A decade ago when Susheela Singh and Anthony Dias, founders of Amcha Ghar, a Mumbai-based NGO providing shelter to orphaned or semi-orphaned girls, tried to provide a home for a sexually abused girl, they came in for a rude shock.
They ran from one home to another but discovered that no institution would take her because she was not an orphan in literal term.
“We realized those days that no home catered to semi-orphan girls or to those living in vulnerable situations. The girls were denied admission in homes if they had a single parent, despite the fact that the single parent often worked all day, leaving the girl to fend for herself or placing her in the care of relatives who can abuse them sexually, physically, or emotionally,” says Singh.
So the sorry state of affairs prompted Ms. Singh and Mr. Dias to form an organization that would serve those living in such situations. In 1996 in Uttan village at Bhayander in Mumbai, a committed team of social workers, attorneys, doctors, and well-wishers joined Ms. Singh and Mr. Dias to set up Amcha Ghar.
Amcha Ghar is thus dedicated to helpless female children - irrespective of their religion or caste. It tries to provide a home to the vulnerable, especially those living on the streets.
Amcha Ghar focuses on early intervention, rescuing and rehabilitating young girls from the streets. When possible, Amcha Ghar also provides counselling and economic guidance to girls’ parents or relatives, with the ultimate aim of stabilizing the family environment and improving economic status so that girls can be re-united with their families.
“The home aims to educate the girls in an English medium school, and train and transform them into skilled adult women who are able to live an independent life in the mainstream of society,” says Singh.
What had begun with three children is now a home to 30 with hundreds on the waiting list.
“Our children are known for their loving nature and discipline. The main objective is to give them an opportunity in life that protects them from falling in to the clutches of evil forces,” says Singh.
Amcha Ghar provides resources for development of destitute girls from all over India. The main thrust of this organization is towards the children's education in an English Medium School.
At present some of the Amcha Ghar girls are pursuing their graduation.
Amcha Ghar now encompasses not only a Residential Home in the village of Uttan, but also an Extension Home for grown-up residents who are working and pursuing higher studies in Bhayander.
“We want to purchase land for development and expansion of Girls Home, expand our classes up to tenth standard and implement school bus services,” says Singh.
The NGO also plans a mini multi-speciality hospital with Home for the aged.
These plans apart, what Amcha Ghar has succeeded is no less significant. It has provided at least 30-odd girl a safe home and set an example for others to come up with more such initiatives.
For details visit www.amchaghar.org