As we tracked outcomes beyond shelter exit, we realised that the lack of support systems, limited exposure, poor social skills and low self confidence caused by a combination of institutionalisation and limited experience of the world outside the shelter, requires both longer term mentoring and financial support. In the same as it would be for children from any background, the gaps are too wide for an 18 year old to be able to make a smooth transition to the real world by themselves, especially without any personal finances or networks. Getting them into a college or a job is thus not the end of our intervention, but a beginning of a new and more complex real world chapter. In light of this, we initiated a longer term Aftercare program that provides medium touch personal and financial support up to 23, and lighter touch mentoring up to 28.
The Aftercare programme provides support to young adults in the form of a reliable mentor after they leave their shelter and are admitted to college or vocational training, or placed in a job. The Aftercare mentor (wingman) engages and interacts with them periodically to ensure that they are able to cope with and overcome both social and economic challenges and helps them stabilise into their new independent life. We provide support in multiple areas such as emotional health, financial support, housing support, crisis funding, career guidance, academic support, scholarships, family planning, older life skills, and help them with respect to any transition related challenges. Interventions from the Transition Readiness programme are designed to progress into Aftercare, and remain highly customized to meet individual needs.
This part of the programme in currently in it’s second year of pilot and we ready to make an official launch next year. One of the biggest realizations has been that most of the transition support elements need to continue even once they have left the shelter home and joined colleges or jobs. Hence, the programme is now integrating the whole developmental experience into longer time line, not restricted to time inside shelter homes. This also drives real time learning around outcomes, which are integrated into all the earlier stage interventions that we deliver during the child's time within the shelter home. One of the key focuses this year is on improving our monitoring and tracking systems by extending our MADapp technology for Aftercare as well. Apart from this we will be piloting self-help support groups and community centres for those that have exited this year. Real world finance management is another top priority and we plan to help all those under the programme to open Bank accounts supporting by the provision of a monthly stipend for those who need it.