The celebration of CCDT’s silver jubilee year is also an opportunity for us to stop, think and look back on our journey of the past 25 years. We started in 1990, with communities that were hitherto not even visited, with people that lived on the fringes, devoid of access to the most basic of services. We started with nothing – but the founder armed with her vision and commitment to bring ‘hope amongst despair’.
We have moved on to take on newer challenges, with renewed vigour, to make a visible difference in the constituencies that we work with. Needless to say all of this has been possible only because of the belief and faith invested in us, but more importantly from the very families that we work with, our children, our staff, the numerous donors, our trustees and the various government agencies that continue to partner with us. It is also a happy coincidence that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of
the Child also celebrates its 25th year of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. More so as our approach from inception, has been child centric, enshrined in the principles of Human Rights and Child Rights.
Giving HIV/AIDS a human face – and going beyond to live life with hope and new aspirations has led us to expand our Home Based Care Program from 12 to 15 wards in Mumbai. Our children in crisis – a program for children
infected and affected by HIV/AIDS moves from strength to strength as our fresh graduates begin living independently.
Once a child of CCDT, they continue to give back to what was their home for several years. Our years of work where no one ventured, be it the leprosy colonies or the tribals of the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP) focused on enabling families to access basic services be it health, education, water and sanitation and livelihoods. Our work in helping mothers save a baby was a very small initiative in nutrition education and
counseling, nutrition demonstration accompanied by a hot nutritious meal to pregnant and lactating mothers till their infants completed two years.
This small initiative to save the lives of babies that died due to severe malnutrition has now materialised into a State level initiative- the Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) in partnership with the Nutrition Mission of the Government of Maharashtra, technical support of UNICEF Maharashtra and the support of the Tata Trust.
The UNI is thus a Public Private Partnership which believes in the concept of collective philanthropy. This is based on the premise- Optimal results with minimum resources. With the UNI, we now move for the first time from Mumbai to include Thane, Nasik and Nagpur to reach out to eight of the 20 high burden projects in Maharashtra.
Our new initiatives with Save the Children- the Shubh Aarambh program looks at the health and nutrition of children and adolescent empowerment. The recently introduced initiative- Sahyog- with Plan India (who has been
a long and stead fast partner in CCDT’s journey) also focuses on Health, Nutrition and Education as three pillars in our work with the communities of the SGNP.
All our programs are integrated in that each program contributes to the other. With a young India with 40% of our population comprising youth, it stands to reason that we work with young adolescents to enable them to
be responsible and productive adults for themselves and their families and thereby to society at large. Often times the focus on adolescent girls is to make them ‘healthy mothers’. We depart from this traditional norm because we believe that if young girls are educated and enabled to make responsible decisions that affect their lives, they will be better mothers tomorrow.
For the child we help today will one day grow up to become the adult who will carry India along the path to future development, and assume the responsibility for the future. The child cannot carry that burden alone. Their fate is our fate- their future ours. Partner us in this journey, for together we can make a bigger difference.