Sneha Care Home (SCH)
Sneha Care Home (SCH) is a residential program for HIV-positive children in rural Bangalore. It is managed by the Sneha Charitable Trust. There are over 150 children, between the ages of 4 to 13 in the program. Most of these children have lost their parent(s), are ostracized by their families and communities and have virtually no basic rights and no education opportunities to learn, grow and get re-integrated back into society.
SCH’s intervention model is an attempt to create an environment that would help these children grow and become beautiful human beings, who would live their lives joyfully and responsibly, by comprehensively addressing their multifaceted needs and preparing them for productive and constructive lives. The program aims to meet the long term needs like childhood development, adolescent issues, personality development, need-based education, value system to sustain them for life, employment, family and community acceptance. It provides a platform to protect the children from exploitation, abuse, violence and discrimination in the absence of their parents.
The first phase, “Sneha Care Home,” addresses the needs of pre-adolescent children who are inherently very impressionable. The focus is on building confidence and self-esteem while inculcating morals and ethics. In a nurturing environment, children are provided educational and recreational opportunities, adequate nutrition and healthcare, and psychosocial support. HIV status disclosure is done in a sensitive and responsible manner along with teaching the children how to deal with social stigmas associated with their status.
Shining Star School is SCH’s academic program. It is a residential school with a comprehensive curriculum that includes health care and attention for each child. The school increases their confidence level and self-esteem and provides a platform for them to bloom and blossom. The school follows the National Open School System tailored to suit each individual child based on their aptitude and intelligence. This value-based formation will enable these children to reintegrate back into their communities as confident and productive adults.
Snehagram is a residential program for adolescents infected with HIV in rural Tamil Nadu, India. It is the second phase, of the Sneha program to address the needs of HIV+ adolescents. There over 50 children, between the ages of 13 to 18 in the program. Most of these children have lost their parent(s), and normal growth and development in their homes or communities has been difficult.
The construction of the Snehagram facility commenced in September 2012. In the summer of 2013, the first class of graduates from Sneha Care Home successfully transitioned to their new home and school at Snehagram.
The focus at Snehagram is on aptitude recognition and skill development and practical integration back into their communities. Adolescents are encouraged to understand their HIV status and the responsibilities associated with being HIV infected. The life skills and personality development programs coupled with aptitude-based vocational training allows our adolescents a productive and responsible citizenship in the community.
The children are given special learning assistance for completing their secondary and higher secondary level of education under the National Open School ( NIOS) system. Under this program each child can choose a subject according to his or her aptitude and orientation for future job placement. The scholastic performance of each child is kept under close watch and necessary correctional actions are made during their schooling. The teachers will provide guidance and assistance in classroom settings.
Snehagram imparts job oriented classes and vocational. It provides the youth with skills required for them to get a job and have stable income. Some of the areas for skill training are electronics, computer programming, language and communication, customer care services, BPO, crafts and tailoring and embroidery based on their skill levels.
Learn for Life Foundation is proud to announce the sponsorship and establishment of the TV Vareed Learn for Life Center at Snehagram. The Learn for Life Center will offer online education and vocational training under the guidelines of the National Institute of Open Schooling (http://www.nios.ac.in/)
NIOS is an autonomous organization established by the Ministry of Human Resource Development of the Government of India. NIOS provides academic courses at the elementary, secondary and high school level and is vested with the authority to certify registered students with a Senior Secondary Certification recognized by the Association of Indian Universities. NIOS also offers a number of vocational, life enrichment and community oriented courses.
Globally, over 60 million children do not receive a primary school education and over 37% of the children do not reach secondary school. Traditional class-room education, especially in underdeveloped communities around the world has failed in part due to the lack of trained teachers. The Learn for Life Center is pioneering a blended model with online courses from NIOS complemented by mentors who serve as guides based on their availability.
Mr. TV Vareed, the father of Jet Engine Design in India, was educated in India and the UK, worked at Rolls Royce Engines, and returned to India to develop India’s first jet engine at Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). He mentored thousands of young men and women during a career spanning over 30 years. The center is being named in memory of his passion for education in India.
The center continues to expand with new computers, equipment and teachers. To donate, please click on the Donate Page and specify “Learn for Life Center” in the Comments section.
The Gulu Project
In the spring of 2016, Learn for Life Foundation founder Matthew Thekkethala did consulting work for the Ugandan nonprofit Comboni Samaritans of Gulu as part a Yale University Net Impact Social Entrepreneurship project.
Comboni Samaritans of Gulu (CSG) is staffed by local Ugandan professionals who understand the unique needs, educational challenges, and health issues of the community. They have firsthand experience helping the local population solve the area’s pervasive health and educational challenges.
CSG was founded in 1992, initially in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and has operated continuously throughout the civil war. They currently provide retroviral medication to more than 6,000 individuals affected by HIV/AIDS. Their Education for Life programs — which use music, drama, and dance to create awareness about HIV/AIDS, its transmission, and its prevention — reach thousands of young people throughout the region.
In addition to their great work with HIV/AIDS, the CSG’s health, education, and youth programs support thousands of orphans and other vulnerable children. They provided classrooms, teacher housing, and sanitary facilities for more than 3,000 rural students, and they’ve helped construct six schools in the region.