DOST Guloona  Day Care Centre

DONOR: Dost Welfare Foundation

BACKGROUND:

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, there are more than 1 million children on the streets of Pakistan's major cities and urban centers, constituting the country's largest and most ostracized social group . Out of these, more than 80,000 children are living on the streets nationwide.

Numbers of street children in Pakistan have been growing rapidly over the last few decades. The ongoing armed conflicts and other natural disasters in Pakistan have further intensified children’s problems in the region. Recent estimates show that there are more than 12,000 children on the streets of Peshawar (a staggering 60% increase in the last 5 years).

One of the good indicators of a country’s development is the way its marginalized groups are treated. Street children in Pakistan remain amongst the most neglected and exploited groups, with most of the children vulnerable to bonded labour, harassment, sexual abuse, trafficking, criminalization and lack access to health, education and other basic needs.

RATIONALE:

‘Street wise’ as early as four, these children spend their days scavenging rubbish tips or industrial waste sites, beg or take on menial jobs.  Be it economic or social factors, the majority of street children leave their homes between the age of 8 and 14 for an uncertain future expecting to fend for themselves or their families doing different jobs; but after arriving in the city, they discover that the streets are not paved with gold.

Once on the streets, they are extremely prone to all forms of hazards. When refused job opportunities, some fall back on begging or pick-pocketing for their day-to-day survival, while others end up as victims of sexual abuse or as drug addicts, as they are often paid in drugs for their “drug couriering” services.

While most children go home for the night after spending most of their day on the streets, increasing numbers return to the dangerous streets of Peshawar each evening to eke out a living and to provide food for their family. Our request for a night shelter focuses particularly on these children living on the streets. Many of them are homeless and are displaced from their homes in the remote war ravaged regions of the frontier regions of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan. Without family members to turn to, these children struggle for survival and at the highest risk of molestation, exploitation, radicalization and coercion.

Dost Welfare Foundation established a children’s Day Care Center named Guloona (“Flower” in Pashto) in September 2009 at Haji Camp in Peshawar. Haji camp is a high risk area for street children, with the largest bus terminal where travelers converge from all over Pakistan, Afghanistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where the war on terror is on-going as well as a social conflict between the ideology of the locals and the Taliban. Haji Camp is a congested area of Peshawar city with major street hubs where street children work and live.

The Guloona DCC at Haji Camp provides a wide range of needs based and rights based services to the street children.

1) The Reach-Out Mobile Team conducts daily visits to previously identified and mapped street hubs in the Haji Camp area where street children live and work, to identify and register the high risk cases.

2) Identification and assessment of street children who have no or very little contact with their families. These children are identified through the mobile team and other DOST partners (Social Welfare Department, Drop-in Centers, local youth help-lines, partner organizations and community members) and assessed as high risk, registered and admitted to the shelter.

3) Family tracing of destitute children (runaways, orphans, abandoned, separated, unaccompanied, sexually abused, displaced children, etc) will commence. Each child is assigned to a counselor upon his arrival at the residential facility. The facility will provide temporary shelter to these children to take them off the streets until they are reunited with their families. The family will be traced with the help of the outreach team and partner organizations. 

4) Family Reunification: After the initial contact with the child’s family, the assigned counselor will devise a thorough family assessment plan. The family support will be evaluated by conducting home visits, arranging counselor-family sessions at the DCC and telephonic sessions with families.  

5) Family Counseling: Parents and guardians of street children will be sensitized, counseled and guided about their responsibility in the development of their children through family programmes at the DCC and through community home visits.

6) Family mobilization: Families of street children will be mobilized for their role in the protection and social reintegration process. These families will be further supported and involved in the process of education, skill development, and social reintegration of their children.

7) Reintegration: After assessing the family support for a child, a complete future plan for each child will be devised by the assigned counselor with the family. Various factors will be taken into account while developing the future plan such as family’s socio-economic status, child’s history, family’s participation and child’s interests/ skills etc. The child may be referred for schooling and/or vocational skills training after being reunified with the family.

8) Formal schooling: After registration the children are given non-formal education comprised of a one-month basic literacy course to prepare them for school. With the consent of their families they are then admitted into schools in their own locality with all expenses arranged by DOST. (Admission fee, tuition fee, books, uniform).

9) Follow-up: Children who have been reintegrated with their families will be followed up for a year

Direct Beneficiaries

Progress Indicators

Year 2015

No. of children reached out and provided services

3894

No. of children reunified with their families

137

No. of children registered at DCC

4916

Number of social services

11,995

No. of  children referred for Vocational Skills Training in DCC

176

No. of children referral to other organisation

14

No. of Medical/ ASD services provided in Outreach and DCC

982/592

No. of children enrolled for formal schooling

112

No. of children received Non Formal Education

320