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Initiator Human Development Foundation (IHDF)
Mechanism of Operation
The Foundation is dedicated to help the children the most at risk in Pakistan, namely the street children. Recent estimates show that there are about 100,000 such children in Pakistan, many of whom work, live and sleep in the streets of its most important city, Karachi. Our main purpose is twofold: first, to protect these children from the well know dangers of the streets in big cities (from mere hunger to violence and abuses of any kind from older people) and second to provide them with the means to leave the street life (education or professional training), when they desire to do so. Taking into account the specificity of these children nature (their wildness, their independent and violent character, their bad habits, but also their desperate need to be loved…) several and successive steps are needed to re-insert them successfully into a more normal life. 1) Provide for them a place where they can feel free to come for rest, for medical care, for food, or just for friendship. At this stage, children should feel free to come and go as they wish. They are only asked to respect the 3 basic rules of the house (no smoking, no drinking, no fighting) when staying inside. Usually children will come for one night, two, and eventually one day will decide to stay longer. 2) When basic needs (food and night shelter) are fulfilled, children slowly learn the rules of the life in common, in a family like structure, inside a group of 10-15, with at least one adult, who plays the role of guardian. Decisions inside the group are taken by general consensus, instead of force and violence (as they are used to do). Children run the house themselves, each member of the group agreeing to do part of the housework (cooking, cleaning, washing). This allows them to become responsible and help them understand that they can do something useful for all, instead of looking for their own and sole profit. 3) After a few months of such a life, children have gained self-respect and start to be able to think about their future in more constructive ways. When time has come, they are then given the possibility to re-integrate the normal flow of children life, as it should be all other world, going back to school, or learning professional skills and looking for jobs.
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