As opposed to our usual quests looking for NGOs and homes in the nooks and crannies of NCR, the Salaam Baalak Trust (SBT) was rather easy to find. When we stopped in front of the brick building our only thought was “this is different.’’ And it was; the brick building stood tall behind a massive iron gate. Once signed in, we were finally allowed to enter the vicinity. The nervousness Pranavi, Tara and I shared was immense — what if there weren’t enough surveys? Would they have stationery?
Accompanied by our 63 printed surveys, we were excited to meet the girls and to hit another milestone – the REDefine Campaign’s sixth collaboration! The Salaam Baalak Trust 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.
We were taken to a miniature amphitheater blanketed by warm sunlight and waited for the girls to gather before introducing ourselves. The girls present were between 8-17 years old. After introducing ourselves, Pranavi and I passed around the surveys while Tara distributed the pencils to the girls. There was a slight confusion as the surveys were supposed to be for 10-year-old girls and older so we had to ask each of the younger looking ones their age to confirm that we get accurate results from the data collected. It can be benefitting being a psychology student now and then.
Once they were distributed, the girls began filling out the surveys, but they also began discussing the questions along with the answers with each other. So far, this has been a major roadblock in our system during every survey we conduct. We approached clusters of girls huddled over their surveys and asked them not to discuss this because this survey was about what they think as opposed to what their friends do. We did eventually get them to stop discussing it among themselves by clarifying their doubts. They became open in terms of asking us questions to understand the survey. After this, the process was smooth and only took us about 30 minutes to wrap up.
We made a friend in a young girl named Lakshmi, who other girls told us couldn’t give the survey. She walked slowly towards the box of colour pencils and asked for a sheet nonetheless. While she became absorbed in her sheet of art, her mental disability was hastily explained to us. It was entertaining watching her organise the colour pencils with Tara as they tried to differentiate between five different kinds of pencils while catering to the other girls’ stationery demands.
Conducting the survey was successful although we interacted with fewer girls than the figure we’d been told would be present. It helped us identify what topics need to be concentrated on and talked about the most with different age groups. Here are the results of the survey:
Anshika from the REDefine Team
Check out SBT’s website: http://www.salaambaalaktrust.com/