In February 2017, I volunteered at Jan Madhyam, a non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of economically challenged children and those with special needs. At Jan Madhyam, teachers provide therapies, music, dance, yoga and life skills training to prepare such children to go out into the world.
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.
We are often overwhelmed with changes in our lives – and a lot of times most of us avoid unnecessary transitions because we have the privilege of having the choice to accept it or not. Imagine for a little girl who doesn’t have the choice. A little girl who once went to a private school stops going to school altogether because of changes in economic conditions.
HEARDS stands for Health Education Adoption Rehabilitation Development Society.
Started in 1999 in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh and supported by Vibha since 2005, HEARDS aims to remove underprivileged children from labour and train them in age-appropriate academic basics before sending them to attend government schools along with a mainstream cohort. To date, HEARDS has sent 725 children to government schools and eradicated labour from 9 slums.
In this spotlight, I chose to ask this question: How could HEARDS serve as an example of success to follow, for other Vibha projects?
A recent news article in Sunday Guardian reported that half the children in India between 0-6 years of age have no access to preschool or childcare centers. The article also mentioned that, “malnutrition, poor sanitation, disease, and other health concerns pose significant obstacles for children as they strive to become productive members of society.” So the big question remains - Is academic education alone enough to promote the health of underprivileged children?
The Tamil Nadu floods of October-November 2015 severely damaged vital service infrastructure and community support structures. The houses, schools and motivation centers sponsored by the Society for Education and Action (SEA) in Kancheepuram district fell under this umbrella of destruction. Excessive flooding ensued in the region due to an overwhelming 1007 mm of rainfall (600 mm more than the normal annual average), causing thatched roofs to collapse, doors, windows and walls to break and erosion of the muddy floor. The deluge also carried away educational materials and students’ belongings contained within the school premises.