The year in a nutshell
2020 is a special year for everyone. Covid-19 has the world in its grip and its effects are clearly visible in the Net4kids project countries. The safety and health of the Rainbow girls and staff have been our top priority since March 2020. Shortly after the outbreak of the virus, Rainbow Foundation India established hygiene and other precautions to prevent contamination in the homes as much as possible. It was ensured that all Homes had a stock of at least two months, both in terms of food and other necessities for the children. The Homes were also closed for unnecessary visitors. Partly because of this, the number of infections has been limited to 46 children and 6 staff members. All were fully recovered and healthy by the end of the year. Hygiene is important. The children wash their hands thoroughly on a regular basis and make sure to keep a distance from each other, especially when sleeping. They also wash themselves and their clothes well, of course. Sessions on mental health have been organized for the staff to avoid that kids become stressed or anxious. They are well informed about the pandemic and what they can do themselves. For example, everyone (any age) was told what the symptoms are and that it is important to eat a healthy diet and take plenty of vitamin C.
About the project
Rainbow Homes provide shelter and education for street girls in India. By making use of existing infrastructures, the schools, a large reach is immediately achieved and a real impact is made. A structural change in the approach to street children problems. The guidance and support of the girls is aimed at offering safety, reintegration into society and independence. In addition to education and medical care, empowerment plays an important role in the Rainbow Homes program.
Despite the pandemic, there is still freedom to have fun together. After 5 months, among other things, the dance lessons resumed and there were a few more festivals. Such as Independence Day on August 15th. On this day in the morning the flags were raised and beautiful song and dance performed. These moments are very important for the girls in the homes at this time.
There are currently 238 girls in the two homes supported by Net4kids. 138 in Loreto Bowbazar (Calcutta) and 100 in Kushi (Delhi). In 2020 27 children left these Rainbow Homes. 18 girls of these turned 18 years old and therefore old enough to walk their own path. The Home team is in close contact with these girls, because emotional and financial support is crucial in these difficult times. In the past six months, 7 children became seriously ill (no corona). They are all better now. In Kushi, 3 children and 1 staff member had tested positive for corona, but fortunately had no symptoms.
At work in 2021
The (online) education will also continue in the coming year, but is progressing slowly. 11 (new) girls are now in the Bridge Course (bridging year to regular education), but due to the corona virus, they cannot now go to regular education. That is of course very difficult. It is very difficult for the team members to keep an overview of the children when they are busy with their online lesson. In the Rainbow Homes all children are spread over different classes and schools. Nevertheless, the team members are still positive about their work and the support they receive (training and sessions) to get started in practice. They are beautiful role models for these vulnerable girls, full of decisiveness.