Adolescence is a confusing period in one’s life. Most of the time, we have no idea how to differentiate between right and wrong. It’s a time filled with rage and impulse. This is worrying because National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data shows that there has been a substantial rise in crime rate for juveniles. Rehabilitation is of utmost importance for them.
Nitika Nagar, a law-graduate, is providing juvenile delinquents with a second chance. While she was still studying, she, along with her fellow students, found Presthi. They were dedicated to the cause of rehabilitation of juveniles. While talking to The Logical Indian, Nitika says that “Presthi was a student’s initiative. The juveniles need proper care so that once they are released, they don’t go back to committing crimes.”
After her college days were over, she found the Healing Dove Foundation. It is an NGO that works for the rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents.
Rehabilitating juvenile delinquents
“Most of the juveniles come from underprivileged backgrounds, mostly from slums. They grow up seeing their alcoholic fathers beating up their mothers. They come from violence,” says Nitika. She added because of the abuse they see in their own homes, they start spending their time with friends. That is when they get involved in crime.
“Most of them fall in bad company. In their urge to get away from their families, they start spending more time with their peers. That is the time when they get into drug abuse and sometimes into drug peddling,” she says, adding that during these teenage years, staying with their family is more important, but because of the abuse, they get more attracted toward the outside world.
Nitika says that taking care of these teenagers when they come to the juvenile justice home is very important. “We conduct counselling sessions, vocational training. We talk about the importance of family with them.”
Data shows that most of the delinquents are often influenced by abusive parenting, peer pressure, and economic crisis. Lack of rehabilitation opportunities forces them to become repeat offenders and return to remand homes. She says it is important that they receive some kind of vocational training so that they can financially sustain themselves once they are out of the homes.
The Healing Dove Foundation
Healing Dove Foundation started as a self-funded initiative last year. Nitika explains how they now have their own HR policies, programme documentation and are setting up a monitoring and evaluation mechanism which most NGOs have. The foundation has been working with the first batch of 25 boys at David Sassoon Home in Mumbai’s Matunga. They have individual charts for every student. They don’t take more than 25-27 students in one batch so that they can give proper attention to everyone. She says that they even pull them out of Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) because the course and syllabus there is backdated and does not help much with employment.
“We make sure that the juveniles who come here are rehabilitated into better people, who can lead their lives with dignity. We make sure that they are employable,” Nitika says
She further adds, “Our work is not something out-of-the-box. It is just that there is a dearth of such organisations who take care of juveniles.”
The Logical Indian appreciates the journey that Nitika, along with The Healing Dove Foundation, has undertaken to make the lives of these young people better. We hope she continues with her initiative and more people follow suit.