The girls come from all walks of life, and have been rescued from neglect, abuse or rejection and from dangerous situations in the city of Ernakulam, Kochi.
Although under the umbrella of Don Bosco, Valsalya Bhavan (Home of Compassion), girls are cared for by the staff at Vimalalayam.
Valsalya Bhavan Ammathottil is an orphanage for girls aged between 4 and 12 years of age. The building is provided by the local council. The home was established in 1997 to cater to the needs of girls in distress. Apart from formal education, the girls are provided with training in music, dance, drawing lessons, computer literacy and outings.
Valsalya Bhavan Annex is a purpose-built home for teenage girls in need of shelter and protection and was established in 2013. The girls pursue their high school education according to their age, and they also have in-house training in tailoring, music embroidery, arts and crafts and career orientation.
These opportunities help to unlock talents they never knew they had, as well as boosting their confidence. All the girls have a better life than they would have had, and many have gone on to study at university, secure good jobs and have happy marriages.
At present, 24 girls come from families at risk
4 girls were street children
7 girls had been abused
6 girls are orphans
Kerala Crafts gives support to the homes by finding sponsors for each child. This financial help goes towards food, clothing and medicines as well as extra-curricular activities, which helps each child to realise her full potential.
Such as Sajal:
Sajal was not very good at drawing pictures. During the last year, the organisation arranged a drawing teacher to teach the children with the basics of drawing. Sajal learned the techniques of pencil drawing from the sessions at the home every Saturday.
Sajal realised her drawing talents and it is very visible in pictures that she now draws.
Sajal is spending more of her free time drawing and she would like to become an artist in the future.
Don Bosco Boys Home
Don Bosco Boys' Home is one of a number of initiatives for boys and young men supported at Sneha Bhavan, Palluruthy, Kochi. It is a leading non-governmental, non-profit organisation working for underprivileged and at risk boys and was established in 1977.
Besides regular education, the boys are provided skill training and life skills education besides training in different sports and games, music and art in order to provide aptitude based multiple options for developing a career. Some of the boys have been state level champions in judo, boxing and sports events etc.
Kerala Crafts has recently been able to support this work, albeit in a small way, by purchasing handicrafts such as macrame plant holders, keyrings etc made by some of the boys, and the money is deposited into their own bank accounts for future studies and rehabilitation.
At present, 19 boys come from families at risk
9 were street children
14 had been abused
13 are orphans