The Children of Goa
– by Amy Hook
Goa in western India is a popular tourist destination for those who seek its renowned picture perfect beaches, covered with palm trees, white sands and crystalline waters. Many look to explore its small fishing villages, architecturally pleasing temples or its small flea markets. However, if you look beyond the tourist hotspots, the true Goa recognisable to its locals soon reveals itself.
There are thousands of vulnerable children living in Goa, who have their childhoods challenged. Many children are from economically underprivileged backgrounds, some are orphans and others wish to escape the horrors of their everyday home life. Consequently, a vast amount of children are found living on the streets and are confronted with conditions no child should have to face. It is also common for children from other parts of India to make their way to Goa, as they believe visiting tourists will provide them with money and other necessities. But, unsurprisingly, the outcome can be very different.
The 2016 Oscar-nominated film ‘Lion,’ shared the true story of Saroo Brierley, a young boy who gets lost on the streets of Calutta in West Bengal. By revealing a story such as Saroo’s on the big screen it highlighted to thousands of people around the world the harsh reality of street children in India.
Fortunately, one of our partner projects assists these children. Since 1997, El Shaddai Charitable Trust has worked to provide support to the thousands of children living on the streets of Goa. Their priority is making sure the children are cared for and are provided with food, clothing, shelter and education.
El Shaddai offers full-time childcare and works within slum communities, offering support and run projects and activities beneficial to the wellbeing of the children. The organisation has day centres, community centres and residential homes for the children. As well as, running a number of schools in the slum areas of Goa, which offer education to the children and having a programme where they distribute free nutritious food.
By presenting the children with a variety of services, El Shaddai hopes to lead them to an improved and brighter future. And, so far they have, by helping over 4000 children; proving their initiatives are both valuable and effective.
You can contribute to the great work El Shaddai do, by volunteering with them. Any abilities are welcome, from dancing to dental skills; you can help support the children of Goa.