Amcha Ghar has successfully completed 18 years of providing a home for poor girls and providing them access to English education
In the 1990s, Agatha Susheela Dias and Anthony Dias were engaged in social work in Mumbai. In 1995, they rescued a sexually exploited girl from the streets, only to discover that no institution would admit her because she was not an orphan. They realised that no home catered for semi-orphaned girl children or for those living in pitiable conditions. Girls are denied admission in homes if they have a parent, despite the fact that the single parent often works all day, leaving the girl to fend for herself and may places her in the care of sexually, physically or emotionally abusive relatives.
This helplessness inspired Agatha and Anthony to set up a new organisation for young girls in such circumstances. On 14 April 1996, in Bhayander (a distant suburb of Mumbai), a committed team of social workers, attorneys and doctors joined the Dias couple to set up Amcha Ghar—‘our home’ in Marathi.
After 18 years of putting a smile back on the faces of so many children, “The demeanour and discipline of Amcha Ghar girls have earned us the reputation of a respectable institution in Mumbai. Amcha Ghar strives to create self-sufficient, empowered young women who can succeed in today’s fast-paced and competitive world by bringing them to the mainstream of society,” said the founders.
Amcha Ghar caters to orphaned, street and underprivileged girls in Mumbai and other states. It provides English-medium education, residences, medical attention, recreation and spiritual facilities until they become independent. It works towards the holistic development of orphaned destitute girls at the residential home as well as for children of nearby villages through its English-medium school.
Amcha Ghar Home has nearly 80 girls who have been rehabilitated—either by getting them married, or by placing them at workplaces, some have gone in for higher education. Around 600 students are given education at the school run by the NGO. The school is affiliated with the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education and has obtained a 100% pass percentage over the last few years.
Ms Dias says, “Although they are village children, they get the opportunity to compete with city children.” With the continuing mission of educating children in English, Amcha Ghar has started four balwadis to help villagers who need protection for very young children and infants.
The home for girls has ISO accreditation and is housing 25 girls in the current year. In the words of Ms Dias, “We have two of our girls studying in the first year of the diploma course in Hotel Management. There are six kids in junior college pursuing arts & commerce. The rest of the children are at school—from nursery to Standard X.”
For those who have the time and would like to volunteer to work with young girls, the website of the NGO says, “Amcha Ghar welcomes and has experience with volunteers from India as well as from abroad. At Amcha Ghar, you will be part of a team of supportive, like-minded, committed people where your contribution will make a real impact.”
Donations are welcome (and eligible for tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act) at Amcha Ghar, to help alleviate poverty that forces street children into beggary and abusive and exploitative situations. Amcha Ghar also permits donors to see for themselves how the children are looked after and “experience a day in the life of a former street child,” for a nominal fee.
406/407, Deep Sagar Building,
Uttan, Bhayander (West), Thane 401106
Phone: 022 28451022/ Mobile: 9892270729/9004002009