International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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The SKCV Children's Trust
from IVU News 2002

Street Kids' Community Villages

SKCV Children's Trust is a pure vegetarian organization, promoting and implementing vegetarian ideals to the children under SKCV wing, and others in South India. The large majority of children coming to us for assistance have been vegetarians their whole life. We teach them to balance their diet. We also teach the children how to cook for them-selves.

Today, with increasing evidence of diet's critical effect on good health and longevity, more and more people are in-vestigating this question: Is the human body better suited to a vegetarian diet or one that includes meat?

A registered Charitable Trust in India, UK and Holland, SKCV has four major Street Child Rescue Centres in South India where the Trust works di-rectly with kids who have no other form of support. Indirectly SKCV works in an advisory capacity with the staff of other organizations in regions and countries where the CHILD SYSTEM of strengthening has been adopted or adapted. The founder designed the system, and a manual is available for all. Training and other literature helps those interested to get started.

The SKCV Headquarters is Prema Vihar Village, which lies some five miles outside the city of Vijayawada, a major junction in coastal state of Andhra Pradesh in South India. Situated along-side the banks of the River Krishna is an 11-acre farm, which provides a safe ha-ven from the chaos and dangers of life on the street. It is home to 130 previ-ously destitute kids, some as young as six years old.

The farm is totally managed by the children, both old and young. There are 35 cattle market gardens. This is in addi-tion to the many girls being helped in the separate Girls Centre in the city. as well as the 120 boys in the city's Night Shelter unit. Many of these children are orphans; others have run away from abusive or violent parents or stepparents. All are fleeing a life of grinding poverty and disease on the street. Thousands of other children come to visit SKCV Centres for medical aid, vegetarian food, counselling and shelter but have not yet decided to give up street life.

Together, husband and wife team Matthew and Bhakti Norton, and a small band of staff, volunteers and helpers, provide their enormous 'family' with a safe, caring environment in which to grow and to thrive. It is up to the chil-dren to manage and develop their own life under careful and loving guidance.

Every SKCV child reaches a level of education to enable him/her to take its rightful place in the world. The indi-vidual talents of each child are recog-nized and developed. Some go on to college. Others that are not academically gifted. are given vocational or agricul-tural training. The six SKCV vocational workshops provide everything from motor cycle repairs to tailoring, generat-ing income which contributes to the village's running costs.

Children are not coerced to live in the village, or any other SKCV Centre. They visit and then stay voluntarily mak-ing their own choice and enrolling them-selves in both the village and the school. Those who want to return home are encouraged to do so. Each child has a contribution to make right down to the youngest who are encouraged to grow their own vegetables to "sell" back to the village kitchen as a source of their pocket money.

Some of the older boys, now married and with children of their own, help to democratically run the village and the Trust, ("The Future Group-Second Gen-eration") deciding by vote its rules and codes of conduct. Fourteen of these young men and women are now the de-partment heads in SKCV and have their own hired staff. The children freely en-rol themselves in SKCV School or Vo-cational Training programs. The few who do return to the street are always wel-comed back if and when they choose to return, others who move out and stand on their own two feet are supported medically and morally for some time… and they are happy!… Please come and visit with them.

The reality of the street child is the naked and vicious face of poverty, sick-ness and exploitation. The tragedy is that those who bear it are themselves innocent, lonely and frightened young chil-dren.

Street Children are those unfortunate children who basically:

  1. Have only intermittent contact with parents or family (usually mother or sisters) but live most of the time with other street children in the city streets or are on the move. (There are numer-ous reasons for a child to leave home)
  2. Have been literally abandoned by their parents/relatives, found themselves on the street from the beginning because of family problems, or have chosen to leave home due to some kind of constant abuse.

Those who have run away from home can further be separated into two categories

  • Those who have an unpleasant or traumatic home environment. They ex-perience family problems they are unable to solve: i.e., alcoholism, child abuse, ill treatment by stepparents, un-employment and poverty. Their tolerance level has been far exceeded, lead-ing to the drastic decision to leave their family.
  • Those who have run away from home who wanted to study/work but were not allowed and came to experience the exciting experiences of city life, glamourized by magazines and movies.

If you would like to help sponsor a child or children to become healthy vegetarian citizens, please contact us. Your kind help will make the difference.

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