Aralu Belaku project is a residential center for orphans and homeless children in Bidar district (Karnataka, India). The staff nurture these children, provide nourishment, and motivate them to join mainstream schooling; striving to help the children grow up to be productive citizens. Currently, 24 children (7 – 14 years old) live in this residential center. The ratio of girls to boys is approximately 1:1. All the children study in nearby government schools. Asha Chicago supports children’s expenses related to food, health care, daily chores, cost of their education, and field trips, etc. Asha Chicago also supports the salary of the residential staff at the center. Currently, there is a warden who lives in the residential home, along with two cooks. Since most of the children are first generation learners and come to the residential center at a very young age, a teacher conducts remedial classes at the center every evening for a few hours to help the children with their academics.
Bidar district of Karnataka is declared as a drought prone area. The basic necessities of life like food, water, shelter and fodder for cattle are scarce. The focus of the center is thus on children who end up on the street or become child laborers due to varied circumstances such as (a) death of their parents and lack of a good caring guardian, or (b) parents abandoned the children to seek work somewhere else. The children are screened and selected by Aralu staff members for rehabilitation.
ARALU, is a secular, non-profit, non-political, and non-governmental voluntary welfare organization registered under Karnataka Societies Registration Act of 1960 and also registered under Foreign Contribution Regulation Act of 1976. They operate in the backward and drought prone areas of the Bidar district in Karnataka. Long term objectives include integrated rural development, social and environmental awareness, education facilities, and develop depressed sections of the society. Their activities include education of children, child rights education, self help groups for the mahila sangha (women’s group), watershed and agricultural development program.
Aralu Belaku project is guided by the philosophy that every child must be given a safe and supportive environment in order to grow and get educated. The residential center ensures that children get a place to live, are not deprived of education, do not have to engage in child labor, and do not get drawn towards anti-social activities.
Aralu Belaku has a plantation and dairy farm to meet the food and dairy needs of the children and staff. This makes the center self sufficient to a large extent.
The children who now live and learn in this center named “Prashanti-Kutir” are slowly taking steps with the love and support of Aralu’s staff to develop into confident individuals in the future.