India is home to the largest child population in the world. The Children in the nation comprise more than 40% of the total population of India. India’s children are India’s future as strength of the nation lies in a healthy, protected, educated and well-developed child population that will grow up to be productive citizens of the country. It is estimated that around 170 million or 40 per cent of India’s children are vulnerable to or experience difficult circumstances. According to National Crime Records Bureau, there were 26694 incidences of crime against children in the year 2010. These official data and the experiences of YaR forum in working with children are the inspiring factors that led to the implementation of the Caring Community Project with an aim to build a community which cares for its children especially those who are in deplorable and vulnerable situation. The experiences of YaR forum is that we need to move more into networking with the community and empowering it rather than working in isolation.
It is our YaR Forum experience that the interventions have been more effective and transformative wherever YaR carried them out in close collaboration with the community. Our learning is that we need to move more into this mode – networking with the community and empowering it – rather than working in isolation. In this way society owns its responsibility for reaching out to and caring for its at-risk young people. This is the concept behind Caring Communities.
This project is being carried out in ten YaR Center in the country – one YaR center from wach province for a period of two years (January 2011 – December 2012) . The centers are, Bosco Mangaal Imphal, Snehalaya Guwahati, Don Bosco Ashalayam Howrah, Don Bosco Ashayalam Delhi, Shelter Don Bosco Wadala Mumbai, Margaret Bosco Bal Sadhan Goa, BOSCO Bangalore, Don Bosco Anbu Illam Coimbatore, Don Bosco Anbu Illam Kavarappettai and Navajeevan Vijayawada. The caring communities are working to make the community/society to care for the children and the young at risk and the caring communities centers are trying to achieve this goal through collaboration and working with civil society groups, children’s clubs, youth volunteering groups, collaboration with government and allied systems, networking with NGOs, promoting alternative forms of care for the young at risk etc,. The project is being successfully carried out in all the ten centers by implanting the spirit of caring community in the YaR centers and in their initiatives.