Kolkata Rescue Home - Jeanette Thompson
The Free To Be project is based in Kolkata, and is supported and
administered by ACC International Relief - the aid and development
arm of Australian Christian Churches, based in Melbourne.
Since February 2010, Jeanette has been the founding Project
Manager of the Kolkata FreeToBe Child Rescue and Development
Center. Through the work she is doing in India, she is currently seeing
children Protected, Empowered and Strengthened. These children are
finding freedom out of many forms of abuse especially those who
were working as child laborers or about to be sold into the global
commercial sex trade. The Project she managers currently provides
residential support to 22 children in need of care and protection that
currently do not have a safe and viable option with their family or in
the community. Along with her great Indian team, Jeanette is
engaging families at a community level to work at reducing vulnerabilities and build strength. This community engagement includes support to individual children and families and also empowerment programs of Literacy Training for Women, Education & Health Programs and Computer Training for Youth. Jeanette has a firm conviction that the love of God, expressed through His people, is what will change the world and she is enjoying the privilege of being able to work in India, seeing lives changed and the hopeless receiving hope and a new future.
FreeToBeKids exists to support Children and Families who are at risk and experiencing extreme poverty and vulnerability. Our goal is to facilitate child centered community development with the aim of improving the Community’s capacity to protect children from vulnerabilities such as child labor, child marriage, child abuse and exploitation. We work to address root causes to these vulnerabilities, such as economic constraints at a family and community level, a lack of access to education, limited food security and gender inequalities.
Protect, Empower & Strengthen Children in Need
Our heart is to see all Children living safely and protected and to also be strong enough to stand on their own two feet in the future and have healthy relationships with the people around them. We desire for them to know their rights and to be able to stand in a place where they are confident and their vulnerabilities are minimised so that others do not take advantage of them. We desire that their families will also understand their true worth and be people who are empowered to properly provide love and care to them. We desire for them to live with a strong understanding that God is their Father and He has a perfect plan for their lives and when He is with them they can overcome anything.
Internationally(Australia): We are a project approved by the ACCIR which maintains all of our Australian Government compliances to receive tax deductible funding. We submit Bi-Annual Detailed Project & Financial Reports to ACCIR who in turn submit these to the appropriate Australian regulation bodies. Through our partnership with ACCIR we receive access to training and direct Project Development support.
Locally(India): We have a registered Local Charitable Trust that has been set up to conduct a variety of Charitable Activities within India to improve the situation of people in need. Under this Trust we have registered our Children's Home with the Government and maintain all the processes for continual operation of this Child Protection Home. We submit annual Financial Audit Reports, Annual Reports and Activity reports to the Government to continually maintain our registration to receive tax deductible funds.
HOW WE RESPOND
We have been running our Children's Home since February 2018. During that time we have grown our local team to include Home Managers, Social Worker, Child Psychologist, 6 Care Givers, Cook, Tuition Teacher, On-Call Doctor, Tailoring Teacher, Dance Instructor and Security Staff. In addition to this Jeanette is the overall Director/Project Manager on both the International and Local Side. We believe that the children deserve a comprehensive and multileveled approach to their care because of the variety of challenging situations they have already faced in their lives. We have 1 Home for Girls which has a current capacity of 16 and we have 1 Home for Boys which has a current capacity of 5.
How Children are received into Children's Home Care:
Every child comes into our Care with a direct Child Protection Order from the CWC (Child Welfare Committee) which is a judicial court. The are accompanied to our home via the local Police who is directly responding to their case. Depending on the details of their case the children are accompanied by Police to attend court hearings and to visit the CWC for their ongoing Case ruling. The Children stay within our Care until the CWC pass the order for their guardianship to be transferred elsewhere. We are all motivated by the belief that the best option for the ongoing Care is with their Biological Family but only as soon as it is in their best interest.
What level of Care do we provide:
Within our Children's Home we endeavour to provide a family like environment with our committed team. The children are taught everything based on our guiding principles of Respect. Respect with Thoughts, Words and Actions. This is modelled to them as well as an expectation for them to learn and live by so that everyone within our Home can live well together. We also believe this will only benefit them in their future with their relationships and in relation to the world around them.
All the basic needs are provided within our Children's Home. Children participate in taking care of their environment by being involved in daily chores as they would in a normal family environment. Some of children assist with meal preparations when there is free time which also helps them to develop this necessary life skill for the their future.
We are motivated to see children grow up strong and healthy so they can achieve their potential. Children are receiving regular medical check-ups and vaccinations to protect them from preventable diseases.
The Children a local school based on their level and needs. We currently send the children in our care to 3 different schools.
The Children receive additional Tuition/Homework support via our part time teacher and care staff.
Individual Care Plans
Detailed Case Files are kept and managed for each child focussing on their specific background, needs and dreams for the future.
Life Skills Training
A wide variety of Life Skills Training is ongoing with the children in our Care including Tailoring Training, Basic budgeting, Marketing, Cycle Riding, Bike Driving Training, Computer Training, Personal Care and Hygiene, General First Aid.
Child Protection Training
Our Team work to build a confidence in the Children for their future. This includes teaching them about their rights and how they can protect themselves and know where to access help if needed.
In our Community we work to keep Children safe and protected and build strength into their families to prevent vulnerabilities and separation.
We run yearly education support program which provides a support pack to Children that are attending the local schools. In this year we have supported 200 Children with this level of support. In addition to this we are run period programs that build the children's capacity for learning. In this past week we ran 4 day English Camp and had up to 80 Children attend this program.
Literacy Classes for Women
We run Basic Literacy and Numeracy Classes for women 3x every week.
We periodically run Health Programs in the community along with vaccination programs and basic first aid awareness. We have local Dr's and nurses attend these programs to help to connect the children and families to good health care.
We have just seen one girl return to her mum in April. She is now safe with her and we are supporting her Vocational Training Dreams for the future and she has just been accepted into an 18 month Diploma Course for Front of House - Hotel Management. She is now a member of the local church and also regularly joins us in our programs run within our Home. We're so happy to see her thriving and excited about her future and believe she will bring the Light into her family and community