Mumbai, 21 July 2022: For thousands of children living in institutional care in orphanages and shelter homes, 18 is an age when they have to leave their childcare institution, the only homes they have known. These young care leavers struggle to find their feet in a world that is unfamiliar to them and where they are expected to manage without any support. A transition program is needed to give them the confidence and skills for independent living; and the physical and mental resilience required to fend for themselves at the young age of 18.
Kantar, the world’s leading marketing data and analytics company, has joined hands with Durga and WeLive Foundation, to provide a residential 3-5 years transition Bridge Program in Bengaluru for women care leavers where they can build their self-reliance in a caring environment. It is a space that will provide them a social security net and invest in preparation for an aspirational future. The program will focus on building the strength of these women on their well-being and work-readiness front.
As per a report by NGO -Make a Difference, approximately 35 million children fall in the Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) category. Nearly half a million are registered in institutional care and potentially half a million more are in institutions that are yet to register as per the 2015 amendment to the JJ Act. They could be orphans and abandoned children, children who are abused or in conflict with the law, children whose parents/legal guardians are unwilling or incapable of taking care of them or children in families at-risk or those in exploitative situations, children with disabilities, mental illness, children living with or affected by HIV/Aids.
The center in Bengaluru, launched on 17 July 2022, will accommodate 30-35 young women from across India – from Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar, Delhi, West Bengal and Karnataka. These women will study further, learn life skills and work in jobs. They will build their physical and mental strength, and receive mentorship, coaching, and guidance so that they step out as capable, resilient, independent women who can aspire for bright and prosperous futures without dependency on others.
Speaking about the partnership, Preeti Reddy, Chairwoman- Insights Division, South Asia at Kantar said, “Young women from childcare institutions face additional vulnerability on account of a lack of social support, and financial independence, which pushes them into disadvantageous situations. Kantar in collaboration with WeLive Foundation wants to provide them with a safe place where they can build their self-reliance in a caring environment. And I must congratulate the WeLive Foundation on the successful launch of the first center for young women. We are fully committed to supporting their remarkable work which aligns perfectly with Kantar’s focus on Equipping Women for Life.”
Priya Varadarajan of Durga added, “At Durga we are delighted to partner with Kantar and WeLive on this most important initiative of extending safe residential spaces for young women who leave childcare institutions. Women and girls are vulnerable already, and difficult or disturbing backgrounds only accentuate this vulnerability further. It is extremely critical to expose them to the world, taking pauses and providing tools that will enable their flight seamlessly. That’s exactly what we are set to do together – Freeing for Flight – with care, love and access as the key ingredients!”
N S Parthasarathy, Co-Founder of Mindtree Limited, Board member of WeLive Foundation, added, “WeLive has been focused on providing a comprehensive, robust program for care leavers, in a caring residential setting that will help them bridge their transition to the outside world. In collaboration with Kantar and Durga, we are delighted to start our first centre for young women, who lack a support system – a space where they can learn, thrive, and get ready for independent living.”