There are times when you come across a poor but proud child who is selling cheap stuff to the vehicle owners on the street. The kids even refuse to take money you give them as they do not want to beg. Those are the kids for whom you would like to go that extra length. That is what Apna Skools has done.
Kids of migrant worker families find it a challenge to obtain a formal education as they are constantly on the move. These types of families include those of construction workers, brick kiln workers etc. The Apna Skools initiative takes education to the children by conducting classes around the brick kilns and construction sites themselves. 25 Apna Skools are currently operational in and around the city of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Vibha’s aim in partnering with Apna Skools is to emulate the working model of Door Step School (DSS) (covered in the previous edition of Catalyst) and scale it up accordingly. Since 2014, Vibha has raised about $9000 per year in funding; the cost per child in this project is $19.85. Through their network of Apna Skools, the organization reaches out to over 600 children in Grades 1 to 5. In addition to teaching them, the project also evaluates the children on the basis of an end-of-year examination administered by NIOS (National Institute for Open Schooling). This ensures that the children are evaluated on the same platform as children from formal schools.
Wherever possible, the organization tries to admit their students into mainstream schools and continues to monitor their progress. Help is also provided whenever needed to help them succeed. Currently, 53 former students of Apna Skools are admitted in various mainstream schools in Kanpur and in their native villages.
Their work does not stop there. Apart from education, Apna Skool activities include:
- Nutrition: Wholesome meals at every center
- Health –Related Activities
- School uniforms for all and sweaters in winter every year
- Excursion trip every year
- Regular Teachers meeting every month and teachers’ training workshop twice a year
- Periodic interaction with the parents of Apna Skool students
- Vocational –Training
- The Apna Skool library has around 1000 books ( Story books , painting books ) which are circulated in every centre to encourage the joy of reading among the students
- Short films( entertaining and educative) are shown at all the centres periodically