How it began at Salaam Baalak Trust – Mumbai

Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) was established in 1988 with the proceeds from Salaam Bombay! (1988, directed by Mira Nair), a much celebrated film of its time. The movie tells the story of Mumbai’s street children and the standards within which they live in due to the confines of India’s child laboring.

Most of the young actors who appeared in the film were actual street children. They received dramatic training at a special workshop in Mumbai before they appeared in the film. It was incredible to see how these kids, living by their wits on the street, responded to the classes and compassion of the film crew. This was just the inspiration Dinaz Stafford, Zarin Gupta and others needed to start a place in Mumbai these kids could come for the necessary assistance to move from the streets to mainstream life. They decided to set up Salaam Baalak Trust with the film as its namesake.

Originally intended to rehabilitate the actual street children who appeared in the film, the NGO grew to provide support for street and working children in the inner cities of New Delhi and Mumbai. Salaam Baalak Trust – Mumbai opened its first center in 1989.

With more than 2,00,000 children living on the streets of Mumbai and children arriving weekly at the doorsteps of the Salaam Baalak centers asking for assistance in some form, Salaam Baalak is as relevant today as it was in 1989. In the last 25 years, the Trust has helped thousands of children come off the streets and into a safe and nurturing environment.

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