Children’s Home for Girls
(constituted under the Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000
A Home to Feel at Home
The Alaigal Children’s Home for Girls was established on 13 June 2002 in partnership with the Department of Social Defense of the Government of Tamil Nadu and Association Alaigal Zurich, Switzerland. The name ‘ALAIGAL’ means ‘Waves’ and represents the aspiration of the project-to bring about waves of change for children in need.
The children in the Home come from various difficult and dire circumstances, including children:
- Rescued from begging,
- Who are destitute or abandoned
- Who have been abused physically and/or sexually or who are being abused or are likely to be abused or exploited for immoral or illegal purposes or unconscionable gain
- Rescued from child labour or bonded labour
- From poor or broken families or who are homeless or have unfit parents
- Who are physically challenged or affected by chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS
- Rescued by the government system and sent to the Home for rehabilitation
In the late 1990s, the Government of India considered changes to the approach and attitude towards children in need of care and protection, moving from a needs-based to a rights-based approach. This led to the implementation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, which is the main law in India dealing with juvenile justice and the care and protection of children. The Act states that it is the law relating to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, by providing for proper care, protection and treatment by catering to their development needs, and by adopting a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposition of matters in the best interest of children and for their ultimate rehabilitation through various institutions established under the Act. It also emphasises that the Indian Constitution imposes on the State a primary responsibility to ensure that all the needs of children are met and that their basic human rights are fully protected, and that the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, which India signed and ratified in 1992, emphasises social reintegration of child victims, to the extent possible, without resorting to judicial proceedings.
The Alaigal Children’s Home for Girls was constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, and thus the Tamil Nadu Government licensed Tdh CORE Trust to trial the Home under the new approaches, guidance and principles set out in the Act and guidance - initially 45 children came from the Chennai Government Children’s Home. Under the framework of the Act, the aims of the Home, include protecting neglected juveniles from social harm or harassment, developing every child’s potential caring for every child affectionately, promoting the individual character and abilities of each child, rehabilitating every child where required and where possible reintegrating every child to their family to live with the love of the parents. At the beginning of this initiative the Government followed a ‘lock and key system’ for children in ned of care and protection. This traditional system was not followed at ALAIGAL, with the children being ‘set free’ to attend school outside and express their needs and rights.
Due to the nature of the Home, most of the children are admitted and referred by the State Government, in particular, Child Welfare Committees (Judicial Competent Authorities) from Tiruvannamalai, Vellore, Villupuam, Cuddalore, Coimbatore and Chennai Districts. The children are range in age from 6 to 18 years and are provided with care and protection until they reach 18 years or completion of their education / job oriented vocational training.
Presently, Alaigal has four houses, each run by a devoted and loving House Mother, a cook and a Project Manager called ‘Akka’ (elder sister) and preferably accommodating 30 girls. A total of 284 children with various difficulties have been admitted into ALAIGAL since its inception, with presently 129 children resident which is more than the allotted maximum number. During the past 12 years, 155 children have completed their education, vocational training, job-oriented courses and / or been restored with their parent(s), got married, obtained jobs and been able to move on with their lives.
Love the Children and Let live them as Children!