Since the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, a large number of children faced abandonment due to factors induced by the pandemic. In lieu of such unseen circumstances, the Department of Women and Child Development approached SOS Children’s Village Bhopal to take up the responsibility of care and protection for such children. 42 children were taken under the able and supporting wings of the Children’s Villlage, a step that became the genesis of the first Short Stay Home in the country
Short Stay Homes serve as homes of hope for children, who require a short-term, safe and secure abode, ranging from a few days to a few weeks; these children are impacted by calamities and / or disasters such as the pandemic, and their parents or caregivers are not able to take adequate care of them.
A full time SOS Aunt and a supporting Aunt plays an integral part at the short stay facility, complete with indoor and outdoor amenities. Each Short Stay Home is equipped with the required infrastructure to make the stay of the child as comfortable as possible. Different kinds of educational, recreational and creative activities are organised in order to ensure complete wellbeing of the child concerned.
Settled Youth, Family Like Care
“I always saw children going to school, and dreamt of being one amongst them, but it all seemed a distant dream, something that I felt could never be realised.” When Surbhi was 13 years old, she was abandoned and didn’t know where to go, or whom to seek help from. She was thankfully rescued, and welcomed in Children’s Village Begusarai.
At the beginning, and understandably so, Surbhi was shy and reserved, but the warm welcome she received from her SOS Mother, the feeling of belongingness that her siblings extended to her, helped her come out of her shell. Counselling helped a great deal in easing the anxiety and fear that had, unfortunately, become an inherent part of the child’s life. Creative, educational and recreational activities helped Surbhi to divert her mind, and open-up open-up to new experiences. Basic amenities like a clean and comfortable room, new clothes, toys to play with, and many such, made a world of a difference to the young child. Subsequently, Surbhi was admitted in school, with extra coaching extended for subjects she was facing a challenge with. Today, the young girl is full of energy and zest; she loves to go to school, as she once dreamt she would. An active participant in both, academics and extra-curricular activities, she harbours many dreams for her future. “There is nothing impossible in life, as I had once thought; the most important thing in life is hope and hard work.”
Settled Youth, Family Like Care
Shivam was brought under the care of SOS Children’s Village Hojai as per the order of CWC Hojai. He lost his father due to COVID-19 and his mother was unable to take care of him due to the lack of any means of livelihood. Shivam had been a brilliant child at academics, but after the loss of his father he had to leave his studies due to lack of proper economic support. His mother took a difficult decision to hand him over to the short stay facility to ensure that all his basic needs are bet. Shivam has been always cheerful and was brilliant in learning as well as grasping every minute insight that has been taught and shared with him. He loves playing indoor games like carrom and was usually the winner out of all the children staying in the short stay home.
The most remarkable thing that was observed in him was his behavioural change. During his ingress under the short stay facility, it was observed that he was very quiet, shy and did not interact with other children as well as the co-workers. However, with the passage of time, he started to mingle with all, started participating in evening prayers, playing games and also participated in cultural and other co-curricular activities. His outgoing outgoing nature has built a different space in the hearts of all mothers, aunties and the co-workers.
Shivam’s period of stay under our care came to an end in the month of August 2022, 3 months after he was brought here, as his mother decided to take custody of her child as she found proper means for sustainable livelihood. The most adorable gesture that was observed before departing to stay back with his family of origin was the tears of leaving his beloved aunty (caregiver) and the short stay home children with whom he resided for about 3 months, months, their firm affectionate hugs and the unforgettable love for the home he made while staying as a ‘little guest’.
The Honourable Minister for Women and Child Development, Government of Kerala, Mrs Veena George, inaugurated the SOS Model Home, under the State Nirbhaya Cell of Women and Child Development Department for girl children who are victims of sexual abuse.
Initially names Nirbhaya home, the facility has been rechristened as SOS Model Home.
Ahead of the inauguration, 10 children from Kerala were moved to the SOS Model Home in Koratty. This SOS Model Home is equipped to cater to the needs of vulnerable children, ensuring that they are empowered, and integrated into the mainstream.