Salaam Baalak Trust

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Salaam Baalak Trust
Salaam Baalak Trust logo.jpg
Abbreviation SBT
Formation 1988
Type Non Governmental Organisation
Purpose Support for street children and working children
Chairperson Ms. Praveen Nair
Budget Rs. 48.93 Million (2012-13)[1]
Staff 142
Volunteers 160 per year (including Indians and foreigners)
Website Salaam Baalak Trust, Delhi

Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) is an Indian non-profit and non-governmental organization which provides support for street and working children in the inner cities of New Delhi, and Mumbai. It was established in 1988 with the proceeds from the 1988 film Salaam Bombay! directed by Mira Nair, which was about the lives and vulnerabilities of street children. [2] The name Salaam Baalak Trust translates literally as "salute the child". Programs at SBT include repatriation, providing education (formal education, informal education and open learning), basic literacy and schooling, full care facilities for the young (up to 18 years), drop-in shelters for older children, physical and mental health care, life-skills education, vocational training, sports, job placement and counselling in HIV/AIDS and TB awareness.

Today, SBT runs five 24-hour full care shelters for children, of which two are devoted to girls (Arushi and Rose Home)[3] in Delhi, thirteen contact points mostly near railway stations and a 24-hour toll-free helpline service (1098), catering to children in distress all over India, in all looking after 5,000 children every year.[4] Salaam Baalak Trust children, who have been trained in theatre, dance and puppetry, are giving performances all over the world [5]

Since 2007, SBT Delhi is running the City Walk Program, a guided tour through Paharganj and New Delhi Railway Station area. The guides are former street children from the Trust. The walk aims to sensitise participants about street life, street children and Indian society problems; and uniquely engages them in the lives of children in distress. During the Walk, the guides share their personal story of survival with the participants and show them the contact points and shelter homes SBT provides. The walk, thus, also provides an opportunity for the young people to improve their communication and marketing skills. All proceeds go directly to the Trust to enable more opportunities to be made for the children; thus the walk is 100% non-profit making. During 2012-13, under the City Walk Program, about 593 walks were conducted and 4849 people were sensitised from across the world.

In addition to the City Walk tour, SBT also offers a Heritage Walk through Old Delhi, showcasing six hidden places, including markets, havelis, and five different religions that have existed in the region since 1638. This walk acquaints tourists with all that has survived in Old Delhi since Shah Jahan, the fifth Mughal Emperor who made Delhi the capitol of his empire. The walk takes tourists on a rickshaw ride through the city and lands panoramic views of Old Delhi from a spice market rooftop. It ends in an SBT shelter home for boys to offer a glimpse into what street children have survived through.


SBT contact point for street children on a platform from New Delhi Railway Station

Originally established in 1988 to rehabilitate the children who appeared in the film, Salaam Bombay! (1988) in Mumbai, Salaam Baalak Trust started working in 1989, and by 2005 it had 17 centres for street child throughout India.[6]

This struck a chord with the trustees, who identified the potential in India's street children. A trust was created where young street boys and girls could feel secure and could breathe hope. In New Delhi, SBT started its operations with a staff of 3 and 25 children in the open-air balcony of the Police Station at the New Delhi Railway Station. It has now grown to employ a staff of 142, providing support services in Delhi & NCR region. SBT currently functions through 13 Contact Points/Day Care Centers and 5 Shelter Homes, which provide a holistic child development. In its 25 years of operation, it has brought about a positive change in the lives of more than 50,000 children from India and abroad. SBT also manages an emergency Child Helpline (1098), which is a toll free number to reach out to children in distress at any point of time.

Starting 1999, Family Health International (FHI), with funding from USAID, started working with the SBT, on HIV/AIDS education and prevention, while supplying, street children aged between 4 and 13 with food, medical aid, education, and essential supplies.[7][8][9] Over the years its shelters have been visited by various national and international dignitaries, including, Tony Blair and Cherie Blair (2005).[10][11]

Since 2003, it has also been working with volunteers from University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas, (UCDVO).[12] In 2006, Salaam Baalak Trust won the ‘Civil Society Award’ from the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and UNAIDS.[13] Earlier in March, it started a guided city walk, through the areas managed by the Trust: its shelters, contact points, and areas around the New Delhi Railway Station in Paharganj, where the street children live and earn a living, doing menial jobs. The tour, guided by former street children themselves, sensitizes people about the lives of street children in Delhi, and the turnaround possible in the lives of these children, when given an opportunity.[14][15][16]

Its latest home, DMRC Children Home, built exclusively for boys, was opened in New Delhi (near Tis Hazari Metro Station) in August 2010 and provides shelter to over 100 boys. The Arushi centre at Gurgaon was opened in 2008 and provided support to around 86 girls, aged between 5 and 18.

