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INDIA: Childline hotline responds to street children in crisis and connects them with child protection services


(MissionNewswire) Salesian staff with Bosco Delhi, through the Don Bosco Ashalayam Center, operates Childline in the South West district of Delhi. The Childline hotline is available 24 hours a day at a toll-free number for street children in distress. Salesian staff works tirelessly every day of the year to ensure the rights of the children in need and give them special care and protection.

The Childline team responds to the needs of street children in crisis situations. Salesian staff works with police, healthcare, juvenile justice, transportation, legal authorities and the media to create awareness on child rights and provide child protection services.

Once children connect with the hotline many then receive services through Don Bosco Ashalayam Center, which offers a range of programs for disadvantaged youth. Reaching out to street children and others, the organization offers emergency assistance, shelters, schools and vocational programs. Additional outreach programs help to meet youth on the street where they are and offer them a fresh start in life.

Youth are able to visit the program and engage in social and educational activities, as well as receive support and meals. Through educational activities and games, youth also receive important lessons in terms of personal hygiene and sexual health, self-esteem, fears and substance abuse. Through these activities, some youth decide they want to formally enter one of the Don Bosco Ashalayam centers to live and study.

Don Bosco Ashalayam has provided shelter to hundreds of children, admitted many in schools and provided facilities to those children who are transferred to other programs in India.

“Salesian missionaries in India are working hard to rehabilitate street children and restore their childhoods,” says Father Mark Hyde, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “The first challenge is building awareness of the issues and ensuring that children have the information they need so they can access Salesian programs. Many take for granted having a safe place to sleep, enough food to eat and access to medical care. Salesian missionaries recognize how critical it is to meet these basic needs before expecting youth to be able to focus on education.”

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a new report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.



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