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  • Writer's pictureSupporting A Cause

Providing Stability to The Youth Emerging out of Welfare Institutes, Vinimay Trust , Mumbai

Updated: Aug 4, 2019

Vinimay is a NGO and a public charitable trust, working for under-privileged children and youth staying in, and emerging out of, Child Welfare Institutions (CWIs) in the city of Mumbai. Vinimay adopts a non-hierarchical approach and is not only run by volunteers, but, also managed by them.

Transition From Uncertainty to Stability

India is home to over 20 million orphans.  Children being abandoned or who are orphaned early in their childhood are known to have imbalanced emotional levels likely to affect them throughout in their lives. Children without parental protection are highly vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and neglect, such orphan children requiring protection, care and guidance.

This also leaves a big challenge for the society to accept them as-is, support, rehabilitate and integrate them into the mainstream society. The Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) (care and protection of children) of Government of India prescribes a uniform age of 18 years, below which both boys and girls are treated as children.

The Act lays special emphasis on developmental needs, rehabilitation and social integration and provides institutional measures (e.g. CWI run children homes) for care and protection of children in conflict with law and/or children in need of care and protection.

The institutional mechanism of JJA to un-house children at the age of 18, compels children to enter the external world unprepared and coupled with fear of the unknown world, limited social skills, financial insecurity and limited fall-back options.

Vinimay had identified this cause early and have been serving in two broad areas: (a) Child Welfare: helping children living in child welfare institutions (CWIs or free boarding schools) by supplementing the work of the CWIs and (b) Youth Welfare: rehabilitation of youths emerging out of Child Welfare Institutions.

Vinimay emerged out of a collective vision of like-minded individuals. During the year 1982, this group got introduced to the Chembur Children's Home (CC Home) and made its foray with tutorial assistance and academic coaching. During interactions with these children the volunteers soon realized the  dark, insecure and challenged  world of children and the critical need for helping these children integrate with mainstream society.  Vinimay thus got transformed into a mission for Child development and rehabilitation of youths emerging out of Child Welfare Institutions.

Child Welfare

Vinimay volunteers undertake regular programs and events and remains in close interaction with children, the objective is to supplement the work of CWIs and help children in enhancing their self-esteem and confidence and alongside also provide them good nutrition diet. Various activities conducted by Vinimay round the year for children in the age group 5 to 18 is summarized below:

At Bal Kalyan Nagari (Mankhurd, Mumbai)

  • Nutrition – Provision of bread for breakfast

  • Nutrition  – Weekly once, one item of  the  Dinner is prepared by Vinimay Volunteers

  • Recreation: - Children’s film program - films from Children’s film Society

At David Sasoon (Matunga Road, Mumbai)

  • Nutrition – Provision of bread for breakfast    

  • Nutrition  – Monthly once, one item of  the  Dinner is prepared by Vinimay Volunteers

  • Recreation: - Children’s film program - films from Children’s film Society

Common Program for CWI Children’s Home

  • Recreation along with knowledge sessions:  Annual off site camp organized outside the campus of the CWIs.  They are designed to provide children with right mix of fun, adventure, learning and training in social living. The duration of the camp is generally for a week. Camps are held for boys and girls approximately 50 participants each attend the same.

Youth Welfare

During May 1999, Vinimay Trust launched the Coomiben Babubhai Shah Tarun Sadan in Koparkhairne. Tarun Sadan is a hostel run by Vinimay Trust for homeless boys who emerge out of child welfare institutions (CWIs). The hostel provides free or subsidized living accommodation. In addition to providing hostel facility Vinimay assists these boys in; taking  ITI education or skill-based vocational training, learning daily-life skills,  job placement, obtaining loans, health care, personality development help in personal crisis, recreation and settling with their jobs  etc.

The hostel has the capability to house a maximum of 50 boys. Vinimay houses them over for three years and prepares them for any challenges that they might face in the outside world.

Vinimay celebrates all the festivals and national holidays observed by our country. Patriotism, religious beliefs and other such values are brought into focus for the residents. This further helps the youth by integrating them with their cultural heritage. An annual day is also held to promote good spirit across the hostel. 