Recently, SBT has tied up with the Central Queensland University, Australia to provide higher education to its children.


  • Education Program: The education program at SBT is multi-faceted. It not only provides scope for the child to enjoy his/her right to education but allows the child the freedom to the mode of education best suited to his/her capacity (Formal, Non Formal or Open Learning). Every child in the Trust is motivated to earn a high school degree through Public Schools or Private Schools. Training in life skills, performing arts, computer literacy, and exposure to tourist-sights and the outdoors are also imparted apart from the school curriculum. Some children also go through Non Formal Education and National Open School systems of education. Children are also provided assistance in their homework and are provided extra tuition/remedial classes. The Non Formal Eeducation is conducted through a systematic module providing basic education and literacy, and cover child rights, computer literacy, general information, reading and recitation, health and hygiene, social skills, moral values, basic mathematics, and money management. Bridge courses & remedial education helps children to make up for breaks in their education which is a major casualty when the children flee their homes. The children find it difficult to get admission, especially in higher classes after a break. They enable them to cover the missed portions of the syllabus and make up for the lost time with intensive study and concise courses.
  • Physical and Mental Health Program: Living on the streets, children are exposed to innumerable infections, diseases and every type of abuse. Due to the lack of proper guidance, these children have little or no understanding of sanitation and hygiene. A large number of street children take up drugs and have poor eating habit. Thus, when a child comes in contact with SBT, the first and immediate effort is to take care of his/her medical needs. Headed by the Medical Coordinator, there exists an efficient team of medical social workers in each shelter home. SBT also has a core team of visiting doctors who are always available. Also aware of their special psychological needs, SBT has a full-fledged team of qualified psychologist, mentored by a leading psychiatrist. The health program includes a number of components which take care of the special needs of these children. These include an awareness of safe sexual practices, in the absence of which they are susceptible to STD's and HIV/AIDS and interventions to deal with substance abuse and mental health programs. SBT has developed collaborations with the other hospitals and medical centers in this regard. This year 12 health camps were conducted. An addition of 768 eye checkups, 201 dental checkups, and 189 HIV tests have also been successfully conducted for street children.[1] In a counselor, the children get a friend to listen to and it caters to their lost need of being heard or appreciated. The counselor takes care of individual case studies and conducts interesting group activities with the children.
  • Life Skill Education Program: To empower the children at SBT, Life Skill Education (LSE) is incorporated as a key component of their daily lives. LSE modules were developed in with support of Family Health International (FHI). Keeping in mind the changing needs, these modules are constantly revised and updated. Last year in 2011, 117 life skills sessions were conducted. Such sessions have had a huge positive impact, which is tangible in increased self-awareness, less risky behavior, greater ability to deal with peer pressure, and a greater commitment to a child's future and their careers.[1]
  • Vocational Training Program: Children who have been staying at shelter homes at SBT choose a vocation according to their interests, but the assessment of a career counsellor and staff is available to help them match their ability with the training they want to undergo. The popular choices were web and graphic designing, multimedia animation, film editing, C++ software, puppetry, karate, theatre, macramé, photography, beauty and hair cutting course, travel and tourism.[1]
  • Sports Program: Under the supervision of a sports teacher, the children are coached in various sports. Children who are gifted in any particular sport are given formal training. Children staying in SBT shelter homes have participated in various sports competitions organised by the Sport Authority of India, the India Youth Soccer Association, and other NGOs.[1]
  • Job Placement and Rehabilitation Program: Employment is another step in empowering children at SBT. After sessions from the career counsellor, children decide upon careers. Keeping in this spirit, SBT maintains contact with young adults to ensure that they find stability, and then growth, in their work. During the year 2012-13, 56 children were rehabilitated and found jobs with organizations including Pizza Hut, Matrix clothing, Vivek Sahni's Design House, City Walk, Ishara Puppet Theatre Trust, NIIT, Cuts n Flicks, VLCC, Radisson Blue hotel, Le Meridien, Hilton hotel, Dominoes, Yatra (travel agency), ULKA advertising agency, Kingdom of Dreams, and Kids Powered Media. Boys from the DMRC Children Home, after the age of 18 years, are shifted to Armaan centre. During the year 2012-13, 18 boys were shifted. All the boys are covered under the aftercare program.[1]
  • Performing Arts Program: Since 1997, the SBT theatre group has given public performances every year. Apart from acting, the children play a significant role developing or adapting the script, designing costumes and producing masks. Every year, Salaam Baalak Trust organises an annual play. In 2012, SBT produced a play titled Jisne Khoya Usne Paaya. Around 45 children participated. It was performed at Chinmaya auditorium and Apex centre, Gurgaon.[1] Trained under professional danseurs, many children from SBT are professional dancers and choreographers.

