Education and employment opportunities are scarce for young men living in urban slums in Mumbai. The protections provided to children through labor laws (that prohibit hazardous and dangerous work) and enabling the child’s right to education are withdrawn when children turn 14. The pressure to earn coupled with the impulsiveness and experimentation of adolescence leads some youth to drugs, alcohol, unsafe sex, criminal activity and other risk taking behavior. The use of drugs is closely associated with anti-social behavior and higher crime rates as well as increased risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. Furthermore, poverty and lack of opportunities for employment, education, and recreation lead youth to engage in illegal activities; 56% of all crimes in the country are committed by youth. In 2011, Maharashtra had the second highest rate of child offenders (i.e. offences committed by children under 18). Of child offenders, almost 64% are 16-18 years old. Research shows that almost 50% of boys in these environments experience sexual or physical violence and abuse.
Aangan Trust was founded in 2002 to address the needs of youth under custody of the state – whether in welfare, institutional, criminal, or judicial systems. They developed art-based programs to rehabilitate institutionalized youth and prepare them for living in the outside world as well as programs for children born in prison. As an advocate for youth, Aangan has developed training curricula for practitioners to transform state institutions using the framework of children’s rights principles. From working with youth already “within the system’’, they have broadened their scope to focus on at-risk youth from poor and marginalized communities. Aangan has separate programs for boys and for girls that attend to the particular needs of each. It is one of very few programs working with at-risk boys as a specific group.
Primary Location: Mumbai
Funded Since: 2009
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