews and we thoroughly enjoyed the time with the kids.

So, next time when you see a child suffering on the streets, don't hesitate to contact THARA.

St Patrick's High School Campus
Andhra Pradesh
South India
500 003

Here are the photos taken during our visit.

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  1. A model of inspired education, Sunrise School strives to develop young adults who are confident, responsible and creative builders of their futures. Sunrise School will provide a challenging and inclusive education with an emphasis on the whole child and on learning in a cooperative, community-centered environment.

  2. [...] will be organizing lunch at THARA Ashram, Secunderabad on 20th September 2009. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Awasa [...]

  3. [...] at THARA Ashram By Srinivasarao We have successfully organized lunch at THARA Ashram, Secunderabad on 20th September [...]

  4. Hi Srinivas,

    Your note was an inspiring read. I felt joy on all the faces in the 150 photographs published. I was searching for a list of orphanages to celebrate my son's birthday and came upon your article. I think 'Thara' would be a great place to get my son and his friends to play, mingle and share a lunch on his birthday. I am planning to go meet and talk to Fr. Jose Mathew. I hope he will agree. Please do let me know of a contact number to reach him and ask for an appointment.


  5. Thank You Anupama garu,

    You can contact Fr. Jose Mathew on 9177776959. He will surely agree to share a lunch.


  6. [...] THARA – The Homage for Anawim Rest and Awakening. (More description can be found on the link : courtesy @vundavalli). I will be focusing more on my experiences here rather than telling about the institute. [...]