Salaam Baalak Trust runs a “City Walk” program, a youth-led walking tour that provides a different perspective to Delhi while giving youth the opportunity to gain new skills. Funds from the City Walk program are used to provide scholarships and job placements for youth, as well as resources for the shelters. By connecting the program to one of our tourism partners, G Adventures, they now have a reliable stream of income to support their education and social service work.
Since its inception, over 33 guides have been part of this program, and 3 of those were girls. This has not only given the youth a new set of skills, improved communication skills but also helped boost their self-confidence. Eighteen former guides have completed their higher studies from universities in India and the US with scholarships; and today are entrepreneurs, working in travel companies, interning at the Indian Parliament, Indian railways and studying to be development sector professionals. They have stated how the exposure through the City Walk programs helped them improve their english speaking skills and helped shape their personality while interacting with tourists from across the globe.
With more than 18 million kids living on the streets, India has the highest concentration of street children in the world. Without adequate shelter and care, children often suffer from malnourishment and do not have access to formal education and medical treatment. Without support from family, they are left to fend for themselves, entering the labour market at an early age. Many are vulnerable to trafficking, forced into child prostitution, drug trafficking, or resort to begging to earn an income for their exploiters.
Planeterra partnered with Salaam Baalak Trust, an organization that provides safe housing, counselling, education, and support to over 5,000 children in New Delhi, as well as managing five safe homes across the city. They reach out to 8,000 children every year, out of which around 2,250 are reunited with their family. Till date (2018-19) SBT has benefitted around 10,000 children. In the past 31 years, SBT’s education team has ensured 46,000 vulnerable children received a proper education. Planeterra linked SBT to a tourism customer base through G Adventures, and has provided small scholarships to the youth.