Updates from the Field
CLiC's (CareLeavers Inner Circle)
During my recent visit to Jaipur, I had an enriching exposure to CLiC's (Care Leavers Inner Circle) operations and its tangible impact. CLiC is currently making significant strides while under incubation at The/Nudge Incubator (N/10). CLiC’s founders are Girish Mehta, Anisha Sharma, Nutan Bharti, Dharmendra Singh and Samiksha Patel.
Care leavers are young adults who transition from the formal system of child welfare, notably orphanages or children's homes, into independent living. Once they turn 18, the governmental support that ensured a roof over their heads, schooling, and daily meals ceases. Consequently, 40,000-50,000 such individuals every year find themselves catapulted into the ranks of the urban poor, grappling with challenges like lack of housing, absence of job opportunities, limited social contacts, and devoid of family support, often without basic necessities like laptops, phones, or even cash.
Raj's story (a pseudonym used for confidentiality) aptly highlighted the multifaceted issues care leavers encounter. From battling societal prejudices and the struggle of securing a job to the loneliness stemming from the absence of a conventional support system and navigating the complexities of adulthood (like marriage) sans familial insights, his narrative was both poignant and revealing.
However, my Jaipur trip wasn't just about individual narratives. I also participated in a Design Thinking workshop spearheaded by Dr. Ranjan Banerjee, the Dean of BITS School of Management. Over two days, we employed design thinking to deeply understand the care leaver community. This engaging initiative brought together a dynamic mix of corporates, academicians, and nonprofit professionals. Field visits to child care homes and interactions with care leavers provided first-hand insights, enabling us to collaboratively identify challenges and brainstorm solutions. The presence and active participation of CLiC's care leaver team lent a valuable layer of authenticity and groundedness to our discussions.
CLiC’s initiatives demonstrate a keen grasp of the care leavers' unique challenges. Their interventions range from enrolling care leavers and furnishing them with essential starter kits, to assisting in obtaining vital documentation, providing vocational training and emotional well-being sessions, and facilitating career counseling and job placements. CLiC's achievements are noteworthy, particularly their expansive network encompassing over 800 care leavers across Rajasthan. Their endeavors secured UNICEF's support in their inaugural year and they were incubated at MNIT Jaipur in the subsequent year. Furthermore, they are in the process of developing 'Dhruva,' an application envisioned as a comprehensive platform catering to care leaver needs.
Reflecting on CLiC’s extensive operations and the remarkable transformation in individuals like Raj, it’s evident how commitment, adept understanding, and apt resources can make a world of difference. The workshop with Dr. Banerjee reinforced that innovative methodologies, combined with collaboration, hold the potential to chart brighter trajectories for these deserving young adults.