Engaging with creativity to bolster mental health

Engaging with creativity to bolster mental health

Decades of research demonstrate how growing up in an orphanage can have harmful impacts on children and young people’s development and mental health. We’re grateful to work alongside partners who prioritise mental health as they deliver family-based services and contribute to the global efforts in deinstitutionalisation, working to end the era of orphanages.

Through our partnership with Udayan Care, we are supporting over 94 children in Delhi to reintegrate with their families and community from institutional care.

Udayan Care’s interventions prioritise holistically supporting the entire family through this transition, not only the child or children returning home.

Reshma’s family is one of them.

Following many years in a children’s home, 17-year-old Reshma was abruptly reunited with her family due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The transition initially proved to be challenging for her.

As the middle child of five siblings, she was tasked with undertaking household responsibilities while her parents worked. She felt dissatisfied with the lack of personal time and independence being back at home, which started to affect her self-esteem and mental health. 

Srishti, one of Udayan Care’s counsellors, started facilitating counselling sessions with each family member. She reflects,

“When I first met Reshma’s family, they were quite reserved. Building rapport with them was a bit difficult and took time”.

As trust was built, Srishti organised a joint counselling session between Reshma and her mother, in which Reshma shared about struggling with her mental health during the transition home. Her mother, empathetic to Reshma’s situation, encouraged her to follow her dreams of studying sewing and honing her creative skills.

However, her father struggled to see the importance of such creative endeavours and did not allow her to pursue them.

Sometime later, Srishti began counselling sessions with her father and encouraged him to explore his daughter’s perspective.

“These sessions had an impact on him, and after a week of self-reflection, he became more positive and appreciated my work, and he was motivated to enrol his daughter in the sewing course”, says Srishti.

The Udayan Care team has since supported Reshma with updating her identification and enrolling her and her brother in the National Institute of Open Schooling to complete their education in parallel with their certificate courses, including a 6-month sewing course offered by a local NGO. Regular sessions with the counsellor and follow-ups are helping her regain her inner confidence, which is evident to everyone.

Young girl in Delhi takes sewing classes

Reshma takes sewing classes

Srishti shares, “Currently, Reshma is doing well in his midterm exams, and we look forward to seeing what she does next. I have observed a difference in her confidence, communication and perspective”.

A keen student, Reshma has already created new designs for traditional clothing, such as suits, beaded kurtas, and various sleeve patterns, giving her immense joy and the motivation to launch a social enterprise within the community. She not only wants to learn the professional skills of tailoring but wants to impart the training to the whole community. She aspires to become a role model for other girls her age looking for a similar kind of course.

 “I overheard neighbours telling my mother they are seeing me grow and wished for more success. This boosted my self-esteem and motivates me every day”, says Reshma.

With the continued family-strengthening support, including phone calls, home visits and counselling, Udayan Care staff are optimistic that Reshma and her entire family will continue to grow and support one another to fulfil their aspirations.

To learn more about our work with Udayan Care, visit https://martinjames.foundation/partner-udayan-care/

There are many ways you can join us in making sure children grow up in homes and not institutions or orphanages.