Dr. Sandhya Bhalla works towards giving underprivileged children a childhood. She is the Director of Delhi Council for Child Welfare (DCCW), a non-governmental organisation established in the year 1952. Dr. Bhalla’s efforts are directed towards helping underprivileged children located in Delhi and its peripheral areas. The focus areas for DCCW include providing immediate relief to needy children as well as working towards their long-term rehabilitation.
Challenges In Education
Speaking about challenges in the field of education, Dr. Bhalla said, “Today when we reach out to underprivileged children with remedial education classes in slums and resettlement colonies of Delhi, we see that an 8/9th grader is at the 2nd-grade level. We call ourselves a nation with the youngest population — the youth dividend which we proudly tell the world, but have we ever reflected on the quality of this dividend?
Yes, I agree that we have the quantity — the numbers, but are they skilled to meet the continuing increasing standards of technology at workplaces? My opinion — they are below par, including even those who come with degrees and certificates. I don’t blame them and right from childhood, it is engraved in their brains that they have to pass an exam and qualify for the college/institution/service. Hence when the application of knowledge is required or language is put to test they are blank.”
Overcoming The Hurdles
DCCW provides its Educational Sponsorship Programme to more than 1000 academically-bright children from an underprivileged background. They provide the much-needed guidance as well as financial support. Around 200 children from classes 1–4 benefit from the academic assistance provided by its Supervised Homework Scheme. DCCW’s Working Children’s Project and Vocational Training Program are aimed towards helping children working in the organised sector and teaching income-generating skills to 400 physically- and mentally-challenged children, respectively.
Dr. Bhalla and DCCW not only work towards educating children but also look at their holistic development. DCCW’s Palna — cradle — is a home that shelters homeless children. Youngsters that are abandoned, live in extreme poverty and are traumatised due to a crisis in their family are taken care of at Palna.
Palna’s latest initiative, Palna Shishu Kendra, prepares underprivileged children falling in the age group of 3–6 years to be a part of regular schools. The team discovered that children with mental and physical disabilities were not given the attention they deserved. Thus, Bal Chetna was created as an initiative to rehabilitate mentally-challenged children.
DCCW’s Orthopedic Centre has been instrumental in performing over 9000 surgeries. The centre was established in the year 1991 and provides corrective surgery, pre- and post-operative care, provision of aids, physiotherapy and occupational therapy, counselling and vocational training to physically-challenged children.
A Fruitful Partnership
DCCW is a GiveIndia certified NGO and this partnership works towards the betterment of children. Speaking about GiveIndia’s support, Dr. Bhalla said, “GiveIndia has helped us reach individuals and corporate entities which wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. Being associated with GiveIndia gives us a certificate of credibility that is valuable to us and gives confidence to our partners and donors.”
DCCW is currently battling with issues such as illegal adoptions, fundraising, access to CSR funds and staff retention. The NGO’s immediate plans include renovating their Palna building without disturbing day-to-day operations and improving the quality of their programs and services.