Maitree: Adolescent and Youth Empowerment Program

Maitree stands for friendship. Our Maitree program fosters this friendship and sets in motion a peer learning process by connecting marginalized children on issues that affect them and their communities.

Maitree is for children and youth from the marginalized slum clusters of Mumbai and Thane, children and youth who are forced to live in ever shrinking spaces, with diminishing opportunities for education and livelihood, and are exposed to violence, despair,, substance abuse, diseases, and so on. 

As a result, an overwhelming number of childhoods are lost every day to beggary, substance abuse, sexual abuse, death and disease.

Aware of this reality, Maitree was initiated in 2006, as a space for children to know about issues regarding themselves, issues that were brushed under the carpet by their parents and schools alike. Soon Maitree became a space to talk to children on issues which often served as a fertile ground for misconceptions and unsafe behavior. 

Maitree transformed along with its children. Gradually, children began to discuss and understand the unresolved issues around themselves – why did their community not have access to water? Why did they have to play around mounds of garbage? Why was it difficult for children to move about freely in certain corners of their community without being harassed? Why were there no schools in their vicinity?

Gradually, asking the ‘why’ questions were followed with ‘what they could do about it?’ Maitree today has become the space for children to unite, raise questions, and find answers. It has also made them believe in themselves, that they have the strength to change: themselves and their vicinity, their present and their future. 

At present, we have 278 children's groups with 3111 children ( 1650 girls and 1461 boys) on the Program. There are 556 elected child leaders of whom 293 are girls and 263 are boys.

We are enabling children to take care of their lives and their communities.

You too can be a part of this!


Rs. 3000 for life-skills and leadership development for a child per year, or,

Rs. 15000 for a child for a period of 5 years.

Our online donation is up and running! Change is just a click away.

For Maitree-related queries, you may call Ms. Vaijayanti Bagwe, Associate Director, Adolescent and Youth Empowerment Program, on 022-66881903 or write to her at