Michelle’s Friday Project Update: Bal Ashram Trust

Today I am going to share information about GO’s partner Bal Ashram Trust, an organization established in 1998 to aid children rescued by Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize winner, during his efforts to end child exploitation and slavery in India.

Organization: Bal Ashram Trust
Location: Jaipur, India

Context: GO’s Local Hero, Kailash Satyarthi, has been a tireless advocate of children’s rights for over three decades. His grassroots movement, Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), has liberated more than 84,000 children from exploitation and developed a successful model for helping them reintegrate into their communities.

Background: BBA created Bal Ashram Trust as a rehabilitation centre for children rescued from child slavery. At Bal Ashram, children receive non-formal education, vocational training, and psychosocial counseling to help them overcome their traumatic pasts and regain a sense of normalcy. Since its inception, Bal Ashram has rehabilitated over 2000 children.

Current Status: In December 2015, GO Campaign approved a grant for $29,012 to support Bal Ashram’s vocational training school for boy rescued from bonded labor as well as to help the ashram expand their program to reach 40 girls living in nearby villages. Without this assistance, these children have limited opportunities for education, employment, and advancement.

Meet Kavita

Kavita is 17 years old. After her father died, her older brother was responsible for supporting the entire family which included her, her mother and eight siblings on his merger wages. When Kavita heard about the vocational training program at Bal Ashram, she joined immediately. At the ashram, she participated in a four month beautician course. This program was a turning point in Kavita’s life. After completion, she started a beauty parlor in her home. It was the first salon in her village. Once opened, girls started coming to her for haircuts. Due to her skill, Kavita is now the go-to stylist for all wedding parties! She is earning 4000 INR ($40) per month and is financially independent; Kavita’s income is equivalent to her entire family’s earnings. She is helping relieve her family’s financial burden and is even able to pay her younger siblings’ school fees. Kavita is thankful for the opportunity to learn a trade and become an entrepreneur!