Vinimay inculcates important saving and financial management habits. The salary earned by hostel youths is saved in respective bank accounts. Rs. 1000/- is given to every resident as pocket money, and the remaining is saved into a fixed deposit. While leaving the hostel, the respective individual is given the whole sum of money to manage their own lives. This practical approach ensures that the residents can utilize the money wisely and understand value of savings and money management.

Vinimay thus provides all the opportunities to the boys to integrate them back to mainstream society – it also assists in getting their legal identity documents prepared, development of inter-personal skills, pursuance of education (for those interested and if possible), tracing of their family. Every month Vinimay conducts a get together of all of its former residents to provide fruitful interaction and insightful practical knowledge to the youth to understand the external world better.


Our Visit

We visited the Tarun Sadan hostel, at Koparkhairne, to get a better understanding of the work carried out by Vinimay Trust. On arrival, we observed a live session in their multipurpose hall, the discussion was around the introduction of the AADHAR Card. The need for identification in today’s world was openly expressed along with pros and cons of the Aadhar card.

The youths at the hostel, many of whom are orphans, were given detailed information regarding the orphan certificate. These topics are essential for children who do not have an identity or even know where they are originally from.

We also spoke with the head of the institution who informed us regarding the current affairs and how efficiently the same is managed. We visited hostel rooms and found that the rooms could easily accommodate 5-6 students, and had sufficient storage space for each of them. Many residents had undergone ITI vocational training or were undertaking part time courses at a night school, some of them were serving night duties at their jobs.

Based on the skills they have acquired they take up Jobs with shoe factories or at fast food chains or bakeries or at printing press etc.

Vinimay Trust has a team of 30+ volunteers for its everyday functioning and only 2 full time and 2 part-time staff members employed. Each hostel resident is assigned a task, including cooking and cleaning, buying groceries for the entire hostel. When they are not working, the residents usually sleep, play, study or help around with day-to-day hostel work. They have fixed schedules and follow them diligently. This further helps in promoting the self-sustainability of the hostel.

Thus, Vinimay Trust remains with the children throughout their growing period and ensures that they are ready to face the world. They also reach out to older students to ensure they are able to settle well in their lives.

To date Vinimay has served 314 youth and many have got married and settled in their lives. A brief scorecard of the success journey is as below:

  • No. of boys who have been given admission - 314

  • No. of boys who have transitioned - 279

  • No. of boys who have completed their term - 146

  • Aadhar Card/Voter id./PAN - 244/245/125

  • Addiction rehabilitation - 5

  • No. of boys’ family traced - 35

  • No. of boys who have govt./good jobs/abroad - 21/71/7

  • No. of boys who have got married - 53

  • The highest saving by a boy (3 years) - Rs 175,000/-

  • Expenses per boy per month - Rs 3300/-

Vinimay operates under three level of non-hierarchical structure viz. Board of Trustees, Working Committee and individual volunteers. Trustees and Committee Members also work as volunteers on the field and Decisions are taken by consensus and discussions between all three levels.

With minimal overhead expenses, Vinimay is a unique model which is supported by several volunteers all of whom have come together to support the common cause and to provide stability to youth who are out from the shelter homes, such that they stabilize and can lead a normal life in the mainstream society.

There is a growing need for co-curricular activities among the residents. Volunteers who would teach music and sports to teach would be more than welcome. Giving training and employment to these youth ready to prove themselves and/or sponsored events and basic funding can also go a long way in the ensuring a brighter future for the youth staying at the hostel.

This hostel promises to serve as an idealistic yet practical approach for individuals who strive to improve the society. The transition for these young adults has gone unnoticed in society and Vinimay Trust addresses this issue very effectively.

With an annual budget of 30-35 lakhs, managed through a Corpus fund and donations arranged by the volunteers. Vinimay has successfully adopted a model of high impact at low cost, harnessing the serving urge of volunteers most effectively, certainly a Cause Worth Supporting.

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