We believe that the most engaged, productive and inspiring members of society are those who were able to grow their mind and body during childhood.
Shaishav provides children from marginalized communities the space and inspiration to work their own way out of difficult circumstances. Knowing that what people learn for themselves will be the things that last with them forever.
What We Do
Shaishav is a grassroots volunteer organization working with slum children in the town of Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Everyone here knows education is important, but the pressure to earn is often greater and children end up labouring in diamond polishing, plastic recycling, baking, sari weaving. It has never occurred to these children that they might have choices, or the potential to one day shape society around them.
Shaishav is about much more than just getting child labourers into education. Education forms only one part of a child’s development. It needs to be reinforced with a moral element too. In spite of all the threats these children face from their surroundings, our activities equip them to bring about change in matters that affect their lives and ultimately become good human beings, who go on to improve their communities.
How We Do It
There’s no top-down lecturing about morals and values, no condescension. children are treated as full human beings. Through subtle teaching methods based on group activities and discussion, we enable children to make sense of the world around them, reach their own conclusions about how they should treat others, and ask for the things they have a right to. Children have full ownership of the process of change: they hold children’s councils, elect leaders, make decisions about how Shaishav is run and where it’s needed in their community. They even lobby for more child friendly societies at a local and national level.
Shaishav children are unlike any you’ll have met. They are entirely without judgement, they’re articulate and considerate. They’re able to have rational conversations with their families and communities about issues that affect their lives, like going to school, being friends with the opposite sex and other castes, marrying young. These children are changing long-entrenched attitudes all over their community.
Many of the staff are former Shaishav children themselves. When you meet a young adult who has been through Shaishav, what impresses you isn’t that they’re an entrepreneur, teacher or college student. Many of them are, but more importantly they are thoroughly decent, thoughtful, open minded and generous people.
A society that is safe and allows all children and youth to achieve their inherent potential and become responsible and empathetic citizens who further justice, peace and sustainable development while enriching society.
To engage children and youth (particularly the underprivileged) in innovative, educational and fun ways while facilitating peer-to-peer learning and nurturing the values of independent thought, friendship and solidarity.
We ensure that children know their rights, remain protected from all forms of abuse and have the support to work collectively to ensure their rights and grow into empowered and democratic leaders of social change.