City Walk program[edit]

Brain child of a former British volunteer, the City Walk is an innovative program of SBT. The objective of the tour is to sensitise[17] people and uniquely engage them in the lives of children in distress. The Walk guides are former street kids who share the journey of their own lives. Thus, the Walk provides an opportunity for these young people to improve their communication and speaking skills. The proceeds go directly to the Trust. The fiscal year 2012-13 was a significant period as it showed growth of the City Walk program in many aspects. During this period, about 593 walks were conducted and about 4849 people were sensitised from across the world (an increase of 18% from last year) about the lives of street children in India as well as their stories of survival and success. In the months of November and January, about 580 people attended 72 walks, the highest number so far. People from all around the globe (from about 70 countries) took part in City Walk, and a majority were from USA, UK, India, Australia and Germany. The Walk is mentioned in all major Travel Guidebooks (like Lonely Planet, Love Delhi, Rough Guide and others) and SBT also works with about 30-35 Travel Agents, both domestic and international. The guides, besides doing the Walk, also pursue their education. In June, a student got selected for US scholarship and is presently pursuing a one-year Certificate course in Information Technology (IT) specialising in multimedia from City College of San Francisco. It is the 3rd guide in the last three years to be selected for US scholarship. Two guides also got selected for Central Queensland University (Australia) scholarship 2012 to pursue higher education. Some guides also learn foreign languages such as German and Spanish. The Walk was also covered by the BBC World, The Hindu, Hindustan Times and prominent German and Italian newspapers. With help from volunteers, new City Walk Trailers are developed which give a good first impression about the Walk.[1]

Residential programs[edit]

  • Apna Ghar - Drop-In Shelter Home for Boys
  • Aasra - Shelter Home for Boys
  • DMRC Children Home - Children Home for Boys
  • Arushi - Shelter for Girls
  • Rose Home - Shelter for Girls


Since SBT's beginning in 1988, more than 60,000 children have benefited from the organization's resources. The organization has restored over 12,000 children to their families; provided shelter to more than 20,000 children; admitted more than 48,800 children into their literacy program; enrolled more than 6,000 kids into formal schooling; provided more than 2,500 kids with vocational training; and has placed more than 793 beneficiaries in jobs. These 25 years worth of achievements have been celebrated by the re-release of Salaam Bombay!, Mira Nair's notable award winning film which inspired the start of SBT.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Annual Report, Salaam Baalak Trust
  2. ^ An emotional get-together The Hindu, December 5, 2004.
  3. ^ Salaam Baalak Trust
  4. ^ Street kids paint a restaurant Madhur Tankha, The Hindu, Delhi, Jun 30, 2005.
  5. ^ Two strings to the bow The Hindu, August 8, 2008."Journalist:“You don’t look like street kids.” The young artiste kept his cool, saying, “If you want us to dress like that, in torn clothes, we can.”
  6. ^ Salaam Baalak Trust Mercy in Her Eyes: The Films of Mira Nair, by John Kenneth Muir. Published by Hal Leonard, 2006. ISBN 1-55783-649-3, ISBN 978-1-55783-649-6. page 61.
  7. ^ Street Children and Youth Get a Chance in India "Family Health International ".
  8. ^ U.S. Official Visits Salaam Baalak Trust's Shelter for Children April 28, 2006.
  9. ^ U.S. Assistant Secretary Richard Boucher Visits Salaam Baalak's Shelter for Children USAID, August 5, 2006.
  10. ^ PM visits project aimed at helping poorest Indian kids Prime Minister of the United Kingdom website, September 8, 2005.
  11. ^ Meeting Delhi's street children BBC News, September 7, 2005.
  12. ^ Work in Delhi University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas.
  13. ^ FHI-Supported Projects Recognized on World AIDS Day "Family Health International "., “Salaam Balaak Trust for an HIV prevention project targeting vulnerable street children and youth in Delhi”.
  14. ^ Indian Street Kids Offer Glimpse Into Their Lives With Guided Tours South Asian Women's Forum, May 22, 2006.
  15. ^ Runaway guides The Hindu, Businessline, April 6, 2007.
  16. ^ Discover a Delhi underbelly you never knew, through the eyes of child guides The Telegraph, March 12, 2007.
  17. ^ cause (someone or something) to respond to certain stimuli; make sensitive

External links[edit]