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Saathi Youth Resource Centre

February, 2013

In June 2006, a new centre, Saathi Centre, was begun at the Kalyanpuri Police Station. The origin of this centre lies in the use of the Right To Information (RTI) Act by a community outreach programme coordinator who sought to report a stolen mobile phone. This was the first instance of use of the RTI at this police station, and the resulting conversations led not only to compensation for the phone, but also to an invitation to ISST to open a centre for children at the police station. High crime rates in the Kalyanpuri area are also associated with high drop-out rates from area schools. The Kalyanpuri Police Station has provided space and basic amenities for the centre, while ISST provides the staff and the 'software'. SAATHI Centre is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, six days a week. ISST envisions that this unique partnership will serve as a model for other police stations and partnerning organisations.

While a desire to earn or increase one's earnings may be a key motivation behind the participation of many of the adolescents in ISST's community outreach programme, it is heartening to find evidence of 'empowerment', whether it is through the scripts of the plays written and performed by Nakshatra, the youth theatre group; through youth use of the RTI to enable school admissions and the sale of rations at subsidised prices; or through the emerging confidence of the children as they manage various activities at the centre. The educational programme's focus on encouraging children to critically examine their own situations and to collectively find ways to deal with problems, is an ingredient missing from most school curricula.

NFI Funding - The National Foundation for India is presently supporting three major activities at the SAATHI Centre: computer literacy, the theatre group and the discussion group.

Major ProgrammeActivities at the Youth Resource Centre:

  • Computer literacy training
  • Theatre group for adolescents from slum neighborhoods and resettlement colonies
  • Educational and recreational activities for children
  • Periodic workshops on socially and vocationally relevant issues
  • Discussion group for adolescent boys and girls to encourage interaction and share information
  • Counselling for children-both behavioral and vocational training guidance
  • English speaking and personality development
  • Children's library