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ECCD

St Michael’s Home, a Registered Society, was founded in 1922, by the Good Shepherd Sisters, to create a space for society’s unwanted: abandoned babies and unwed mothers. Starting out with just an adoption centre, St Michael’s Home has expanded its services to offer a Holistic Health Centre on campus, and has implemented a slum Outreach programme, working in 12 Balwadis in Varthur and Uttarahalli.

Support for unwed mothers begins with the privacy afforded by the extensive and serene grounds, and is bolstered by the insistence on confidentiality by the sisters. They have free, regular medical check-ups for these women since 1975, and they are encouraged to seek counselling from the visiting qualified social worker. Supplemented by lessons in hygiene, dabbling in cooking and gardening, these mothers and their children, are well taken care of by the staff of eight, as is apparent from the fact that they continue to keep in touch with the sisters long after they have left.

The Slum Outreach Programme was started in 1992, and the sisters continue to work with a range of children, from the age of three upwards. The numbers begin with 20, to which one teacher and one ayah are dedicated, and swell to 50, where there are two teachers. Using the play-way method, and teaching aids like blocks and toys for the alphabet and numbers, the sisters hope that an early introduction to education will pave the way for these children to pursue higher studies.

The sisters always look towards upgrading their skills and have attended a number of workshops for pre-school training, and work with a number of organisations (Women’s Voice, Vimochana, Sutradhar, Domestic Workers’ Union, Working Children’s Forum, Mahila Ukkoota, to name a few).

St Michael’s Home is entirely dependent on the generosity of its benefactors and volunteers, and welcomes donations, toys, books, and opportunities to further train and empower its sisters. The Good Shepherd Sisters also run Chaitanya, a shelter for street children.

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