A considerable number of children in our country fall victim of homelessness and statelessness due to the baffling and knotty family situation which eventually impels the child to leave home. It is disgraceful to find that almost 20 million children in India have fallen victims of social orphanage wherein the families have abandoned them and amongst which only 0.3% fall under real orphans. The young age from the child taking direct responsibility for their sustainability is heart wrenching. These children grow up as youths of this nation to find themselves in deflating situations.
Our government today at various levels, as well as civil society organizations has been working on various endangered kids and their deve lopmental outcomes, they have been dynamic in their own ways but it has been rare for these entities to synergize concrete sustainable impacts. Most institutions or children’s homes present in India today bid farewell to a child once he/she attains the age of 18 without gauging on how the child would sustain itself with minimal or no educational standards or professional expertise. Hence for further initiative, Programme “Pankh” was introduced for the complete social, psychological, spiritual and economic development of these lost souls and most importantly imbibing a sense of responsibility by creating a value system that would not only help them develop as responsible citizens but also as a righteous human being in the future.
Programme “Pankh” was conceptualized and initiated in 2015. It works for mainstreaming the youths from Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and communities having a difficult family background. The five service components that drive the programme are Counseling, Mentoring, Life Skill Training, Vocational Training and Placement assistance starting from the age of 14 years.
The programme has been running on a trial and experimental basis.
The purpose of Pankh is similar to it’s name. In Pankh, we want to give flight to the youth who have tremendous potential awaiting to discover. We believe that a little push in life can go a long way and therefore, through our efforts we aim to identify the interest area of the youth we engage in, foster and enhance their skill and create opportunities for them. Pankh looks at skill development and vocational training as a medium to provide financial independence and liberation of the youth.
The children who are part of Pankh project participate through the network that SOCH has built over the year with Child Care Institutions of Odisha. The children from the adopted community are identified who participate in the Pankh programme. They undergo a series of interventions which includes Counseling, Mentoring, Life-skill support, Vocational training & Job placement Assistance. The needs of the children are identified and the required intervention is planned accordingly. Depending on the need, counselling is given, essentially to CCI children. The children are then mentoring according to their dreams, aspirations and goals. Required life support is given through engagement with various stakeholders. Skill development and vocational training is given according to the required need. Placement opportunities are linked to the youth who have completed the vocational training. Follow-ups are done in regular intervals to ensure that the youth is in the direction of development and is not facing any challenges.
The Current model of Pankh seeks referrals from different Child Care Institutions and is also dependent on referrals from the community.
- Child Care Institutions (CCI’s): In the periphery of Bhubaneswar and neighbouring districts representatives of different CCI’s identify and refer youth to us who fits in the criteria, upon case work we link the child to different ongoing schemes in SOCH network. Ensuring all the major components have been ensured and if any gap is there it is also addressed.
- Referrals from community Volunteers/Stakeholders: In the periphery of Bhubaneswar and neighbouring districts SOCH has direct intervention with different communities under our Child Centred Community Development Programmes. All the places have their own community volunteers, stakeholder and also project staff refers youth to us who fits in the criteria, upon case work we link the child to different ongoing schemes in SOCH network. Ensuring all the major components have been ensured and if any gap is there it is also addressed.
Apart from the programmatic things, programme Pankh has these components
- Life-Skill Support
- Vocational Training & Placement
- Follow up
Counseling plays a major role in identification and transformation of issues and complications of any individual’s life. More than this it becomes a mode of sharing and expressing limitation and probable solutions. It helps in getting an insight into the background of the occurrence and also in creating a conducive atmosphere for the subject. It also helps youths to identify their real interest areas and strengths and weaknesses. At Pankh, counselling is an interpersonal process through support and guidance provided to a person who is facing some personal and interpersonal problems. A variety of approaches are used to resolve the problem of the person keeping in mind the values and goals of the society and the individual in particular.
Some of the areas we focus in counselling at Pankh are:
- Reduction of emotional distress experienced by the individual
- Reduction of dysfunctional behaviour of the individual
- Promotion of adapting capabilities of the individual in her/his/ their environment
- Provision of assistance to identify and develop potential
- Provision of assistance to the individual for making significant decisions
- Helps in preparing the child’s mental situation to come out of CCI and cope with mainstream society
It is a personal developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps to guide a less experienced or less knowledgeable person. Children in various CCIs grow up with less individual attention. Most of the children don’t have friends outside the CCI. Most of them have no idea about the world outside the four walls of the institutions. So it is important to link up the youths with interested mentors living in the mainstream society for mutual benefit.
Life Skill Training
Life skills have been defined as “the abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life” (WHO). Life skills touch upon real life situations, they help build resilience among individuals, create self determination etc.
‘Adaptive’ means that a person is flexible in approach and is able to adjust in different circumstances. Youths in various CCIs are living with less interaction with mainstream society. Due to this they lag behind in certain skills, which the children growing up in mainstream society have gained through their socialization. So, it is very important to provide life skill training to the youths growing up in institutional care for building their skill and confidence to adjust in the mainstream after 18 years of age.
Pankh in life skill focuses on developing personality, skills, attitude and behaviour of the children. Pankh largely looks at attitude development and soft skills building which can help the youth both in their professional and personally. These skills are associated with everyday lives of the children. Pankh believes in acting as a facilitator which helps youth build these skills that would equip them for further life opportunities and challenges. Some of the key components of life skill training include self-care, leadership quality building, identifying interest areas, motivation, decision making, linking to real life situations to build resilience, self-determination, and effectiveness communication.
Vocational Training & Job Placement
Vocational training and skill development are the driving force of the country. It gives youth a direction to guide themselves along with equipping them with skills that would make them economically independent. These skills help the youth adjust more effectively to the challenges and create opportunity for themselves. This component aims at helping youths gain skills and get placements to stand on their own feet. In collaboration with various vocational training institutions Pankh helps in building extensive networks for those youth who need to come to mainstream society and find a suitable livelihood for them. The youths are linked to training only after thorough counseling and determining their core interest areas.
Any task or project is incomplete without a systematic follow-up plan in place. Follow-up ensures a correct and accurate accomplishment of a task. For a home placed child it means he/she does not run away again and for a Youth undergoing training and placement it means he/she is performing and satisfied with the profile. Follow-up is done to ensure the goals are achieved. Follow-ups are done at regular intervals of time by social workers through home visits, face-face interactions, telephonic conversations etc. It becomes vital to follow up to keep in track the progress of the youth and provide them with support if they relapse at a point of time.
Till March 2020 from Beginning
|Particulars||From Child Care Institutions (CCIs)||From Community Mobilization||Total|
|No of Youth Data Collected||257||3001||3258|
|Youth Enrolled in vocational training||8||248||256|
|Youth Placed in Job||2||13||15|
Gender Wise Enrollment in Vocational Training Centre:
|Gender||No of Enrolled|