Frequently Asked Questions
How does a child end up in a government-run home?
A child could be incarcerated in a government-run home for a variety of reasons. Some children, such as abandoned or orphaned children, runaways, special needs children, child laborers, or children involved in the sex trade, are taken into state custody because they are in need of protection. Others have been charged with, or found guilty of, committing a crime. Some children are incarcerated for very petty crimes or have not been involved in criminal activity–they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
How does SARTHI help these children?
SARTHI is able to enter government-run homes to provide counseling and rehabilitation to children there, to educate them on their rights, and, whenever possible, to facilitate their release and reunion with their families. We have reunited many children with their families thanks to SARTHI volunteers’ tireless effort and our contributors’ financial and legal support. Sometimes we are granted legal custody of children who have no family. In these cases, we oversee their long-term welfare and finance their education, medical care, and so fourth.
What happens to children once they are taken custody by a government-run home?
All too often, children who are kept in a state-run home languish there for years. A child’s case for a petty crime might remain pending for a decade because of the overburdened judicial system, during which time they are incarcerated in the home. As you can imagine, children kept in these homes, far from their families and unable to communicate with them at all, suffer from severe anxiety and depression.
One of India’s many government-run homes is in Patna, the capital of Bihar, India’s third most populated state. Nearly 90 percent of people there live in rural areas, and Bihar has the lowest GDP per capita in India. Almost 58 percent of people living in Bihar are younger than 25, the highest percentage in the country. The literacy rate is tragic–it is the lowest in India. Women in particular have a shockingly low rate of literacy–only one out of three women can read. It is a particularly needy area.
Does SARTHI partner with any other NGO Networks?
Yes, we are a member of the International Network “CRIN” UK on Child Rights. We are also a member of many Indian Networks such as FORCES, SRIJAN Network – New Delhi, Bihar Voluntary Coordinating Agency for Adoption, Voluntary Forum for Education, Bihar State Council for Child Welfare, Governer House, Raj Bhawan, National Alliance of Grassroot NGOs (NAGN) – New Delhi, Bihar Lok Adhikar Manch (BLAM) – supported by CRY, and NCER, Orissa (National Campaign on [Early Childhood care & Education] Rights).