Shishu Bhavan (translated as “A safe and loving place for children") was Registered as a society in 2014 by Renee Mallardo and Rupa Mandrekar to help disadvantaged children move into the education system, provide nutrition and hygiene, and basic healthcare.
Rupa has been working with families in the Calangute & Arpora slums in Goa for 8 years and Renee met her 7 years ago. After realizing that the Preschool Children were neglected by the organisations they worked with, together they decided to open the Shishu Bhavan Day Care Center to provide much needed care for the pre-school age children in the slums.
Under the Right to Education Act (RTE) 2009, all Indian children are entitled to a free education from age 6 – 14 years. However, the circumstances of the poorest families dictate that this can still be an expense for them. Most parents do not have regular full-time employment and have jobs only on a daily, or weekly basis. Older children 6-12 years, are often put to “work” selling trinkets, or performing on the beaches; rubbish collecting and rag-picking. The few rupees they earn contributes to the family income.
Shishu Bhavan aims to help break this cycle of poverty leading to little, or no education, leaving adults without qualifications necessary to succeed and low expectations for their future.
Our mission is to help the pre-school age children by educating to the standard required to enter mainstream school at age 6. We help families with the required paperwork for registration and meet any costs attached.
Once the child starts mainstream school, Shishu Bhavan sponsors any school expenses – for example books; uniforms; school bags etc. A teacher goes to the slums each afternoon to help students with homework and general tuition.
We have been lucky to find a suitable property to rent for the day care center and now have a ten year lease which means that we can follow the children through their education and hope that some may even stay on in education until they are 18.
The organisation is funded purely by donations and we are able to operate due to the hard work of our many fundraisers, donors and our treasured staff of 2 teachers, a cook, a cleaner and an office administrator. Together with all the hard working volunteers who give their time and energy to assist wherever help is required. Without the fantastic generosity and love of these people, we would not be in existence.