Rehabilitation of children exposed to child labour, and other crimes against children is key to our operation. At our facility in Kalimpong, West Bengal we house and care for up to 130 children at one time. We provide an environment that has several services that facilitate rehabilitation which are changed and developed to fit the needs of specific children. These services include:
For every child that arrives at BSA permanently, we assess their current education level in key subject areas such as Maths and English. From the assessment, we then decide whether they are ready for mainstream education or if they require extra help before they enrol in a school. If they are ready, they are enrolled in a school that will best fit their needs or the school that they were already attending prior to coming to BSA, if they were attending one. Or, if they are not ready for mainstream education, the child is given teaching from the BSA teachers so that they can catch up to their peers before enrolling; or continue to receive teaching at BSA if they have not received a formal education before. The schools are usually in Kalimpong, however, some students are enrolled in schools in Darjeeling and other areas futher afield as these
schools better suit their educational ambitions.
After school, our teachers provide tuition for students that would like it or those who have been struggling at school. This makes sure that the children are keeping on top of their studies and are benefiting from their education. Education is key to a child’s rehabilitation as it allows them to prepare themselves for a wide variety of pathways when they leave school, giving them choice over which path they would like to pursue, a luxury that many of the children did not previously have. We see education as a basic human right and want to give this right back to children who have been denied it.
At BSA, we have dormitories that allow us to permanently house up to 130 children. The dormitories are organised by sex and age group, as groups of children of a similar age to each other sleep in the same area. The accommodation has shared bathroom facilities, areas to study or relax, a dining area and outdoor areas. They reside behind a locked gate which is monitored by BSA to assure of the children’s safety. These facilities help the children to feel comfortable and safe at BSA which assists their rehabilitation from past traumas.
Spare beds are also always available so that when a child is initially rescued, there is always space for them to come to BSA and take shelter. They often stay here until the government run CWC (Child Welfare Committee) then decides where they should reside and what the best plan is for their long term rehabilitation.
When a child first arrives at BSA, our trained staff conduct an initial mental assessment of them. During this, they ask questions about the child’s past and assess whether they are suffering from any mental trauma and require further counselling or other help to overcome them. If so, our staff organise a professional to come to BSA and conduct counselling with the child as often, and for as long as the counsellor believes is sufficient. This contributes to the child’s rehabilitation as it ensures that each child is given the appropriate level of help to allow them to overcome any mental issues they have developed before coming to BSA.
We encourage children at BSA to get involved in one or more of the extracurricular activities that we offer. These activities are very important to a child’s development as they help build skills and show aspects of their personalities that regular classroom work cannot. Currently, we offer these extracurricular activities that the children can get involved in:
- Rally’s raising awareness around child labour and human rights
- Religious activities