Childline is a 24-hour free emergency telephone help line service for children in difficult circumstances. It began its operations as a field action project of the TISS in Mumbai in 1996. Subsequently the project was up-scaled to other towns and districts in India under the aegis of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, GoI (since 2006, the project has been transferred to the Ministry of Women & Child Development, GoI). Due to the efforts of the Institute, Nagpur became the third city in the country to commence Childline 1098 operations in the year 1998 with the support of the Childline India Foundation and the Government of India.
The Institute has been functioning as the Nodal Organization for Nagpur Childline since its inception in 1998. Nagpur Childline is run by a network of voluntary organizations, with the help of trained and fulltime social workers. The Partner organizations are: Collaborating Organization: Varadaan Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare; Support Organizations: BBSKBS and Yuva Jyoti – Indian Centre for Integrated Development. An advisory committee under the chairmanship of the District Collector functions as the apex body of Childline Nagpur. Dr John Menachery, Professor-Principal is the Honorary Director of the Nodal Organization. Childline has helped a large number of street children in particular to overcome exploitative situations. The facility can be accessed by any one by dialing 1098, any time during day or night.
In view of the growing incidence of domestic violence against women, a novel concept of social work intervention through special cells for such women in distress was first experimented by TISS in Mumbai. Following the success of this experiment, similar cells were initiated in Nagpur in collaboration with the Nagpur Police Commissionerate. The Institute took a lead in popularizing this concept and also set-up one such cell at the Dhantoli Police Station in the year 1998.
The Special Cell for Women in Distress, which is also known as an FCC, receives financial support from the Central Social Welfare Board, New Delhi, through its State SW Advisory Board, Mumbai. It functions from 10 am to 5 pm and has a team of trained social workers who operate from the Dhantoli police station. The telephone number of the police station is 0712-2566618 / 2464555. Dr Geetha Thachil (Associate Professor) functions as the Honorary Director. As on 31st March 2010, there were a total of 1230 cases registered at the FCC.
Children who are involved in violation of law and taken into custody by the police have now reasons to smile. The Crime Branch of the Nagpur Police, the Rotary Club of Nagpur and the Matru Sewa Sangh Institute of Social Work have joined hands to provide supportive services to enable their rehabilitation. A pilot project titled “Social Work Intervention for Juvenile Justice (SWIJJ)” has been underway in five police stations (Nagpur has in all 23 police stations) since 2008. A project of this nature was long awaited. Under this new initiative, children who were taken into custody by the police were referred to trained social workers who helped them for their rehabilitation. Such help proved crucial in several cases of juvenile transgression (juveniles in conflict with law). The Nagpur Police Commissioner Mr Praveen Dixit has been very supportive of this initiative and has worked hard for institutionalizing this unique initiative. Ms Anuradha Joshi and Dr Prajakta Tanksale of the MSSISW have been rendering excellent technical assistance to this initiative as Project Consultants. The Institute has been supporting this pioneering project since inception and is now making efforts to ensure sustainability of this project.
The Institute has initiated a new field action project, which is aimed to focus on issues that has any impact on environment. As the first step, students were encouraged to participate in awareness campaigns to prevent pollution of water bodies during immersion of Ganesh idols. The second activity, a training Workshop on 26th February 2010, titled “LEAD-er : Lead Educator Capacity Building in Organizing Lead Awareness Programmes”, was held in collaboration with the National Referral Centre for Lead Poisoning in India, Bangalore, and the Quality Council of India, New Delhi. This Workshop was attended by seventy five Anganwadi Supervisors and Workers. The Workshop which focused on the impact of lead poisoning on human health, was inaugurated by Dr Neeta Thacker, Scientist & Head, Analytical Instruments Division, NEERI. Dr Thuppil Venkatesh, Director, NRCLPI; Dr Shashidhara N., Advisor, NRCLPI; and Dr John Menachery, Professor-Principal. Ms Rekha Dandekar (Associate Professor) directed the Workshop. Ms Rekha Dandekar and Ms Shanta Narasimhan are doing pioneering work of this initiative. The Institute proposes to kick off a series of activities in the coming academic years in schools and slum communities as part of CAFÉ’.
The Institute has been involved in school social work, primarily in Municipal Schools, in the past. It has now given a formal shape to this activity. Intervention in learning disabilities, discontinuation of schooling, life skill education, social service projects, including environment projects, in schools and similar other forms of interventions are being planned. Ms Rekha Dandekar, Ms Monica Taide, Ms Jyoti Motghare, Dr Prajakta Tanksale, and Ms Anuradha Joshi are associated with the School Social Work project
The Institute has established a Research Resources Centre (RRC) during the academic year 2010. The mandate of the RRC is to undertake independent research initiatives on behalf of the Institute and to provide support ongoing initiatives of other individuals or organizations. A Board has been constituted to formulate action plans, proposals etc., on behalf of the RRC and to oversee the overall functioning of the RRC. The RRC provided technical support to the Y R Gaitonde Medical Educational And Research Foundation (YRGCARE), and Prakriti, Nagpur, in their research work.
Dr Arun Kumar (Associate Professor) and Dr Keshav Walke (Assistant Professor) are leading the activities of RRC. Dr John Menachery, Professor-Principal, is the Honorary Director. The RRC has also launched a ‘Short Term Certificate Course in Research Methodology’, which shall be self-financed and autonomous in nature, titled : “Skill Enhancement Program for Research in the Social Sciences (SEPReSS)”. The Course is scheduled to commence on 5th July 2010.