I entered the Udayan Care Ghar (“Home” in Hindi) and all the children, in a surprisingly coordinated way, greeted me with “Hi!”. Entering the room filled with girls smiling, running, drawing and chatting, I would never have been able to guess that all of them come from abusive and ugly pasts. While spending a few hours at the house, I got involved in various activities with them. I danced with a few of them. I listened to music with many of them. I did drawings with another girl. I even had long conversations with them on Bollywood movies and celebrity gossips! Udayan Care is definitely doing something right or this marvelous metamorphosis would never have happened.
Udayan Care’s flagship program, Udayan Ghar was initiated with a house in Delhi’s Sant Nagar in 1996. This model is based on the Group Foster Care model and follows the strategy of L.I.F.E (Living In Family Environment). Founder & CEO Kiran Modi developed this model in order to nurture abandoned children while giving them a family life, a sense of belonging as well as teaching them to become responsible and independent individuals. This unique model works with the assistance of several people. The children reach Udayan Care primarily through the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). More than two mentor mothers exist in each house in order to provide the children with parental love every single day. Caregivers are always present in the house, taking care of the children’s daily needs. All children attend high-quality schools and are also given tuitions for certain subjects. Since most of these children have painful and disturbing memories from past, mental health counseling, grief counseling and group therapy sessions take place regularly in every home. Psychiatrists and counselors often pay visit to the homes.
Extracurricular activities, such as art and dance, are also appreciated in the house. This was very evident when some of the girls kept on asking me to play the songs with the video, on my phone, so that they could imitate the dance steps. One of them—who somehow convinced me to dance with her—aspires to become a choreographer.
Even though the Ghar Program only caters to children between the ages of 6-18 years, young adults who cross the age of 18 are not left without support. Udayan Care’s After Care Program then serves these youngsters. The aim of this program is to provide them with a secure stepping-stone towards self-reliance. They are supported with higher education, career guidance, and are encouraged to take up part time jobs and even manage household affairs in order to equip them for the future.
Similar to the After Care Program, the organisation’s Udayan Shalini Fellowships has also been set up to serve young adults. However, this program focuses solely on giving higher education to girls who have the drive and passion to learnt. Some of the other Udayan Care programs include Big Friend Little Friend, Information Technology and Vocational Training.
A haven for more than 350 impoverished human beings, Udayan Care continues to develop and help citizens of this country because just like you and me, they too deserve to live happily and independently.