The Children’s Development Khazana (CDK) or Bal Vikas Khazana as it is known in India is a logical evoluation of Butterflies’ saving and credit union scheme and works on banking and cooperative principles. Hamara Foundation is a partner and implementing the same in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Children between the age group of 09 to 18 years and the only stake holders of CDK. Any rural poor, urban or street and working child can save money with the Khazana, which is their own and is run by the children like them under the guidance of adult facilitators. Implemented as part of life skill education, CDK enables its members to earn an incentive (interest) on their deposits and adolescents and its adolescent members to access advances (loan) for initiating small economic enterprises or cooperatives.

Children’s participation is the basic premise on which CDK is designed, implemented and promoted, with children coming together as collectives to take action for their self-empowerment. Children are the ones who are the managers and promoters of CDKs. The CDK members nominate their own Child volunteer Managers (CVM) and members for the advance (loan) committee, who are then provided training to handle their responsibilities in dealing with members and working in a team, and are put to function under the guidance of the Adult facilitators. They run the Khazana set timings, handle children’s money, maintain cash books, ledgers, passbooks and disburse and monitor advances.

We have introduced the said programme in three places in South Mumbai: Mumbai Central, Haji Ali, and Dadar. By introducing CDK in Mumbai Central centre children from slum and street could continue education and coaching support up to class X. Earlier since their parents are illiterate the children would dropout as they would not able to keep private tuitions. A number of 488 children are directly benefited from these programs.

Children living in the railway platform and surrounded areas who are addicted to drugs other chewing addiction are in saving habits. The homeless children living near Haji Ali who work as book sellers and shop keepers are now saving the money and are not using the money in gambling.

Children are now involved in Children’s Development Khazana (CDK) and Child Health Cooperative accordingly. The number stands to 488 members who are only street children. It is gradually enhanced and children are enthusiastically participated in different cdk related activities such as how to maintain CDK books of accounts, the role of Child Volunteer Manager, ACVM and Child Health Educator (CHE) and they are also learning the CDK syllabus slowly but steadily. Increased participatory attitudes have been seen among the children. Despite their educational pressure, they want to know other carriculam activities of bookkeeping through the programme of CDK. In the specific year, CDK members not only deposited money in his/her account but also withdrew in need accordingly.  At one of the meeting children have pointed to us that they made their parents aware how much they earn in a family living on the street and how the money is not spent in a healthy way. The children have questioned the family to take a rented house instead of living on the street with what they are earning together in a family. Few families now have taken a rented house in a slum and moved from the street.

Children’s Development Khazana (CDK) made the children aware of how to document properly. This included handling of pass books, application forms etc. CDK members from Haji Ali and Mumbai Central branch admitted that they used to deposit their hard earn money in the hand of shop keeper but they end up in losing money as they do not have any proper documents to challenge the shopkeeper. The children used to get less money than the amount they had deposited to the shopkeeper. Some shopkeeper used to take a deposit charge of Rs. 25 from the children.

CDK is nurturing their saving habit steadily and in the coming future the children will have bank account of their own in a recognized bank.

Introducing Child Health Cooperative (CHC), is a dimension of health care and addressed the need t take care of their health through various information, knowledge and practice which was the sole objective. The children were informed that saving of money can also help them when they need money for treatment. We have introduced in four CDK branches and selected eight Child Health Educators (CHEs) and we have imparted special training for how to use First Aid Box, how to keep clean and hygienic, how to clean their surrounding and their role and responsibilities. Two members Master Ikram Yasin Kukva and Ms. Latifa Siddique Shaikh from Mumbai Central and Haji Ali are actively executing their duties.

Our five CDK members from different CDK branches have attended several workshops on CDK and CHC at Delhi, Kolkata and Jaipur organized by Butterflies. Children are benefited knowledge and experience leading to a positive change being seen in CDK and CHC in saving, discipline, leadership, health and hygiene and attitude.

As a part of expansion program Hamara Foundation took the initiative to expand the program to other agencies in Mumbai like; Salam Balak Trust (SBT) and Centre for the Study of Social Change (CSSC) and they are implementing it in a successful way. Now we are looking forward to a plan of development of CDK in selected organizations in other zones of Maharashtra as well.