From Child Labour to a Chance at School

Feb 6, 2012

An Update on the Child Friendly Spaces Center II

Sheetal Ready for School
Sheetal Ready for School

Quarterly Updates for Child Friendly Spaces

October-December 2011

Center                       No. of Girls                    No. of Boys             Name of the Teacher

Vasna                              17                                 14                           Jayshree

Behrampura                      20                                 10                            Urmila

Juhapura                          12                                  18                            Firdos

Daily Activities 

The daily activities at the CFS centers consist of welcoming the children. To motivate and drive children towards academics, the teacher engages them in some playful activity like playing Snakes and Ladders, Cricket,Story telling etc. Once ensured that the students are attentive and actively participating in class, the teacher begins with the daily teaching module. While young children are given activities involving toys and puzzles, the other students are engaged in learning Mathematics, Language and Social Studies as per the day’s schedule. The learning happens through simpler techniques that are easy to comprehend and memorize by the children (like counting is taught by counting fingers, names of flowers are taught with the help of charts or drawing etc). One day of the week is also dedicated to art and craft.

Events and New Initiatives

The following events and celebrations took place at our CFS centers in the last three months:

  • Diwali Celebration.
  • Visit to construction site.
  • Parents teachers’ meeting (December 2011)
  • Dr. Suresh Majmudar conducted training on December 7, 2011 for the teachers of the CFS. In his lecture, Dr. Majmudar talked about stammering problem in children and probable solutions to it, about convincing parents to send children to school and also discussed how to treat children when they come to the centre.

A Note on Nutrition

Children are provided with a variety of nutritious foods and snacks like Sukhdi (Indian Sweet), Parle-G biscuits, peanuts and gram, Egg and other such supplements during the three hours at the CFS. This is another factor that encourages parents to send children to the centre.

Challenges and Lessons Learnt 

Challenges: Convincing parents to send children to school and stopping drop outs have been major challenges throughout. Counseling on a regular basis is required. Breaking notions regarding the requirement of Birth Certificate for admission has been a challenge too.

Lesson Learnt: Children here, come from a background where they are expected to be stoic and unresponsive to adversities. In such a condition, when they are taught with humbly and treated with warmth they tend to gain a lot. Besides, English and Hindi are to be taught to students who wish to move to class 4 or 5.

Read how Sheetal's Life changed after joined the Child Friendly Spaces

Shital lived in her village with her grandparents until she completed 2nd standard. Then, she moved to Ahmedabad with her parents and two siblings. Both her father and 13-year-old brother work at a garage, and her mother is a housewife.

When Sheetal first joined Vasna CFS in December 2010, she was shy and would not answer when quizzed in class. She did not even feel close to the teacher Jayshreeben. In this last 5 months, Shital has made an impressive progress. Not only did she learn how to read and write, but also she started taking responsibilities in class. For example, she is in charge of monitoring the class when Jayshreeben is late or shortly went outside to run an errand. Her teacher says that Shital has become more responsible, and dedicated to her studies. This positive change is also noticed at home. Shital’s mother started giving her new tasks, such as doing the household shopping and other household chores.

At Vasna CFS, many girls make bracelets and sell them through Jayshreeben, who takes the finished bracelets to a nearby shopkeeper. Shital works 2-3 hours daily at home and at school. Through this bracelets activity, Shital has developed a strong sense of independence. Jayshreeben is impressed by how at her short age (10 years old), Shital has taken the lead and now directly deals with the shopkeeper. She picks up the material, makes the bracelets and then gives them back on time. Sometimes, Shital even makes extra bracelets and gives some to her teacher and some to the shopkeeper. 


Oct 31, 2011

An Update on the Child Friendly Spaces Center

Shahin with her teacher Firdos
Shahin with her teacher Firdos


We want to extend a big Thank You for supporting our cause and helping these children go to school. Our Child Friendly Spaces Center aid child labourers to go back to formal schooling to have a fair chance to a better future. Working with these children has been a huge learning experience for us. If you have any suggestions to improve our work at the Child Friendly Spaces, do write to us and we will bring it up for discussion. Once again, thank you for contributing to a better future. 

