These Youngsters Are Creating New Possibilities For Orphan Children Living In Shelter Homes

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Efforts For Good
Rafia Rahim

January 17th, 2018 / 10:27 AM

Images Courtesy: Guardians Of Dreams

Guardians of Dreams is an organisation that is working towards improving life outcomes for children living in orphanages and shelter homes in India. The non-profit organisation is working enthusiastically for the children in need. The Logical Indian had a conversation with two of its co-founders.

How the journey started

The journey started with exposure to a problem that the founders had at a relatively young age.

Two of them having co-founded their first organisation in their 20s, they worked extensively with 5000+ children across more than 80 shelter homes in 23 cities for close to a decade. It is through this exposure that the team gained an in-depth understanding of the sector and saw a critical need for an organisation focusing on the full gamut of childhood inputs required to produce positive adult outcomes for children living in orphanages and shelter homes.

As an organisation, they aim to design, implement and maintain effective, scalable child care systems. So, to bridge the gaps in childcare institutions, four youngsters – Gloria Benny, Sujith Varkey, Aditya Surneni and Mekha – founded the NGO Guardians of Dreams on August 17, 2015.

Gloria Benny, one of the co-founders, has been working with the children living in 80 shelter homes across 23 cities in India for almost a decade. “It was during the past decade that I got exposed to the problem and it is in this context and exposure that we decided to start Guardians of Dreams,” she said, adding that getting exposure in context to the depth on the scale of the issue of low-quality childcare was her primary motivation.

How they plan projects

Mapping and need assessment of shelter homes is one of the key activities through which they gain context to the challenges that the homes face. Guardians plan its projects based on the need assessment of shelter homes in the district. Based on their needs, they decide which project would be possible to work with the home for. They also organise workshops and events to generate the revenue for the children living in shelter homes.

“We link the donor and the concerned person through mapping or through our contact, we then share the contact numbers with the donor and in that way the process of donating takes place,” said Benny while talking to The Logical Indian.

Programmes run by Guardians of Dreams

Sujith Varkey, one of the co-founders said that childhood is considered to be the most important phase of life as it determines the quality of health, well-being, learning and behaviour throughout the person’s life. In this context, the organisation is aiming at to ensure a 360-degree holistic child care to every child in India.

“Every year per district, we renovate two homes, provide scholastic awards to 50 meritorious students and ensure the ID proofs for 500 children”, said Sujith Varkey. The organisation came up with few of the programmes for the shelter home children. The same are listed below.

Shelter Renovation: Leads to access to a hygienic and stable home which plays a major role in the health and well-being of children. Varkey said that under this program we renovate shelter homes to ensure basic standards of safety, sanitation, and hygiene and try to make them child-friendly. We try to reach to 300 children in 6 shelter homes this year.

Shelter Renovation program

Scholarship Program: Guardians of Dreams provide desires to improve the infrastructure and provide scholarships to the children by tying up with homes. Varkey says that the award of Rs 25,000 is given to per child who has achieved a good number of scores in their 10th and 12th class examinations. So under this program, the scholarship is basically provided on the meritorious basis to encourage children to continue their education or pursue their interests.

Scholastic awards 2017 for meritorious students.

Identity Program: The organisation is supporting children living in these shelter homes through the process of getting all the required ID documents, and creating a well-organised directory for them so that it will enable them to access their rights, benefits and pursue a dignified adult life.

Future plans

Currently, there are 150 volunteers working with Guardians of Dreams from Bangalore, Cochin and Chennai. These volunteers include employees from the corporate sectors as well as the college students, who enjoy dedicating their spare time to different related projects.

Volunteer team of Guardians of Dreams at a workshop

“Since childhood is considered to be the most important phase in life which determines the quality of health, well-being, learning and behavior across the lifespan, so our organisation is aiming to form a 360-degree holistic childcare plan to every child across 20 cities in India,” said Varkey.

He further added that alternatively when we look at the factors and efficiency of building our nation, there is nothing more effective like there is no change in the development. If we cannot provide shelter homes for children, we cannot build a society because kids are our future.

 If you wish to make a meaningful difference to the lives of the most vulnerable, sign up to volunteer at godreams.

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