Supporting vulnerable adolescent boys in difficult situations : Some stories from the field


Helping Naveen Blosson

When Naveen, a 14 year old boy studying in 7 standard joined  programme, he seemed very immature for his age. He faced separation anxiety when he first came, and cried that he wanted to go back to his mother. Through many of the initial sessions, he was disturbing others and it was difficult to understand if he was even following what was going on. He often spoke completely irrelevant things. Academically, he was not upto the expected levels, he could barely write his name.

Over the last 18 months, Naveen has changed significantly. Apart from coming to life skills sessions, Samraksha encouraged his grandmother who was living with him, to start teaching him the basics of Kannada alphabets, and also provided her suitable material. Today, his mother feels he is showing interest in his studies. “He sits down voluntarily to study every day, at least for an hour”, she shares. He has had to take a long leave from his school, due to a serious leg injury, but he is motivated to get back as soon as possible. “He is telling me, they have given my place and my books to someone else, I need to get back as soon as possible.” Nagaraj himself wants to make sure he writes his exams, despite the long absence from school. 

Over the months, Samraksha team observed that he is less disruptive in the sessions. Also, his reflections and summary of the sessions were very deep. His mother also talks about a maturity in his understanding of other people and is also giving her advice. She elaborates, “If I have a quarrel with my mother, he tells me not to take it to heart. Perhaps my mother is having a hard day in the fields (which she manages), and because of that, she may be angry with us.  He tells me not to  bother about it.”

Naveen is an example of a participant who is benefiting from the discipline and regularity of the sessions and the chance to step away from the protective space of his family. He is discovering self-confidence and age appropriate behavior. 



HELPING ravi find security and companionship

Ravi is another extremely vulnerable child. He has lost both his parents, and lives with his grandmother and paternal relatives. He has faced neglect and even abuse in his family. When he joined the programme, he was withdrawn, angry. He believed his parents had been killed by black magic.

Within this programme, Ravi has found friendship and a sense of security. He is very regular in the programme and keeps dropping into the office to interact with staff. During sessions, he would seem very distracted, but he reveals a good understanding of the content of the session and is even using them. “Earlier, when I got angry, I used to hit out at others. Now, I tear paper into little bits, count from 100 to 0 or walk out of the room,” he shared, when asked about how he manages anger.

As a largely neglected child, Ravi’s health was also very poor. He shared that he was not regularly taking his medicines, nor paying attention to what he ate because he did not understand its importance. But now he is determined to care for himself. “I know it is important to take medicines regularly. I also eat properly now. I am disciplined and neat,” he added.

The most important change of course is that Ravi is feeling supported and secure. He believes if he is in trouble, there are people who will support him. “I have friends. I am sure one of them will support me,” he adds emotionally. “For me, there are only friends

Vinay now is very changed. when he comes to attend sessions, he is outgoing, even mischievous. at school he was getting fair grades, and with samraksha’s support he is also picking up in subjects he was finding difficult. despite all the turbulence in the family, his father is also reaching out and supporting him, and this is making him feel good.

HELPING ajay find a moral compass

Ajay, a 15 year old boy has lost both his parents, and is living with his maternal grandparents. He has been a very sincere participant in the programme and has not missed any sessions over the last 18 months.

When asked how he has benefited from the programme, AJay had this to share, “I see myself as a better person now. I know what is right and what is wrong. Earlier, if I wanted money to go to Jathre and they didn’t give me, I would simply take it away from home, or pick up some money from the floor. But now I know it is wrong. I know I should not take away these things. I should be able to earn them.”

He also shared that he has become more hardworking after coming to this programme. “I wake up early in the morning. I study, I don’t waste my time. Whenever possible, I study.” His teachers have also become more encouraging, he adds. “She tells me, continue studying like this, you will definitely pass. I need to do my 10 well and study further. Only then, I will get a good job.”

Overall, Ajay said the programme has taught him discipline, and a way of interacting with the world. “I have learnt that we should be neat, systematic, and behave with others, the way they behave with you. Just like they talk to us respectfully, we should also do the same.”

Ajay is an example of a particularly vulnerable child, growing up with no parents. Although loved and cared by his family, there is little adult supervision. This programme has helped him clarify his moral values, taught him ways of interacting with the world, and also helped develop his aspirations to study well. Within the group, he has grown as a leader and is cited by most of his fellow participants as one of their best friends from the programme. 

samraksha inspirations


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UPDATES

  • The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
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    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
    The Samraksha team has benefited immensely from the 10 sessions on child development which was conducted by Dr. Mary George, a child development specialist from Singapore. The sessions were conducted on Zoom and Dr. Mary made great efforts to share the latest theories on child development with the team. The sessions were very useful for Samraksha to understand critical aspects of child development including emotional development and moral development and the role of relationships and environment in child's growth.
  • People living with HIV have frequent opportunistic infections which require immediate medical and nursing support. Otherwise, it can lead to very serious health consequences. For example, oral candida, a common fungal infection among people living with HIV, if left untreated spreads rapidly to the aesophagus. It then becomes very difficult for the patients to swallow anything, and rapidly, this can lead to severe malnutrition. During the lockdown, it is difficult for them to access services, and given their already weak immune system, it is not even advised that they venture out to seek these services. Hence Samraksha has mobilized a home care nurse, who makes home visits to these people, and based on the assessment, holds tele-consultation with the doctors and prescribes appropriate treatment.
    x
    People living with HIV have frequent opportunistic infections which require immediate medical and nursing support. Otherwise, it can lead to very serious health consequences. For example, oral candida, a common fungal infection among people living with HIV, if left untreated spreads rapidly to the aesophagus. It then becomes very difficult for the patients to swallow anything, and rapidly, this can lead to severe malnutrition. During the lockdown, it is difficult for them to access services, and given their already weak immune system, it is not even advised that they venture out to seek these services. Hence Samraksha has mobilized a home care nurse, who makes home visits to these people, and based on the assessment, holds tele-consultation with the doctors and prescribes appropriate treatment.
  • Samraksha team is regularly in touch with the adolescent boys and girls we are working with in this time of COVID lockdown. We are linking them to support systems where needed, and providing a space for them to share their fears and anxieties when they are facing many health related and economic difficulties. We are also ensuring that people living with HIV get their medicines and nutrition, to ensure they are keeping healthy.
    x
    Samraksha team is regularly in touch with the adolescent boys and girls we are working with in this time of COVID lockdown. We are linking them to support systems where needed, and providing a space for them to share their fears and anxieties when they are facing many health related and economic difficulties. We are also ensuring that people living with HIV get their medicines and nutrition, to ensure they are keeping healthy.
  • Holiday Time !! Its been a exciting week in Samraksha, with the children getting together for various programmes. Vistar Rangashale facilitated a theatre workshop for some participants in the boys programme. Some of the older boys had an exposure trip to Bangalore and Mysore, where they could explore the history, culture and natural beauty of these places. The girls meanwhile had exciting exposure visits to ancient monuments in North Karnataka which are part of Karnataka's rich history, The younger girls are also planning to visit the famous zoo in Binkadkatti.
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    Holiday Time !! Its been a exciting week in Samraksha, with the children getting together for various programmes. Vistar Rangashale facilitated a theatre workshop for some participants in the boys programme. Some of the older boys had an exposure trip to Bangalore and Mysore, where they could explore the history, culture and natural beauty of these places. The girls meanwhile had exciting exposure visits to ancient monuments in North Karnataka which are part of Karnataka's rich history, The younger girls are also planning to visit the famous zoo in Binkadkatti.