Imagine you (or your children) at the young age of 18 being forced out of the only stable home you have known, with no idea how to navigate the system to even find a place to live, without the means to get more education or prepare for a job, and without anyone to help you avoid the many pitfalls and make good life choices. This is what most Care Leavers (CLs) face when they age out of the government-supervised Child Care Institutions (CCIs) at the age of 18.
Parents are awesome! They impart all the following skills and more as they raise their children to be independent adults. Unfortunately, the Care Leavers who enter our program have spent many years of their lives in CCIs and often do not have exposure to necessary skills to thrive on their own. Our goal is to begin with what is absolutely critical and add more components as we develop the program.
Launchpad for Adulthood – Critical Components
Ideally, children should be taught the life skills needed to live and thrive in the 21st century gradually over a period of many years starting from adolescence to young adulthood. However, Care Leavers get enrolled into our program just as they are preparing to exit CCIs at 18, or even after they have already been de-institutionalized. We begin working with them at that time to provide the critical competencies required. We continue to support Care Leavers for anywhere from 3 to 5 years depending on their career trajectory.
We achieve our impact by funding and working closely with organizations on the ground that align well with our priorities.
Our strategic priorities
- Work with institutionalized youth
- We focus on children without a familial support system, who live in Child Care Institutions (CCIs), and need support to transition to independence. We target our interventions towards children ages 14-18 and upto 23 as needed.
- Take a “whole child” approach
- It is not sufficient to address just one aspect that is lacking, such as formal education. The CCI is the child’s de facto family, and the child needs to be taught soft skills (e.g. communication, collaboration), practical skills (e.g. conversational English, nutrition and health) and job skills (e.g. vocational training, job interview techniques), to thrive as an independent adult
- Tackle the problem of scale
- Out of the 9859 CCIs in India, a few good ones, covering optimistically 10,000 children, prepare youth well to transition to life after 18 – however, there are 370,000 children overall in CCIs. Organizations who have been working on the ground for the last 20 years to improve CCIs are able to reach approximately 20,000 orphans of all ages a year – however, there are about 100,000 children in just the critical 14-18 age group at any time.
- Be data-driven in devising effective programs
- Well-meaning people and organizations often fund piecemeal interventions, because after all, these children have nothing and anything should help. However, money and time are precious and limited, and we want to be laser focused on the most effective interventions to achieve the best possible outcomes.