Quarterly Updates for Child Friendly Spaces

July-September 2011

Center: Vasna

No. of Girls: 17

No. of Boys: 14

Name of the: Teacher Jayshree

Class Time: 1230-5pm

Center: Behrampura

No. of Girls: 18

No. of Boys: 9

Name of the Teacher: Urmila

Class Time: 12-3pm

Center: Juhapura

No. of Girls: 11

No. of Boys: 19

Name of the Teacher: Firdos

Class Time: 3-6pm

Daily Activities

The daily activities at the CFS centers consist of welcoming the children. To drive them towards the academics, the teacher has to first involve them in some interesting activity. Once engaged and fully present in the class, the teacher starts with the class for the day. If there are very young children, then they will be given activities that have toys, learning puzzles, etc. With the older students the teacher focuses on Mathematics, Language or Social Studies, depending the day of the week. One day of the week is also dedicated to art and craft.  

Challenge: It has been a continuous challenge for us to convince parents whose children are child labours to come and attend these classes. It is difficult to inculcate the importance of education in the mind of the parents. Continuous counseling is the only way out.

Learning: The children who come here have a very short attention span. To keep them engrossed through 3 hours of class, activities have to continuously change. The teachers have to adapt to the mood of the children and plan lessons accordingly.

 The following events and celebrations took place at our CFS centers in the last three months:

  • Ramazan Celebration.
  • 15th August- Independence Day Celebration
  • A field visit to Law Garden- A public Park


About Nutrition:

The Children are given healthy and nutritious snacks like Sukhadi (India Sweet), Chavanu (A savoury mix), Glucose Biscuits, Peanuts and other such nutritious supplements during the three hours at the CFS. This is one of the motivational factors for the parents to send their child to the Child Friendly Spaces center. 


Read how coming to CFS has changed Shahin's Life: 

Shahin’s father abandoned her and her family. She lives with her mother and four siblings. Shahin’s oldest brother works cutting hair, and the rest of her family works at home making kites. Her two elder sisters and Shahin stitch thread on the kites from 7-10pm every day. Given her family’s situation, Shahin’s work is needed to help cover the household expenses.

Shahin joined Juhapura CFS in October 2009. CFS teacher, Firdosben, says that when she first came to class, Shahin did not know how to read and write, and had a serious stammering problem. Firdosben, who had previously received training on how to help children with speaking difficulties, helped Shahin overcome her problem. Shahin’s mother, Rihanaben, says that she is happy that her daughter is now able to read and write properly. She also noticed that after attending CFS, Shahin became more disciplined and responsible.

After 4-5 months attending CFS, Shahin was ready to transfer to a formal school. However, she did not a birth certificate and she was denied admission. Saath trained Firdosben on how to approach formal schools and explain them that by law they have to accept children lacking such identity document. The school’s principal was initially reluctant, but ended up accepting Shahin for the bridge course. She finished the course and took the final exam, which she successfully delivered. After these summer vacations are over, she will start classes at her formal school.

Shahin enjoys attending CFS center and playing with other classmates. She loves her teacher, especially when she makes them play in class. In an interview, she said that she would like to complete post-secondary school and become a teacher in the future. 

Please see attachment to view Shahin picture with her teacher, Firdos. 


Jun 30, 2011

Child Friendly Spaces, Update June 2011

Shahin's Story

Shahin’s father abandoned her and her family. She lives with her mother and four siblings. Shahin’s oldest brother works cutting hair, and the rest of her family works at home making kites. Given her family’s situation, Shahin’s work is needed to help cover the household expenses.

Shahin joined Juhapura CFS in October 2009. CFS teacher, Firdosben, says that when she first came to class, Shahin did not know how to read and write and had a serious stammering problem. Firdosben helped Shahin overcome her problem. Shahin’s mother Rihanaben says that she is happy that her daughter is now able to read and write properly. She also noticed that after attending CFS, Shahin became more disciplined and responsible. She is now ready to go to formal school.

