The idea for the Baale emerged from a survey of children living in the streets, conducted in around 2000. After realizing the seriousness and degree of exploitation faced by these girls, Paraspara Trust established a small home for street girl children initially with the support of a Canada development fund. Subsequently, ActionAid India, the international anti-poverty agency, Action Aid, provided operational funding for The Baale, with a strategy of reducing funding as the Baale would build its own capacity for long term sustainability.
From 2002 the Baale operated from a one acre site in the village of Silvapura, about 25 kilometres from Bangalore city centre. The building was poorly constructed, having been adapted from a workshop built for silk weaving. The original lease expired in May 2007 and the rapid expansion of the city of Bangalore meant that it had significant development potential which the landlord wanted to exploit. The lease was extended for a 12 month period but an urgent long term solution had to be found if the Baale was to develop from a project to a sustainable model. This would require a new strategy and a long term funding model.
In response to these challenges, Chris Harrison, who had first visited the Silvapura Baale in 2004, decided to register The Friends of Baale Mane Gopalapura in the UK to support The Baale. A new trust, The Baale Mane Trust was also established in India with the intention of taking over the operation of the Baale from Paraspara, and land in Gopalapura was acquired partially through a gift from Paraspara and KC Venkatesh.
In September 2008, the girls relocated to their new home in Gopalapura.
Today, the home is well established and although there is more that we plan to do to enhance our physical infrastructure, the primary focus of our team of 10 staff and the trustees in India and the UK is the welfare and development of the girls in our care.
We also have plans to work through the creative talents of our girls to bring an enhanced understanding of issues around child rights to the middle classes in Bangalore, positively impacting the opportunities for future generations of children.