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INDIA: Toilets renovated to provide proper sanitation at children’s home

Ekalavya Children’s Home supports at-risk children and those living on the street


(MissionNewswire) Youth at Ekalavya Children’s Home, located in Rajahmundry in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, have access to improved sanitation thanks to donor funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm the Salesians of Don Bosco. The project was part of the Salesian Missions “Clean Water Initiative.” The home, which PARA (People’s Action for Rural Awakening) has been running for the past five years, can accommodate 50 children.

The toilets in the home needed renovation. The floor was starting to sink due to water leaks from the old toilets. Through the funding, 15 toilets were repaired in the building, ensuring proper sanitation for the boys and visitors to the facility.

The home was started to support school dropouts, rescue child laborers, and provide a home for at-risk children, those living on the street, or those who have run away from dysfunctional families. Ekalavya Children’s Home is a child care institution licensed under the Juvenile Justice Act. Every home for children at risk needs to be licensed by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department of the state government.

Ekalavya Children’s Home is located behind a railway station in Rajahmundry. Children who have run away use the railway station for travel and to beg for money to survive. Salesian staff, who have a good relationship with the railway police department, rescue children from the station and bring them to the courts and then onto the Ekalavya Children’s Home.

The home also works in collaboration with Child Line 1098 and is available to children in need day and night. Some children are provided skill development programs and are sent to a nearby school for regular education. Other children are part of the shelter program. They stay at the home until they are able to go back to their family homes or are rehabilitated at another place.

“Having access to proper sanitation brings a sense of dignity to the children and families we serve in our programs,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Improving sanitation facilities ensures that youth are living in an environment that promotes proper hygiene, reducing the number of waterborne illnesses that can keep them away from important study time.”

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 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.

India’s youth also face a lack of educational opportunities due to issues of caste, class and gender. Almost 44 percent of the workforce is illiterate and less than 10 percent of the working-age population has completed secondary education. In addition, many secondary school graduates do not have the knowledge and skills to compete in today’s changing job market.



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