When Nobel Peace Laureate Shri. Kailash Satyarthi, Smt. Sumedha Kailash and activists of Bachpan Bachao Andolan were rescuing children from child labour, child trafficking and child slavery, they realised the need for holistic rehabilitation for the children. They envisioned a home-away from home that offers love, care and protection, along with the tools the children need to grow and also continue to fight for the rights of those still suffering in silence.
Thus, ‘Bal Ashram’ was founded in Viratnagar, Rajasthan in 1998. When the Bal Ashram Trust team was working with the nearby communities, they realized the need for systemic and structural change, especially against millennia old traditions and belief-systems. Further to combat complex issues like child marriage, child labour and child trafficking, Bal Ashram Trust- established it first-ever Bal Mitra Gram (BMG) in the year 2001 in Papdi village Gram Panchayat Sothana of Jaipur District, Rajasthan. BMG is an internationally recognized rural development model with a vision to create a child-friendly world.
After identifying the challenges and needs of Banjara communities, the first Banjara Education Centre was set up in 2008 in Bhangdoli, Thanagazi, to provide holistic education to children from nomadic communities. Upon continuously engaging with the women around the villages near Bal Ashram, in 2009, Ms. Sumedha Kailash started a Skill Training centre named Balika Ashram where girls and women come for vocational skill training.
Through our interventions, the children have gone to become doctors, lawyers, engineers, and entrepreneurs. They are also active advocates for child rights and social justice, both in India and at various international platforms. Our girls, many of whom are first-generation school learners, have raised their voices against millennia-old socio-cultural practices like child marriage, gender, and caste discrimination etc. Many of our children have won international awards like the 'Global Goalkeeper' Award by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and 'Reebok Fit to Fight' Award.
At Bal Ashram Trust, we follow a rights-based approach which is fundamental to our programs. This supports us in achieving long-term sustainable and learning outcomes among children by promoting values of justice, equality, and freedom and incorporating principles of democratic participation, accountability, and non-discrimination at every stage of our programs.
Through Participatory Reform, we empower children to raise their voices against any social evil and are creating generations of strong leaders who can bring constructive change in the society by becoming responsible citizens and agents of change.
BAL ASHRAM - REHABILITATION CENTRE
Bal Ashram is one of a kind long-term rehabilitation centre for children rescued from child labour, trafficking, abuse, and exploitation.
BANJARA EDUCATION CENTRE
Banjara Education Centre is a community-based learning centre that provides education to children from Nomadic Communities & addresses deep-rooted socio-cultural practices through participative reform.
BAL MITRA GRAM
Bal Mitra Gram is an award-wining transformational model of democratic, participatory reform creating child-friendly villages.
Sumedha Kailash ‘Mata Ji’
Our mentor, guiding light, and a mother to thousands of exploited children, her bravery, love, dynamism, and childlike innocence continually inspire and energize us.
Against so many odds, she worked tirelessly to set up the Ashram. Her child-centric efforts in the nearby communities to engage with and understand the deep-seated issues being faced by the people contributed directly to the Bal Mitra Gram model, leading to the formation of the first Bal Mitra Gram in Sothana near Bal Ashram, and the Banjara community work.
Kailash Satyarthi ‘Bhaisahab Ji’
Mr. Kailash Satyarthi has tirelessly fought for the rights and freedom of millions of children around the world.
He may be known as the only Indian born Nobel Peace Laureate to the world, but to the children, he is their “Bhai Sahab ji”, whose compassion and tenderness along with numerous stories and countless hours of volleyball, badminton, and carrom, have left an indelible mark and inspire the children to continually be agents of change.