Ashiyana means ‘a safe and beautiful home’, that sprouted from a simple idea to paint the bare walls of Umerkhadi Children’s Home in 2012, to make the space feel like a ‘home’ for children.
Since September 2013, we have been investing our energies and efforts towards working as catalysts that connect resources to the needs of the existing system, to transform the lives of the children in Umerkhadi Observation and Children’s Home and David Sassoon Industrial Home.
It all started way back in 2012 with volunteers who wanted to bring colour to the barren walls of the Children’s Home. Each Sunday children and volunteers came together to paint a large mural on the walls of the Home. The constant presence and meaningful interactions led us to respond to other needs in the home. Soon we started a library, playing games, screening films and even began address-tracing and looking for children’s families. The most important thing we did was to simply spend time with the children, and as we spent time, we identified more and more opportunities for change.
In order to fully manifest these changes and to give the children an environment to thrive in, we needed to work full-time hand in hand with the Children’s Home as well as other related government bodies and NGOs. Ashiyana today has full-time staff that run the daily projects as well as projects which are completely volunteer driven. We work in closed institutions to create a safe and happy space for children which enables them to experience love, care and trust. A space for self reflection and building positive connection that helps the children in their personal growth and transformation.
The Way Forward
The work of the last two years has created a strong base of relationships and goodwill for the Ashiyana team among the Children’s Aid Society, NGOs and most importantly, the children themselves. We are moving towards an integrated programme with efforts focused on healing, transformation and growth of the children and bringing about systemic changes by establishing a new culture of working within the Home. We are also preparing ourselves to take on advocacy roles to support the work in the home and organising ourselves within the team to collaborate with other stakeholders more effectively.