India : empowering young people leaving child welfare homes

Photo Credits: Action Education South Asia

In order to support young adults leaving child welfare homes and enable their integration into Indian society, Action Education has launched an ambitious project in the state of Assam with the support of UNICEF. 

In India, all young adults who reach the age of 18 must leave child welfare homes and enter the workforce. This transition from an institutionalised environment to an unsupervised independent life poses many challenges for these particularly vulnerable young people. 

" In 2016, I had the opportunity to participate in a football match at national level. But it couldn't happen because I didn't have my birth certificate ," says Dipankar Boro, a young man just out of one of the child welfare homes. " After finishing high school, I left my welfare home. I was admitted for higher studies, but I faced great financial problems and could not pay the school fees, " says Priyanka Rai.

To support young people in the child welfare system in the state of Assam towards employment, the project proposes to build the skills/qualifications of child welfare officers, to empower young people leaving the child welfare system and to provide them with individualised and enhanced follow-up

Through the project, young people receive socio-professional training that is essential for their entry into working life. The project also ensures that young people have access to a minimum of official documents (identity card, birth certificate, tax card, voter's card) and a bank account. Links are established with vocational training institutions and work on self-esteem is also carried out.

In parallel, the project offers training to improve the skills of child welfare officials and child welfare homes. As a result of these trainings, the civil servants can better prepare young people for their departure and better assess their ability to live independently.

Enfin, une association dédiée à la prise en charge et au soutien des jeunes adultes a été créée. Elle leurs permet de se regrouper et de faire valoir leurs droits.

Stay in touch with every young adult

As a member of theAlumni Association of Home Youth in Assam, I enrolled in a leadership training programme. The training lasted for one month and during that time I also looked for a job. Within a month I found a job. I am currently earning a salary of 9,000 rupees (110 Euros) ," says Pompi Das.

Ashok Sharma - Programme Officer, Child Protection (SCPS, Assam) adds: " The best achievement is the establishment of the Alumni Association of Home Youth in Assam. So far, more than 150 young people have been networked. We have also created a WhatsApp group and use different technologies to keep in touch with each youth ."

This initiative has already paved the way for the large-scale roll-out of the monitoring programme in the other districts of Assam.

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