Protection of children from abuse, exploitation and neglect is one of the four major rights. IPER strongly follows a zero-tolerance policy towards child abuse. IPER is running the Open Shelter for girls under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. Under the Scheme the Open Shelter ‘SWAPNANEER’ (a Dream Home) for 25 girls who are at risk of abuse requiring protection opened the door for girls in 2011. The Open Shelter, provides an ideal housing situation for the girls. While the Open Shelter is accommodated in IPER premises it has three Contact Centers in three communities and a Day Care unit in IPER catering to 120+ children who are at risk of being victims of abuse and violence. The programme consists of:
- Open Shelter’ named ‘Swapnaneer’ (Dream House) under Integrated Child Protection Scheme for girls who are vulnerable for their safety and security
- Self-defense though training on Tae-Kwon-Do, Kick-boxing and Muay Thai
- Dance Movement Therapy for behaviour management, emotional control and building of self-esteem and confidence
- Formation of ‘Protection Group’ for children in the community
- Developed and enforced a ‘Child Protection Policy’
Services offered in the open shelter:
- Education – through joining age appropriate class
- Health Care monthly as well as when one is unwell or sick
- Nutrition – daily
- Counselling – both peer group and individual
- Training & Capacity building – participating in Photography workshop, CRC training
- Life Skill training – Self-defense training and DMT
- Co-curricular activities-dance, yoga, participation in painting competitions as well as other recreational activities
- Pre-Vocational Training – in stitching and handicrafts
The Open Shelter provides an enriched platform for learning that empowers the children not only to get education but also develop their self-confidence and self-esteem.
Day Care Unit of Open Shelter
The Open Shelter also runs a day care unit for girls at the IPER campus. It provides services such as education, nutrition, knowledge of computer, vocational training, and martial arts. Many of them also attend the Theatre Workshop and cultural programmes held at IPER. They are also taken for visits at times, giving them a different kind of exposure.
This project has been introduced among the girls at the Open Shelter to build their sense of responsibility and develop and a stable relationship with others. Each senior girl is given the responsibility of a group of four or five younger girls. The feeling of having a place in a group provides them with a sense of belongingness and a responsible attitude.