Classroom Activities
india: a new life: Helping Youth in India and Around the Corner

Hundreds of thousands of children live on the streets in India’s cities. In the southeastern city of Vijayawada, one organization, Navajeevan Bala Bhavan, seeks to shelter and educate such children so they can transition to a life beyond the streets. In India: A New Life, students will see and hear what life is like for a child on the streets of Vijayawada and will meet the leaders in the shelter trying to help them. Note: This video clip includes three verbal descriptions of violent crimes witnessed or experienced by children.

Getting Started

For classrooms studying Geography, Civics and Health, FRONTLINE/World provides a set of video themes and discussion questions to help students analyze and understand key current events around the globe. Watch the video chapter and start a discussion about how organizations can strengthen communities by addressing social problems. Go further into this topic with the India: A New Life Lesson Plan that asks students to research and share information about local social service organizations that help youth in need.


Video Themes

  • An estimated 3,000 children live on the streets of the Indian city of Vijayawada because of poverty and/or troubles at home.

  • The organization Navajeevan Bala Bhavan, funded by government grants and private donations, provides shelter, a routine, a safe family environment and an education to street children so they will be prepared for life beyond the streets.

  • Boys outnumber girls on the street 10-to-1 because girls are more vulnerable to crime or being trafficked into the commercial sex industry.

  • Some children prefer life on the streets because of the freedom and the friendships they have there. To help lure them away from street life, the shelter hires former street kids to serve as role models and mentors and to encourage more children on the streets to come to the shelter for help.

Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the reasons that so many children live on the street in the Indian city of Vijayawada?

  • Why is it sometimes difficult to pull children away from street life?

  • What services are provided to youth at Father Koshy’s shelter? How do these benefit those receiving the service as well as the community as a whole?

  • Describe Father Koshy’s peer educator program. How do youth leaders help the shelter achieve its goals?

  • What could you do in your own community to help youth in need?

Go Further

Featured Lesson Plan: “Helping Youth in India and Around the Corner”

Web-exclusive Resources: Interview with Father Thomas Koshy

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