The beginnings were small and hesitant. The first house of Snehasadan began in a make-shift hut at Kajuwadi in Chakala, Andheri with just five boys, who all ran away after the very first night. But as word went around and Snehasadan too got better known, other children came. The home stabilised and expanded and soon another house was needed.
On 4th April, 1963, the second Snehasadan home was started with a childless couple as houseparents in Gundowli village in a rented building with donated materials. The idea seemed to have caught and Snehasadan's experiment was on its way. The expansion now was sustained and supported by many well wishers.
In 1964, Holy Cross Church at Kurla, offered Snehasadan a third home in its compound. It was in a low lying area and could not survive the monsoon. But the next year on 5th May, 1965 on donated land in Mogra village, the fourth home was opened with twenty five boys to relieve the over crowding at the other homes. The carpenter who helped build it stayed on with his wife as houseparents.
The street children exist at stations and highway overpasses in Mumbai always dwelling on the fringe. They are on the streets because they have run away from an unhappy home or rural poverty or are orphans that live as part of an extended family on the pavements and streets of Mumbai. Some children are part of organised gangs that beg, sing and perform.
Snehasadan is an established and well known organization in the Mumbai community. Over the 49 years that Snehasadan has been working with the homeless children of Mumbai, the process of engaging with street children has changed and modified. However, essentially there is no cut and dry rule. Each child is different.
The organization has two venues known as Contact Centres that act as centres for social workers to work directly in the field with the children. The centers are located at the Borivali and Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) railway stations. Each centre essentially is just a small room, as most of the staff time is spent in the field, working with individual children.