‘Nele’ transformed life of homeless street children in KarnatakaDate posted: February 3, 2012 | Short URL: https://samvada.org/?p=8123 | Share:
Nele is an initiative of Hindu Seva Pratishtan,a premier Social Service organisation in Karnataka.
Bangalore: Hindu Seva Pratishthana’s Nele project has transformed the life of children wandering on Bangalore streets and has enabled them lead a respectful life. Nele means shelter in Kannada. Their life has been brought on correct track of schooling and good conduct so as to become the responsible citizens of tomorrow.
It is a common sight in Bangalore to see children with torn clothes, disheveled hair, eyes full of hope, lugging a dirty bag on their tiny shoulder, picking bits and pieces of rags from the streets. They are totally deprived of the right to parent’s love and affection, basic education and support from society. The only choice for these kids to have their living is to feed themselves on the leftover food thrown around by the people. Apart from the rag-pickers there are also thousands of other children deprived of parental care and facing financial hardships who need homely atmosphere. It is no wonder that many of these children, devoid of basic schooling and cultural education, cultivate all the wrong habits and end up as anti social elements marching on the path of crime.
The city of Bangalore alone encompasses thousands of such children.
It is the responsibility of any civilized society to take care of its people, especially children like these. Hindu Seva Prathisthana offers a ray of hope to these children in the form of Nele. Nele project was initiated by Hindu Seva Pratishthana in the year 2000 to provide residential care to such children. So far, 10 centres have been established in Karnataka that provide shelter to over 260 boys and girls. Facilities such as food, clothing and shelter; school based education, cultural education & social awareness; sports, music, fine arts, Sanskrit and Yoga along with the health and hygiene awareness are provided to destitute children.
Many of the children are brought here by the police or social workers to prevent them from falling victim to crime and social evils. The idea behind Nele is to provide a home-like atmosphere with loving care so that their emotional needs are also met along with the financial and material ones. So, the wardens and volunteers treat the children like members of their own family, mingle with them freely, and even dine with them regularly.
Of course, there are a handful of children who show little or no inclination for studies and show consistently poor academic results. Such children are first encouraged to study hard but if the situation does not improve, they are given vocational training. Once they are adults and equipped with minimum education or vocation skills, all Nele inmates are helped to find jobs. There are a few dropouts too, who want to return home instead of staying in Nele for their own reasons or due to family pressure with their elders insisting on taking them away.
Most parents regard Nele as a boon, because their children are receiving what they themselves could never provide––three meals a day, safe shelter, hygienic bathing facilities, clean clothes, decent education and opportunities for extracurricular activities. There are mothers who express relief that their children have escaped the horror of seeing their drunken fathers and scenes of domestic abuse everyday and being emotionally scarred by that.
Some children have seen their mothers walk out from the home abandoning them to the father and/or grandparents who then bring the children here. Also, street children are vulnerable to many other dangers––they get drawn to or are forced into drug abuse/being used as drug peddlers, thievery, beggary, gang fights, smoking, drinking, prostitution, etc. Many of them turn into juvenile delinquents. Nele aims to rescue children from that fate and put them on the path to becoming productive, disciplined, self-reliant and socially useful individuals. They are also encouraged to return to their parents.
Various festivals such as Raksha Bandhan, Makar Sankranti, Shrikrishna Janmashtami, etc are celebrated with religious fervor. A unique programme called Makkala Mantapa provides a platform to Nele children to compete in various sports and cultural events. Children from Nele have won prizes in music, drawing, athletics, kabaddi and kho kho at district level competitions. Nele children were invited to present a programme at prestigious Dussehra festival at Mysore and their performance was much appreciated by all.
Hindu Seva Pratishthana
Bul Temple Road
Bangalore, India, 560 004
Landline nos : 26608926, 22425337
Mobile no: Krishnamurthy (9480316628), Prakash (9886250908)