Day Centre for providing Psychosocial interventions.
On 5th December, 2009 Shri Goutam Mohan Chakraborty, Commissioner of Kolkata Police, inaugurated a Drop-in-Rehabilitation Centre (DIC), officially named as the Dr. K. L. Narayanan Rehabilitation Centre, at a space provided by the Kolkata Police within the premises of Hastings Police Station – the first of its kind in the country.
Run and maintained by
Iswar Sankalpa, the DIC is a therapeutic day-care centre for the physical, emotional, psychological and social integration and well-being of homeless persons with psychosocial disability.
The DIC focuses on providing overall resettlement and habilitation opportunities for Iswar Sankalpa’s homeless psychosocially disabled clients, in an effort to help mainstream them as productive members back into society. This is achieved through facilitated participation of the clients in select occupational and vocational activities, as well as supervised pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy, all of which ultimately aim in restoring the client’s self-confidence, self-reliance and independent living.
From April 2013, the Dr. K. L. Narayanan Rehabilitation Centre has graciously received a one year funding grant from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to sustain its rehabilitative efforts in this regard. It is hoped that with a steady source of funding, the centre would be able to improve upon its facilities and activities which have been in play since the commencement of the program in 2009. Sustainable funding allows for the growth and development of a more structured and stable habilitation program at the DIC, which can in turn lead to more tenable practices and futures for the beneficiaries concerned.
A lot of these men and women have created spaces for themselves on the streets where they live, in the vicinity of some community. However, there is an absence of physical and mental health care, hygiene facilities and rehabilitative activities and a dearth of government or private day care centres or shelters which will provide them with these services.
The philosophy behind the creation of the Drop-in-Centre is to thus, to provide a safe haven and a physical shelter throughout the day as well as opportunities for habilitation – to recovering homeless men and women having psychosocial disabilities.
The infrastructural support provided within the Hastings Police Station premises cannot be emphasized enough: the mere presence of this support from the Kolkata Police does not only further consolidate Iswar Sankalpa’s work premise, ethics and beliefs, but also strengthens the clients’ beliefs in themselves. Here, they know and can feel that they are safe, that they are supported, that they are part of society – Here, these men and women are no longer invisible.
They spend their days productively away from the greater risks of homelessness. This is done through a structured daily program tailored to fit the needs of each individual, which in turn facilitates the re-learning of simple and other more complex skills required to live life in a dignified manner. The focus is primarily on the physical and mental restoration of these individuals, and includes both vocational as well as therapeutic outcomes. They are individuals who, due to their psychosocial disabilities have been unable to function completely and independently, and are homeless and living on the streets. It is hoped that through continued rehabilitative efforts, these men and women would be able to relearn and reemploy certain life skill sets, which will eventually enable to live an independent life, a life of dignity.
Over the years, the DIC has seen various shifts in its occupancy registry. Prior to the opening of Sarbari – Shelter for the Urban Homeless, both men and women clients from the Naya Daur – Outreach Program would participate and attend the DIC regularly. However, with the opening of a women’s shelter, most of the women clients shifted to the 24 hour residential shelter; nonetheless there are still a few resettled Outreach women clients who still choose to attend the DIC intermittently. At present, there are between 5 to 8 men who attend the DIC on a daily basis throughout the working week.
Every weekday in the morning, clients are brought to the drop-in-centre by an Iswar Sankalpa ambulance. Trained social workers attend to the clients and interact with them, and once at the DIC, they are provided with and receive food, and hygiene care. Additionally the clients also receive counselling services and medical checkups conducted by the Iswar Sankalpa team of psychotherapists and psychiatrists, respectively.
In addition to this basic care, rehabilitative efforts are made with the clients through their involvement in various vocational and occupational activities. For this purpose, vocational and occupational therapists attend to the group, and interact with them through the course of the day via participation in various activities, aiming for an eventual re-orientation in social living skills and towards promoting independent living. Chores