The Program

The Child Friendly Spaces Program started with 3 centres in 2008 and now has expanded to include children of labourers from Construction Sites (which are being supported by the Developers). These Non Formal Classes are the only opportunity these migrant labourers get to carry on with an education when their parents move to the city in search for work during the non-agricultural seasons in the villages.

Today the Child Friendly Spaces is being supported by multiple stakeholders, which is making it possible to reach out to more child labourers in the city of Ahmedabad.

We thank all the donors who have generously given through Global Giving – you are making it possible to help a child fully live his/her childhood.

232 children are currently being supported through this project. 

Activities at Juhapura Centre (Other centres including construction site classes mentioned in the attached PDF)

Blackboard teaching method is used at Juhapura CFS. A study kit inclusive of pens, notebooks and text books is provided. Alphabet books, picture books and chants are used for teaching them. Their class starts with a short a prayer. Attendance is taken each day and field visit is done each day to at least two students home. Children are taught math, days of the week, name of the months, counting, alphabets- in Gujarati and English, words, shapes and drawing. Singing and dancing also happens in class sometimes to freshen up the children. Homework is also given to them based on the class work.

The children have been taken on educational trips to Science City, Kakaria Lake and Zoo in the past few months.

They have had interactive session with students and interns from around the world where they come and tell them about their country and people by various photographs and teach them new things. The children also interacted with a foreign intern from Peru; Valeria Ines Rojas (Dutch university Universiteit Utrecht) who was working as a part of CFS for her research study. She told the children about her country and people through presentation and photographs & conducted various fun filled interactive sessions with them like photography.  

Sugandha Deva and Trishla Jhaveri interns at SAATH from NIT, Bhopal and Symbiosis, Pune respectively; organized a Child against Labour Week 2011 (13-17 June 2011)  at all the CFS centers themed Family Security under which workshops like Origami, Movie- Jatak Tales, poetry, and storytelling were conducted and importance and love of family was inculcated.


Nutrition is provided to all the children. Besides conducting regular health check-ups, children receive daily snacks. Starting from this month, children started receiving an actual meal prepared by the teacher and a snack.  By improving their nutrition, their health and school performance is expected to consequently improve. This is generally after the class is over. Nutrition includes healthy food material like milk and bananas and snacks like sev and peanuts. A lunch box is provided to the students in which these snacks are packed and given to them. 

Mar 28, 2011

Expanding CFS. One Space at a time - March 2011

Child Friendly Spaces: Updates

 January-March, 2011

Last two months at Child Friendly Spaces were very busy where all the students at the centre got exposure of different activities and enjoyed a lot.


Activities Initiated

Celebration of Festival

Children at the centres celebrated The Republic Day on 26th January, 2011. Children were told the importance of the day in a form of story. Flags and chocolates were distributed. Children played different games and celebrated the festival.

Exposure Visits

Visit to Malav Talav

Children from Vasna centre went to the exposure visit of Malav Talav. Malav Talav is a beautiful garden with the lake near Vasna. Children visited the garden on 29th January, 2011. They played games and enjoyed snacks.

Visit to Temple

Children from Vasna centre went to visit the Shiv Temple on 12th February, 2011. The temple is near to Vasna. Children were told some stories of Lord Shiv.

Distribution of Kit

All the children at Vasna and Behrampura centres were provided with a kit. The kit included a bag, notebooks, lunch box and pencil box. A token amount of Rs. 20 was collected from each child. Children were very happy when they were told about it.

“I am so happy today”, said Roshni, a student from Vasna centre, “This is the first bag I have ever got. I will use it carefully and keep it for a long period of time.”

Activities with French Students

In February, 2011, SAATH had visitors from Lycee International School, France. 15 high school students had come to Mahatma Gandhi International School, Ahmedabad, as a part of student exchange programme. The students invited all the children of Child Friendly Spaces for two afternoons (17th & 18th February). It was a treasure of activities for the children of Child Friendly Spaces. A total of 65 students from Vasna and Juhapura centres participated in the activities. The activities planned for the children were, painting, making butterfly, making key-chain, instant photographs, magic show, songs, dance etc. Children enjoyed with the French students a lot.

