Author: Salesian Missions

Publication Date: August 12, 2022

A New Lease on Life

Far too many children in India have difficult lives. High rates of extreme poverty drive thousands of them to the streets, where they struggle with the daily horrors of rampant exploitation, forced labor, physical violence, trafficking and worse. At a Salesian-run home in Konaseema, located in the state of Andhra Pradesh, hundreds of them are finally able to dream of brighter futures.

The Ekalavya Children’s Home located behind a railway station in Rajahmundry, and licensed by the state’s Women Development and Child Welfare Department, serves runaway, at-risk and exploited boys and girls with nowhere else to turn. Staff at Ekalavya closely collaborate with local authorities to rescue children who beg on the station’s platforms by day and huddle under them by night. Instead of landing in juvenile detention centers, these kids discover safe shelter and a nurturing environment where their basic needs are met.

“Our missionaries are an important part of the safety net for children facing adversity in India,” explains Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Throughout the country, programs like the Ekalavya Children’s Home create new possibilities for forgotten girls and boys to succeed. They also prioritize the safety of at-risk youth, protecting them through child rights education and removing them from dangerous and exploitative situations.”

Staff at Ekalavya also partner with a regional child helpline to make services available 24 hours a day. Some rescued children live in the home, participate in skills development programs, and attend nearby schools for their basic education. Others enter the short-term shelter program, staying until they can reunite with their families or receive rehabilitation services elsewhere.

All children receive psycho-social support, too, which helps them understand their emotions and form healthy relationships with their peers and adults. Trained professionals run weekly meetings where children can discuss things that are bothering them and learn skills for working through interpersonal issues and resolving conflict in productive ways. And they have a care mother around at all times, who provides a calming presence and a regular routine.

The Ekalavya Children’s Home succeeds thanks to the generosity of friends like you, whose shared belief in our mission transforms lives every day. “Because of this support, hundreds of children from disadvantaged backgrounds now have caring adults who look out for their safety, health and education,” says Fr. Gus. “And I am sincerely grateful for that.”

Learn more about our work in India.

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