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When Nidhi* (14) first came to Rafa Home eight years ago, she seemed severely impaired: A rare condition of Tuberculosis in her brain had left her vulnerable to epileptic seizures.We were fairly certain she could hear, but she was effectively mute, making only small grunts and sounds.She showed a mischievous side: Sometimes she would hide quietly behind the curtains in the middle of the night, and simply wait.The first few times carers awoke and found her bed empty, they searched frantically, worried that she had come to harm—only to have her suddenly jump out from the curtains, making a silly face!


Over the years, we have seen her grow in mobility and responding to carers in the limited ways she could communicate. Still, she requires help with most things, including eating and going to the toilet. She had been enrolled in a school for the differently abled, but was struggling to engage with her teachers or other students, and we sensed that she needed a change.


During Covid wave-2 lockdown, we connected to a new school which specializes in autism. The teachers there are trained to look beyond a person’s “diagnosis” and to identify the unique interventions and creative methods that work for that particular student. Almost immediately after Nidhi began online one-on-one sessions with teachers from her new school, we saw newfound enthusiasm for learning.


Nidhi’s teachers use a variety of approaches such as a ‘cooking class’ and ‘experiment time’. They aim to improve her communication and motor skills, with help of flash cards and objects, helping her strengthen her memory of events and spaces.Her activities also include imitation, taking things from one place to another, and even the joy of making lemonade.


Nidhi now engages well with her online classes. She can now recognize many objects, including her brush and toothpaste. Her motor skills are improving. Earlier she was restless and would cause a disturbance in the home when other girls were trying to enjoy movie-time, but now she loves sitting with them. She is more cooperative and expressive with the carers throughout the day. In the evenings, she often tugs their hands, indicating that she wants to go outside to walk or play—yet another change from before.


In late 2021, when lockdowns had ended and Covid numbers went low enough in the city, Nidhi’s online teachers made a special trip far across town to come visit her in person.They brought gifts and special foods for Nidhi and the other girls.Nidhi was thrilled to give them a tour of her home and was simply beaming with smiles the whole time!


It's just great to see Nidhi grow in her abilities.. we're thankful to all involved in her story.



*pseudonym. As per CWC guidelines we do not reveal names of our children.


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“Didi, how sad that we can’t meet each other..” We keep hearing this from our women from the slum community we associate and journey with.


Pre-Covid times, they could drop in anytime and have chai with us at the Centre. We now engage with them online, but it's not the same.


"I dread the idea of going back to my village because it would definitely mean that I will be forced to get married."


Says Megha* whom we know well. She now sells cosmetics on an online platform, hoping it will keep her from going back to her village penniless.


Megha had never been to school when she met us in 2017, but now with her determination and love for learning, she pursues her graduation through

distance learning.


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Lalita,* a mother of two, has been struggling to make ends meet this Lockdown. Amidst time constraints, she tried to attend our online class to complete her graduation, but faced these discouraging words from her husband.


“What is the point of your degree if at the end of it all you are only going to be a maid in someone's house?"



The word 'Lockdown' is uncomfortable to the women at Sahaitha, evoking feelings of sadness, despair and uncertainty. Unlike many who can safely work from home, they have no option but to get out to often tightly packed workspaces, living hand-to-mouth.


“What do women from Sahaitha say they need?”


1. Food provisions to last a month.

2. A space to share freely about their pressures at home.

3. A way to connect with others, so as not to feel so isolated.

4. Career counselling towards future studies

5. Job opportunities for themselves and their family members


Delhi has begun to unlock again, but living with the pandemic brings new challenges.


Help us to share hope and further empower these resilient women amidst the pain and challenges they face.


Know more about Sahaitha or write to us at contact@newgenerationtrust.org


*Names changed to protect identity

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Amidst the constraints of Covid-19 lockdowns, one thing the children at Rafa Homes continue to enjoy is the food.


Times around the dining table are special. The boys especially like paneer (Indian cottage cheese), chicken curry, parantha (Indian bread), rice and dal.




The girls have had lots of fun learning to bake, helping the carers shape momos (Tibetan dumplings), digging into some jhal muri (puffed rice stir-fried with spices and lentils) at snack time, and celebrating with gujiyas (nut pies) on Holi!



This spring, the boys got to try their hands at barbecuing chicken and paneer. They also learned to bake cakes.






Some girls say that having a healthy diet improves their ability to think more positively and gives them joy. The boys like eating fruit and are growing to appreciate green vegetables.





Recently when some of the children were sick, they particularly enjoyed chicken soup. They said it helped them to eat even when they didn’t feel like it.




We at Rafa strive to maintain our home environment as a family-style space of delight and joy, especially around the dining table...similar to our own homes from days of childhood.


To know more, write us at contact@newgenerationtrust.org.

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