Behind every family deprived child there is a painful story of birth parents (usually single deserted mothers) who let go of their child in traumatic circumstances. Deserted by the putative father of the child, rejected by the family and ostracized by society, the only option for them is to part from their child, sometimes in very harsh circumstances. Counselling & support to young deserted mothers to enable them to make an informed decision to secure the future of their child and themselves, is a vital service provided by SOFOSH, through the “Matruka” (motherhood) programme.
SOFOSH extends support in the following areas:
Single mothers in need of shelter are referred to Government recognized Shelter Homes where their privacy and dignity is protected, and through which they receive ante-natal care & nutrition.
Families of unwed mothers are counselled to overcome their feelings of anger and helplessness to support their daughter through this traumatic journey. Most single mothers are very young, even teenagers. They hardly understand their own bodies and emotions and are barely equipped to care for a child on their own. They are counselled regarding many aspects of life including pregnancy and child birth, nursing the child, health and nutrition, birth control, legal rights and life skills.
By providing legal support services, SOFOSH is able to procure compensation from the putative father of the child and provide support to the mothers in cases of non-consensual sexual relationships.
As a policy SOFOSH advocates and promotes the idea of keeping birth families together. Towards this goal single mothers are counselled about the options available for them to keep their child if they are prepared for the lifelong responsibility in their given circumstances.
Usually no single young mother is in a position to undertake the responsibility of caring for her vulnerable child when she herself is in such a vulnerable situation. Adoption seems the best option to give her child the security and opportunity for a life that she cannot offer. SOFOSH counsels her in detail about the implications of her decision to relinquish the legal custody of her child and empowers her with knowledge about the legal right to revoke the relinquishment within the legally given period of time. In cases where the Mother and child already have a bond (as in the case of older children) SOFOSH strives to support their relationship and gives the mother extended time to work out her feelings about relinquishment, before any final separation.
By intensive intervention SOFOSH has even succeeded in arranging the marriages of single mothers to the putative father by negotiating with all concerned in the family, or helps them to find other suitable partner.
After going through such turmoil and relinquishing the custody of their child, young mothers experience a huge void in their lives. It is important to prepare them in multiple ways for life ahead. SOFOSH makes efforts to make the mothers self-reliant, if necessary through occupational therapy and vocational training and counselling to heal their emotional scars. Rehabilitation is thus a most important part of our programme.
Prevention of unplanned and untimely pregnancies through awareness programmes for young people are conducted regularly in colleges and community centres. Sofosh maintains a long term relationship with all the children it has nurtured and all the crisis affected people whose lives have been touched by this caring and compassionate organization. At the annual festival of Naag Panchami birth parents return to SOFOSH to share their Life experience and receive counselling for any life issues that need to be resolved.