Child protection is about saving children’s lives

The Hope Foundation’s primary objective is to protect children who live on the streets and in the slums of Kolkata. HOPE works to protect children from exploitation, abuse, starvation, and sickness and supports children to access their rights for a brighter and secure future.

Children identified in need of care and protection are placed in HOPE’s Residential Childcare Programme with an order from the Child Welfare Committee. HOPE supports its partners in identifying children in need of care, protection, and support. Based on the need of the child, HOPE extends its support through residential or community-based care programmes. There is no limit to our care. Children supported by HOPE will have a family and support for life, not just until they turn 18. Children restored to their families from residential care will be supported through our home-based education sponsorship programme.

Together with our partner NGOs, we work to ensure enrolment and retention of children in education to prevent children from being engaged in child labour so that children have childhoods. The Hope Foundation works to restore childhoods to traumatised and abandoned children. Our Child Watch Programme takes positive action to protect children at risk and create safe communities and families for the children.

Child Protection
HOPE Protection Programmes:
  • 10 Residential Childcare Centres
  • Mother and Child Care Unit
  • Child Watch
  • After Care Programme for Young Adults
Residential Childcare Programme

HOPE’s Residential Childcare Programme provides vulnerable children with a home away from home, a loving, caring, and safe environment in which children can learn and grow into independent, successful and happy young adults. It has always been HOPE’s priority to restore children to their families, where possible and appropriate. We strive to prepare families to take responsibility for their children through strengthened interventions to improve the social and economic situation of a child’s home before restoration. Where home environments do not exist, or the family cannot be traced, the children are referred for adoption.

10 Residential Childcare Units (6 for girls and 4 for boys), supported by The Hope Foundation, were established to provide temporary protective shelter for children of 6-18 years who are identified as in need of care and protection by the Child Welfare Committee. Children living a vulnerable life, deprived of their childhood and education, are placed in these Residential Childcare Units to restore their childhood, rights to survival and development, and their rights to be with families.

Reuniting children with their families is an important aim of this programme. When the children are placed in HOPE’s Residential Childcare Programme, strategies are in place to strengthen the families. The Residential Childcare Units are categorised in the following manner based on the duration of stay and nature of emergency services:

Bekind Boys Childcare Centre – Bekind Boys is managed by HOPE and fully funded by Bekind Ireland. The boys are provided with a safe and secure protective home to learn and grow in.

Kasba Girls Childcare Centre – Girls rescued from vulnerable situations on the streets and within the slums of Kolkata are provided for holistically. The girls also engage in recreational activities and outings, while residing in a safe, child-first environment.

AsharAlo Girls Childcare Centre – HOPE’s new girl’s childcare centre provides all the necessary care for young women to become independent, informed and confident young women through guidance, education and job placement support.

Ashirbad Boys Childcare Centre – Boys who are rescued from Kolkata’s dangerous streets and slums are provided with a safe and protective shelter, with a loving and caring environment in which they can call home.

PBK Girls Childcare Centre – A shelter home for children of sex workers in the Kalighat district of Kolkata, working to eradicate second generation prostitution through the restoration of their childhoods and the delivery of education, protection, healthcare, counselling, recreational and holistic and full development.

Keertika Girls Childcare Centre – 25 at-risk girls are supported in the Keertika Home through the provision of healthcare, education, protection, counselling, nutrition and recreation activities. Many of the girls have fallen victim to trafficking, physical, emotional, psychological and sexual abuse or were at great risk and danger of such violations and neglect.

BPWT Childcare Centre for HIV Infected and Affected Children – Protective shelter which provides care and support to HIV/AIDS infected and affected children, ensuring they receive quality health and medical care, nutrition, counselling, family support and formal education. 25 boys and girls are catered for in the Snehaner Childcare Centre.

Crisis Intervention Centre Male – Providing immediate care and protection to boys and young men who have been rescued from hazardous and dangerous situations on the streets of Kolkata. The boys are placed in short-term protective care and receive holistic support such as nutrition and counselling, alongside rehabilitation, restoration and repatriation support to return home, where appropriate and possible. If unable to return home, the boys are placed in protection homes for their long-term protection and development.

Crisis Intervention Centre Female – Providing immediate care and protection with a temporary shelter home for girls and young women who experience violence, abuse or neglect throughout the streets of Kolkata. The services provided are the same as the male Crisis Intervention Centre (see above).

Punorjibon was established to identify and provide safe shelter and treatment to boys who were vulnerable and addicted to substances. The boys are abandoned, orphaned, or have run away from home due to abject poverty, neglect and abuse and found themselves surviving on the railway platforms of Kolkata.

Child Watch Programme

Child Watch is a unique project centred on the care and protection of vulnerable children and building a strong bond between communities and education, protection and healthcare systems.

The project focuses on enrolling children within the age group of 6 to 14 years in formal school. Vocational training support and guidance are given to children over 14 years of age who have dropped out of school. Child Watch works closely with the parents, especially fathers, to increase their involvement in their children’s lives and encourage children to ensure retention in school.

Community Watch Groups have been established in each area under the project with active volunteers from the community to create a safety net within the community for the children living on the street. The Community Watch Groups motivate parents, especially fathers, to reduce expenditure on addiction and save money for their child’s education. Child Vigilance Groups have also been formed to ensure child rights. The groups comprise children who are role models for the other children in their community.

Child Watch collaborates with other HOPE projects such as the Night Round Mobile Medical Unit, Naboasha, Residential Child Care Units and Life Skills, and government and non-government organisations to ensure child rights and protection.

2017 Rose of Tralee Jennifer Byrne visits the street population during a HOPE Nightwatch round
Mother and Child Care Unit

Women are often subject to violence within the family, a place which is expected to protect their dignity and assure their safety. Nearly one-third of women in India have experienced physical or sexual violence, finds the National Family Health Survey-5 Report 2022. Married women (18-49 years) have experienced physical, sexual, or emotional spousal violence. The most common type of spousal violence is physical violence (28%), followed by emotional and sexual violence. Incidents of violence at home affect the mental and physical state of a child. One of the common forms of abuse and violence against mothers is separating their children from them and forcing them to leave home. Fueled by mandatory stay-at-home rules, physical distancing, economic uncertainties, and anxieties caused by the pandemic, domestic violence has increased globally.

The Mother and Child Care Unit, established in 2010, is a short-stay home which provides safe shelter to mothers and their children who were abandoned by their families and/or experienced domestic violence from their husbands and were compelled to leave their homes and take shelter on the streets, pavements and platforms of Kolkata.

After Care Programme for Young Adults

To minimise the dependency on residential care and turn young adults into independent citizens, HOPE initiated the After Care Support Programme in 2018 to support young adults to complete their education in a safe environment. This project provides accommodation, education and nutrition to boys and girls over 18 years of age who are continuing their education or vocational training to become self-sufficient.