17,000 slum kids head to school
Publication: Ahmedabad Mirror
Date: Thu, 2011-08-25
Date: Thu, 2011-08-25
They are enrolled with 750 study centres set up by municipal corporation as part of Right to Education initiative.
More than 17,000 underprivileged children in the city, most of whom have never seen a school or held a book before, have been enrolled with corporation’s study centres this year. The move is part of a special training programme encompassing provisions of Right to Education.
Many of the children enrolled are orphans, street beggars and children of migrant labourers. Volunteers of 750 centres set up by the corporation have been working round the clock to enrol the children, aged between 6 and 14 years. These children are also provided mid-day meal besides books and other facilities.
The municipal schools will teach them for 10 months in a year and conduct exams. Based on their performance, they will be brought under mainstream formal education. The corporation has appointed teachers to teach these children under Bal Mitra programme. These teachers, who’ve cleared their PTC/BEd, underwent a 60-day training prior to the commencement of the programme in July.
Ashok Brahmbhatt, a Bal Mitra at Ellisbridge Shala no 7-8, said, “It wasn’t easy to convince parents to enrol the children. We used to visit shanties and footpaths every day to bring the children to school. But now, looking at the enthusiasm of the kids, the parents are more than happy. The children are now conscious of hygiene, conduct and communicate in a better manner. A lot of them have stopped stealing, telling lies and chewing gutkha.”
Sangita Soni, a 10-year-old student, said, “Earlier, I used to spend my day doing household chores and playing with my siblings. But now, I am enjoying school. I have learnt alphabet and counting.” The students are also given vocational training; they are taught making rakhis, kites and idols in a bid to empower them.
Efforts paying off Shela Solanki, a 10-year-old who used to sell balloons till last month, now likes “sketching and reciting prayers”.
Dhanivira Bhati, a parent of three said, “I am glad that my children are utilising their time to secure their future. There is a lot of positive change in them. They conduct themselves well and have stopped abusing each other. I am hopeful that they will not end up like me. It feels good to see them go to school.”
Another Bal Mitra Jalpa Patel who teaches at Gulbai tekra ni chali said, “These children are really bright. Storytelling is the best way to teach them. We worked hard to make school a habit for them and now the efforts are paying off.”
Special Training Programme has proved to be a blessing for those staying in shanties near Bombay Hotel in Danilimda. The chawls are occupied by vegetable vendors, scrap traders and factory workers, most of whom are migrants from UP, Bihar and Rajasthan. Earlier, the families were not keen on sending their daughters to the study centre. But the Bal Mitras managed to convince some families to send the girls to school and the others followed suit.
Labdhir Desai, administrative officer of the project, said, “The programme, provided under Right to Education Act, aims to empower underprivileged children by giving them access to education. These students are being constantly monitored by Bal Mitra who conduct regular meetings with parents to apprise them of their child’s performance.”Source: http://www.ahmedabadmirror.com/article/3/20110825201108250226503333a6587e8/17000-slum-kids-head-to-school.html