The H.E.L.G.O. CHILD LABOUR PROJECT is a manageable organisation:
Along with our Indian partners we support approximately 100 former child labourers at two locations in Kolkata/Howrah.
Considering the 40 million Indian child labourers this might seem like a drop in the ocean but we know that we are able to focus on each and every child in the project. We know his/her background, we can help him/her get through all those years of schooling and in cases of emergency we can also help the family.
Various ways lead to H.E.L.G.O. Very often our employees notice the children during the course of their work; sometimes the parents approach us directly.
Basically, although it is absolutely no problem to find children for the project; it is moreover a problem finding a way to select the right children from the hundreds of registrations we receive. They are either already child labourers or are imminently threatened to becoming one.
The basic prerequisite to be accepted in the project is that the parents have to agree to their child attending school for ten years with no incidents of child labour during this period. Our social workers will also pay visits to the family to convince themselves that the child really is not affected by child labour.
As a rule, the children come to the project when between six and eight years old. As far as possible we try to send the children to a school where the language of instruction is English but should this not be possible the children will attend a school where the subjects are taught in either Hindi or Bengali.
The freshly enrolled children must first go through a probationary year to see if they are sufficiently committed to their new task in life and also to see if they can socially integrate adequately. Even when the children have declared their commitment to learning, there will always be the occasional case of one or the other terminating their schooling. At the end of the probationary year they have then become real project children and know that H.E.L.G.O. will accompany them side by side for all those years until they have then completed their education.
The parents are then compensated for the loss of earnings in the form of foodstuffs. (Refer to the submenu “Food”).
We try to ensure that the number of boys and girls are equally represented in the project.
Our objective, which we don't always achieve, is to send the children to school until the tenth class. Some of the more talented children can continue for two more years at school. Once they have completed their schooling we organise an appropriate vocational training for each project child.
It is only on completion of this vocational training that we really do regard our objective as having been fulfilled. The young person is now in a position to lead his own life and ensure a materially secure basis for his children.
We cooperate with various Indian organisations who we help in their endeavours to support children from the poorest of families so as to receive a school education.
Examples thereof are Samaritan Help Mission in Tikiapara, Hamari Muskan - South Kolkata or Ankur Kala. Consequently we are in a position to ensure that many children will receive a school education.
Our network reaches out to even more co-operations. We support NGOs who in return help our children. For example we cooperate with a vocational training unit from Don Bosco or Howrah South Point which is also supported by the organisation German Doctors who give a helping hand should any of our children become seriously ill.