Education, socialization, prevention, cultural and sport activities, trust winning are the main components of the shelter program, which aims at dealing with the several needs street children daily meet and at giving them the necessary tools to be able to respond to the dangers they face.
Besides the three hours of daily education, in the morning and the evening, many single moments are dedicated to discussions, in a prospect of informal education and social reinsertion. In the same way, we encourage a lot the children who wish to try another way than the labor and the street.
Nevertheless it is important, in our view, to respect the reasons for which many children hang on their job. The few rupees they earn can help to cover the needs of an entire family and although child work remains unacceptable, it is a hard fact in Nepal today.
Every day, during three hours, the children have the opportunity to attend alphabetization and socialization classes. To learn how to read, to write, to count, to be aware of the dangers of drugs and illicit sexual relations, to learn the rules of social life… are assets we want to provide with our young boarders.
The shelter is open to all children; we certainly do not have any criteria of selection linked to the cast, the history or the status of the child. Moreover, we incite our children to go back home as soon as possible when they still have a family structure remaining. In the same way, for the children who have just arrived in the capital and who do not have any labor experience but the bad habits of the street (drugs, criminal activities…), we try to direct them to an organization that is able to take them in charge and, if possible, to send them back home. In brief, the children who come to the shelter are those who have made the choice to stay in the street, to try to survive in it and to find a job. In our view, it is important to respect their choices, whatever the motivations might be.
The main part of the socialization process is carried out directly by the child. Our member-boarders are directly involved in the management of the life of the shelter. We try to make them understand that they are home there and that, consequently, they have rights but also duties.
Summary of the activities taking place in the shelter:
1- The Kitchen Club: The children manage the kitchen themselves. Every day, two children in the morning and two others in the evening are in charge of the cooking of rice, lentils and vegetables for all the CPCS children and staff. Those who have not attended classes from 9am to 10.30am or from 4.30pm to 6.00pm have to pay 5 rupees to get a meal, what is valid for both the morning and the evening. These 5 rupees are requested in a participatory logic. The child worker earns a little money and is inclined to spend it on cigarettes, drugs, sweets… while saving it or keeping it for food is a much more complex step that is important to teach him. Simply receiving disparages the person. If he can contribute, give in return, the child will feel responsible.
2- Education time: Two times a day, from 9.30am to 11.00am or from 4.15pm to 6.00pm, teachers and social workers propose to the children alphabetisation, socialisation and health lessons. These classes are not compulsory and our children are free to participate. If he decides to attend a class, the child does not have to contribute to the shelter expenses of 5 rupees. It is a small additional motivation that makes the difference between those who choose to work in the street and those who decide to learn. If one day he does not find a job and does not have money in our bank, the child knows that if he attends a class, he can stay free of charge.
3- Self-management: The children manage the refuge themselves. It has been created according to their request and they have the responsibility of its order and good development. Except for the 15 basic rules, everything else is dependent on living rules enacted by the children themselves.
4- Street Bank: We have recently launched the street bank to make the children aware of the benefits of saving money through the bank and to further protect the children from having their money stolen by street gangs such as the Junkyard Owner and Junky boys.
5- Lock Deposits: Children who sleep in the shelter can put their belongings in locked deposit boxes. Each child has his key. This system allows the children to sleep safely, without having to worry about their small patrimony (clothes, shoes and valuables) while they are at the shelter.
6- Library: The shelter library contains books on many different subjects and is used by many children each day.
7- Daily activities: Every day, from noon to 3pm, we propose to the children present several activities, socialisation by means of sport, education and culture (karate training, music classes and football matches and tournaments,…).