People First Educational Charitable Trust

People First aims to work closely with oppressed and disadvantaged communities and vulnerable individuals in breaking the centuries - old cycle of ignorance and oppression by providing opportunities for education. The trust believes the best way to achieve long - term positive social change is through education and we work in the areas of greatest need where no other education is available to the poor and oppressed. Our mission is the bringing of educational opportunity and to promote health and social rights to those to whom such opportunities have previously been denied due to poverty family circumstances or oppression. The Trust aims to work with the most marginalized me...
Aug 20, 2014

Adukesun in Bihar

Ranjeet
Ranjeet

 

Hello Everyone.! I am Naresh, in charge of the education programme here at People First and it's time for a project update . I have asked Ranjeet one of our students, ( we have to change the name according to the rules because we cannot give personally identifiable information),  but what he has written in Hindi and translated is completely unedited.

Namaste. (Greetings)

My name is Ranjeet, I am 17 years old and I have a People First scholarship at Gaya College , and I am studying science.  I come for a village where People First has a school and they have educated me without any cost for me and my family for over 10 years. We are extremely poor, but with my education that will change. But I think you know that People First has this programme, I think you know how wonderful and successful the programme is, how it helps so many students like me to change their lives.

I want to tell you all just what the situation is here for poor students who have to rely in government education, unless like me they are very lucky, and others help them through the goodness of their hearts .

Here in Bihar the government recruited thousands of teachers to fill in the shortages particularly at primary schools  and here's what happened, we discussed this news article in our regular monthly  student meeting with Naresh Sir and others, Its from the BBC dated 15th July 2014.

When authorities in India's Bihar state began a mass recruitment of primary school teachers in 2003, many believed it would lead to an improvement in the quality of education.

Bihar's primary schools did not have enough teachers, so the new recruits were welcomed.

To fill in the hundreds of thousands of vacancies, the appointment rules were relaxed - the teachers were hired on presentation of degree certificates verified by the city or village council officials and they did not have to write any competitive examination.

Known as "contract teachers", these new recruits are paid just 25% of a regular teacher's salary of 40,000 rupees ($666; £389) a month.

More than a decade later, things look relatively better on paper - some 417,000 teachers, a majority of them (362,000) hired in the last decade, are employed with 73,000 primary schools.

But the reality is much grimmer: news washed up recently that more than 20,000 of the new recruits had forged their degree certificates to get their jobs. Authorities have already dismissed 779 teachers after investigation.

Senior education department official Ram Sharnagat told the BBC that they had received complaints against 52,000 teachers for submitting fake certificates.

"We will conduct a thorough probe and those who have forged their certificates will lose their jobs," state Education Minister Brishen Patel said.

Rising corruption

This is not the first time that such a scandal has hit school education in Bihar: some 15,000 teachers were dismissed in December 2008 for providing forged certificates.

That's not all. Education in Bihar is beset with several other problems too. Consider this:

  • Over 60,000 primary schools are running without full-time principals.
  • Last month, more than 50 principals in Kaimur district were suspended after they were found guilty of misappropriating funds meant for building classrooms.
  • Last year, more than 10,000 primary school teachers were dismissed after they failed a mandatory competency test. These teachers failed to name the president of India and the planet closest to sun, among other things, in the test.
  • In 2011, authorities detected two million "ghost" admissions in schools - students took admissions to more than one school to avail state benefits like free bicycles and uniforms.
  • Some 2,800 primary schools in Bihar don't have a single classroom, and 10% of the schools have only one classroom.
  • In July last year, 23 primary students died after consuming contaminated free mid-day meals.

No wonder, say experts, Bihar has the lowest literacy rate in India - 63% against the country's average of 74%. It also has a poor teacher-student ratio with one teacher for every 63 students, against the recommended national average of one teacher for 40 students.

