New Delhi: In an attempt to create a basket of employment opportunities for Chandigarh’s street children, who otherwise subsist on rag picking and shoe shining, the Administration has earmarked 4.15 acres of land for construction of a special vocational training centre that will come up in 18 months and will house 900 children.

Gen. SF Rodrigues, inaugurating the project

The project is going to be executed by the Chandigarh Housing Board at an estimated cost of 7.40 crore, to be reimbursed by the Administration in due course.

According to Governor Punjab and Administrator Chandigarh, Gen. (Retd) S F Rodrigrues, who laid the foundation stone, “our attempt is to harmonize this and similar initiatives like the Chandigarh Child Protection Programme, drug deaddiction programme in colonies and slums, direct intervention in educational facilities targeted at the poor and Midday Meal Programme in schools, for only then can the community claim to be growing and developing."

Centre’s charter

* Reach out to homeless, abandoned and runaway street children, youth and their families

* Provide counselling services and provide options that are healthy and not abusive and hazardous in any way

* Provide medical care, balanced and healthy nutrition, education, vocational and employment training placement and recreational services

Model plan: To be ready by 2009


*Children between 5 to 18 years of age (who work on streets, runaways, whose single parents work on the streets, those displaced by natural disasters or any other reason, orphans and from HIV/AIDS affected families)

* Referrals from Child Welfare Committee


* Training courses would be offered in computers, electrical appliances, electronics repair/assembling services, beauty culture, cutting, tailoring and embroidery, motor mechanic, carpentry, food processing, dress designing

* Activities of the Institute would be governed by a committee under the aegis of the Social Welfare Department, Chandigarh

* Involve active NGOs, like the Don Bosco Navjeevan Centre which has been consistently working with homeless children