The Camp was held at Rakshak on the 8th of March, 2019. Dr. Megala, an established Dermatologist who heads a clinic at Medavakkam was invited to help with the camp. The children came forward with various issues and Dr. Megala took time and addressed each child’s needs with patience and utmost care. On the whole, the camp was a much-needed initiative and the children, teachers, as well as the parents, benefited from it.
The children at Rakshak were encouraged to celebrate Republic day in a meaningful fashion by serving the community around them in some way. When the idea of spending the day at an Old Age Home was put forth, the children responded enthusiastically and set to the task of preparing various entertaining numbers for their time there.
Laughter and celebration were in the air as the children performed and the elderly people there enjoyed it immensely. The children showed an amount of empathy and sensitivity that astounded us. They were in turn overwhelmed by the way the elderly people reacted to their presence there at the Home. For children coming from broken families where abandonment and neglect are common, this was a pleasant
surprise. And for the elderly people who were far from their children and grandchildren, the time the children spent there was a session of healing and restoration. On the whole, the Community Engagement was a success.
Regardless of what class, caste, sector, race or religion a woman comes from, a worldwide phenomenon that is observed is that they tend to neglect to look after themselves. We’ve found that a mother’s, physical, emotional and financial well-being plays an immense role in shaping the child’s life and future as well. Especially in cases where the father is absent or cannot be relied upon. For this reason, we have
started a Women Development Program that works on addressing these issues. Monthly meetings provide the mothers with a safe place to talk about their struggles, connect and learn from those who have walked the same path and above all know that they are not alone in the fight.
Isakiyammal is 12 years old, her father is a gardener and her mother works as a maid. She has been part of Rakshak for the past 1 year and when she first joined, she was a very timid child. She was easily frightened and would not make friends. She also struggled in her academics. She was placed in the Mentorship program for this academic year and the transformation that we saw in her was immense.
In just a month, she started being more confident, was able to make friends and she started improving significantly in her academics. Her parents too had shared that they saw a lot of difference in the way she was before and after being part of the Program. In her own way, Isakiyammal reminded us that sometimes, children just need an adult they can rely on. And that a little attention and love can work wonders in the lives of children.
For most children at Rakshak, a role model to look up to and a steady character in their lives that can guide them to make well informed decisions is a rare thing to attain. Largely so, because many of our children come from single parent headed households, broken families and addiction filled homes.The Mentorship Program makes a huge difference in places like this. When a mentor meets with a child and spends time, the child has someone who looks out for their good, can mold their thinking and just be there for them to help them deal with the good, the bad and the ugly. A huge thank you to the mentors at Rakshak as well as the facilitators who have shown tremendous commitment towards their mentees and are making a huge difference in their lives.
The opening of the Dream Factory at Corley School was a much-awaited event and it happened on the 9th of September. At present we cater to 80 children at the Corley School. The children are given a nutritious snack and are part of the After-School Program that provides remedial help.
As part of the Child Health Program, for the first time, the children were screened by a medical professional to identify malnutrition. Based on the assessment, changes will be made in the menu, supplements for children who need special attention and activities that will bring awareness to the parents on what to feed a child will be provided. We extend our gratitude to Dr. Kiruba from the Thulir Foundation for partnering and working alongside us.
Aishwarya joined Rakshak in her 1st std. Both her parents were woodcutters and came from a tribal community called the Irulas. Aishwarya was just like any other 1st grader, a cheerful child with an infectious smile and a thirst to learn more. As years went by, we found Aishwarya to be determined and focused in her academics.
Disaster struck when Aishwarya was in her 10th grade. Her mother became ill and was bed ridden. The family went through a major financial struggle and Aishwarya had to shoulder the burden of running the household. With the encouragement, guidance and support of the Rakshak staff, she stayed enrolled in school. She completed her 10tha dn12th with 83% and 73% respectively. With her mother not getting any better, it was decided that Aishwarya will not be continuing her studies.
Once again, the Rakshak staff intervened and accompanied her to apply in different colleges and finally, she was admitted in SDNB Vaishnava College for Women. Aishwarya is currently pursuing her 2nd year in BCA and has cleared all her papers in first class. Recently, she joined Rakshak as a teacher and said that she wanted to make a change in someone’s life just as Rakshak had impacted her life.