Many of the schools have no classrooms

No wonder then that a primary school teacher in Samastipur district was caught on camera by a local news channel a few years ago telling students that there were 360 days in a year and that Patna - the capital of Bihar - was the Indian capital.

She also spelt January as Junuary, apple as Apil, and education as adukesun.

There's a lot more I could tell you, according the official auditor of the Indian government were sent false figures by the Bihar government in which they reported many more children were at school then there were actual children according to the very recent census, by a large margin.

My country is progressing.

Especially in other States. I am proud to be an Indian.

But please remember things are  often not as they are reported and the need for this programme sadly is as great as it has ever been. Thank you so much for your help, and please help spread the word about this life changing programme.

Your obedient student,

Ranjeet

 

Links:

Aug 13, 2014

Orphaned and Alone no more

Orphaned and Alone no more
Orphaned and Alone no more

Hello Everyone!,

This is Sunita ,director of Rescue Junction and the SIGNAL project, and it's time for an update. As you all know the project caters for girls at risk of abuse by providing shelter, food, education, vocational training and support to these vulnerable young women to enable then to have a new start in life. But here at Rescue Junction we admit girls of any age, ( including babies, who have been abandoned) and girls that have been orphaned.

One of our aims is to increase awareness within the local community about the plight of these girls and help us establish a network of protection for them. We work with the police and raid local brothels and we have found girls as young as twelve years of age. In these cases in conjunction with local authorities we always prosecute and bring those responsible for this abuse to Justice . Over 40 people are behind bars today as a result of these prosecutions. We need to establish there will be no safe haven, no escape from those who choose to abuse children.

There are three girls here who we have placed at our expense ( with the help of your donations) in residential school and who come to Rescue Junction for the holidays. Their mother died, and then a year later their father . The eldest girl ( then just 11 years old) ,Pramilla buried him with her own hands as there was no money for a cremation. In the days and weeks that followed the girls were at risk of starving before concerned villagers brought them to the local administration, who placed them in the only place available,  Rescue Junction. We need help to pay for their education and care., Every cent that we get from Global Giving goes to help children like Pramilla, Diya and  Shanti.(names changed for child protection reasons)

It costs $1000 to care and educate them for one whole year.

Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity

Wishing you all the best,

Sunita

Links:

Aug 5, 2014

Lets fight for the rights of children together!

Just 3 years old and brought for begging
Just 3 years old and brought for begging

Hi Everyone,

My name is Sunita, and I am director of the Rescue Junction project in Gaya in South Bihar India.

I would like to thank you for all for donating so generously to our " from begging to books" programme which raised $999! 

One thing I would like you to know is that if you came to Bodhgaya ( the centre of the Bhuddist world ) in the peak winter season you would find child beggars everywhere. If you came in the off season then the numbers would be reduced. Why? Because of course there are not so many pilgrims or tourists to throw money at them. If nobody gave then the problem would largely go away. Because there is money to be made, (sometimes a lot of money) then criminal elements get involved, and of course begging children earn more. Even better if they are disabled or blind. Look in the extreme right of the photo above and you will see a three year old child brought for begging from Nepal

So what are we doing with your help to stop this?

Firstly community awareness. In the main season we will be giving out leaflets and making lots of posters to explain the pitfalls of giving to begging children. Secondly we are working with the police to get them off the streets. Thirdly for those in genuine difficulty with your funds we are providing shelter and education Fourthly we are helping in bringing Justice to those who organise child begging. And finally we are encouraging anyone to phone the toll free childline number 1098 if they see child begging or anything that gives them concern.

Please help us continue this work as the appeal has been continued on Global Giving here

https://www.globalgiving.org/microprojects/from-begging-to-books-in-bodhgaya-india/

Lets fight for the rights of children together!

You can keep up to date with all our work on twitter at https://twitter.com/childrenofbihar

and FB at             

www.facebook.com/pages/People-First-India/106083302779969

Please like and follow us!

With Thanks again,

Sunita

Links:

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