Railway-Prayas Short-stay Shelter Home for Children

The PRAYAS Centre for Children, Guwahati Railway Station, since its commencement have been actively undertaking various activities focusing on the rights of children. After months of lockdown when the COVID situation started improving and restrictions were eased, following proper Covid protocols various activities are being undertaken specifically focusing on the rights of children, such as protection, education, health and nutrition.

Through outreach activities in the Guwahati Railway Station and in its adjacent areas/ Slums/ Community, the staff are active in identifying children who are in need of care and protection. Unlike other Places, Children in contact with Guwahati Railways have also been found to be involved in glue sniffing and substance abuse which is very harmful to their health.

The children are being brought to the centre and provided counselling support by the Counsellor, education and meals regularly. The PRAYAS staff have noticed that there is a negative attitude by people towards such children who are being abused both physically and verbally suspecting them of stealing. Hence, the staff have also sensitized various stakeholders involved such as the vendors, police and parents to collaborate with us in creating a safety net thus ensuring a child-friendly environment.

Arrangements have been made for various indoor games such as Ludo, Carrom etc., and also various animation movies, cartoons, and documentaries are shown to the children in the centre. As a result, the children who used to spend their time sniffing glue outside and indulging in various ill activities such as stealing now comes to the centre regularly. They spend time in the centre by learning new things like reading, writing, getting moral education, manners, thus understanding the difference between good and bad.

In terms of health and hygiene, the centre has made an arrangement for the children to take bath by providing soap, hand wash and shampoo. The staff also noticed that the children rarely brush their teeth thus, toothbrushes have been provided to each one of them with toothpaste. The centre staff ensures that the children regularly take baths, change their clothes, brush their teeth and maintain hygiene. First aid kits (Dettol, Band-Aid, Antiseptic cream, cotton etc.,) are also kept for curing minor wounds and burns.

A meal routine, prepared by the staff in Guwahati is being followed to provide meals to the children. Different items are being provided every day, such as fruits, bread, jam, milk, bournvita, Roti-Sabzi, Samosa-Sweets etc.

Other than the above mentioned, the staff also facilitates and supervises the internship/Fieldwork requests of university students under Prayas JAC Guwahati. Activities are being planned out accordingly so that by the end of the internship they leave with a learning experience. As part of their course curriculum, university students visit the centre to learn more about child protection.

Furthermore, activities are planned out to celebrate various occasions and events such as Constitution Day, republic day, Children’s day etc., where children are encouraged to participate in various activities like poem recitation, singing, dancing, etc. Awareness generation and counselling are provided to the parents of the children to send their children to school rather than to earn.

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