“I now know how to make the key-chain and I loved it the most.”, said Gulshan, a student from Juhapura centre. “In the beginning I felt shy but all ‘didis’ and ‘bhaiyas’ are so nice. I got to learn many things in these two days.”

 Story of Roshni

Roshni Vaghela is a 10 yrs old resident of Pravinnagar-Guptanagar. Roshni’s family includes her parents, 2 younger sisters and 1 younger brother. The family migrated few years back from a small village of Gujarat. Roshni’s parents are vegetable vendors. After the migration, Roshni was sent back to the village where she used to live with her grandparents. Roshni was enrolled in the school and passed std. 1st.

In order to help her mother with work and home, Roshni was sent to Ahmedabad. Roshni started taking care of her siblings and helping her parents with their work. Roshni is one of the very few children who got enrolled when the centre was started in year 2009. She was punctual and good at studies. When the teacher approached her parents, they said that they didn’t want to send her to the school and they wanted her not to go to the centre as well because she had to take care of her younger siblings. The teacher convinced her parents and allowed all her siblings, Nilam (9 yrs), Naina (6 yrs) and Yug (3 yrs) to come to the centre.

Roshni is good at studies. She comes to centre regularly. But she doesn’t go to school. The other reason along with her responsibility is that the Municipal School is far from her home and her parents cannot afford to send her to a private school.

Nutritional Supplements

The centres began providing nutrition supplements to the children at all the centres. A meeting was held of all the teachers and a schedule was worked out as to what would be given on which days. The schedule was planned in a way that would ensure all the various nutrients and variety in food – to keep the motivation of the children to eat what is served.

Jayshreeben, the teacher at Vasna says that the children don’t like drinking milk. While discussing this with Devuben, Kiranben and Keren suggestions were given that a chocolate supplement like horlicks or complan could be added to the milk, or a fruit milk dish could be prepared, which would appeal to the children’s tastes. She says she will suggest this to the others and try it out as well.

She says that the children enjoy the snacks, for some it keeps them coming back to the class. Gopalbhai who runs the Behrampura URC shares, “They enjoy the dry snacks more. That is what I have observed. The number of children who come and their attendance is slowly being regularised. Earlier on I used to notice Urmilaben used to go house to house for most of the children to bring them to the class. Nowadays the children come directly to class.”

The table on the left is for the month of January as planned by the teachers. It mentions – a mixture of rice puffs with peanuts and channa dal, milk, dates, jiggery and coconut, fruits, shakkarpara, a snack made out of dal, parle-G (biscuits).


Dec 21, 2010

Child Friendly Spaces, Project update

Along with the existing centres, 2 more spaces have been created at 2 construction sites for children of construction labourers as well. Slowly, but steadily through your support this programme is spreading and including more needy children. 

Story of Jivan

Jivan Vaghela is a boy of 12 and a resident of Vasna, Ahmedabad. Jivan is the youngest child amongst 7 children of his parents. He is suffering from mobility impairment.  Jivan’s parents work as a vegetable vendors and Jivan helps them in the same work.

The teacher at Child Friendly Space met Jivan and asked him to attend the classes. When Jivan, joined the class 2 years ago, he did not know how to read or write. Jivan proved to be a good learner. He learnt things quickly and impressed the teacher by his progress. The teacher wanted to help him to study further and met his parents. She proposed his parents to help him sending in the boarding school where he could study further and he would be taken care properly. Jivan’s parents were not ready to send him anywhere partly because he is the one who helps them run their small business.

Jivan does not go to school but he comes to the centre regularly. The efforts are still on to convince his parents to send him to boarding school. 


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Project Leader

Keren Nazareth

Ahmedabad, Gujarat India

Where is this project located?

Map of From Child Labour to a Chance at School