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 Education  India Project #18618

Educate 4000 street children in rural India

by Snehalaya 'Home of Love'
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Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Educate 4000 street children in rural India
Small classes in our teachers' homes
Small classes in our teachers' homes

We sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. As a valued supporter of our projects we want to reassure you that work on our existing projects continues, despite the challenges the current pandemic and lock down is presenting on a daily basis.

Maharashtra, where we are based, currently has registered the largest number of confirmed cases in India and as a result we have been on lock down since 24 March. Before the national and state governments intervened, we had already taken action by stopping visitors to our 23 projects, reducing our field work and providing our staff and beneficiaries with health and sanitation support. As a direct result of our early interventions, we are happy to report that so far we have no suspected cases of the virus.

People living in slums have been hit extra hard as many rely on daily wages to feed their families, as the lock down forced most businesses to close, people who live from day to day have seen their meagre incomes and food supplies rapidly disappear. Living in cramped and basic quarters they are also at a higher risk from COVID 19 and our teams have been responding by providing over 10,000 kits food and hygiene kits and emergency financial relief to help them fight off both the virus and starvation.

Usually we would be reporting on the start of the school year on 15 June but the Indian government has suggested that schools will not reopen until at least October. With India’s extreme lock down closing our own school and after school classes and with limited technology available to our pupils, it has been a challenge to continue to support our children’s educations. Our staff, children and their parents have been amazing in rising to the challenge. When strict lock down measures prevented anyone from being outside our slum teachers used Whatsapp to contact students via their parents’ mobile phones. They set tasks and assignments and asked those who could to send photos and videos of their progress. Now lockdown has eased a little our teachers are now able to hold small classes in their own homes and conduct home visits to our 700 pupils, one child at a time, to check in on their work and set more homework.

We are relieved that our strong foundations and networks meant we were able to keep our children learning, however UNESCO estimates that there are 700 million girls worldwide affected by school closures. With women and girls making up the majority of caregivers, healthcare providers, and essential workers, we are concerned that many girls will never return to the classroom. With so many families facing extreme poverty and loss of livelihoods, they may feel more pressure to force their daughters into early marriage or child or domestic labour. Our projects such as our slum centers, IT center, vocational training centers, hospital, Childline and other outreach services will continue to promote the importance of education and offer support to enable every child in our district the opportunity to complete 12 full years of schooling.

Now more than ever, your support is vital. We only exist because of wonderful people like you. While we completely understand your own situation may prevent you from donating, you can still help by spreading the word about our work and raise awareness of the situation for vulnerable women and children in India.

Never before has it been so important to know that we are all in this together. Please take good care to stay safe and healthy.

Children share their work via Whatsapp
Children share their work via Whatsapp
Lock down inspires creativity
Lock down inspires creativity
Keeping classes small helps contain Corona
Keeping classes small helps contain Corona
Ration kits feed children's families for 1 week
Ration kits feed children's families for 1 week

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Creative repsonse
Creative repsonse

Hello from India. We hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy in these unprecedented days of Corona virus. Like most of the planet we are now on lock down which is having a significant impact on how we operate our projects.

Schools have been closed since the start of the week and today in Ahmednagar, where we operate, all shops and non-essential businesses have been closed. So far we only have three cases in our district but we are pleased that precaution measures are being put in place. While we don’t want to dwell on the pandemic we do want to reassure you that we are prioritising the health and wellbeing of our beneficiaries. This includes closing the slum schools you support until at least 31 March (the current date the government has directed). Fortunately we were nearing the end of exam season so most of our children have been able to complete their end of year assessments.

Obviously living in a slum makes social distancing impossible so our staff have been using their time to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of the virus and promoting hand-washing, hygiene and other health precaution measures to the communities. The children have been provided their school books to work from home and our team are also preparing for the next academic year by reviewing and updating our highly successful curriculum which we brought in four years ago.

We have also closed our English Medium School based in the Rehabilitation Center where we shelter over 200 children, including around 100 who are HIV+ and are considered ‘high risk’. We are using the ‘break’ to continue to hone the basics of reading, writing and maths that will consolidate our children’s learning once schools reopen. We have also developed a program of extra-curricular activities to keep their bodies and minds active, including Lego competitions which have identified a huge number of future engineers and architects!

All of our projects are now closed to non-essential visitors and we have placed hand-washing and sanitising materials at all entry points for staff and beneficiaries entering each day. Our Childline team has also distributed free masks to all of our children.

There are many other measures being taken across our 22 projects, all with the health of the most vulnerable and at risk of our beneficiaries at the core. We will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments as necessary. We truly appreciate all of your support during these challenging times and hope you are assured that we are as committed as always to meeting the specific needs of our beneficiaries in response to the current ever-changing environment.

Future engineer?
Future engineer?

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Artists impression of the development
Artists impression of the development

All through 2019, Snehalaya has been celebrating 30 years of empowering women and children. As 2020 approaches, we would like to share a little more on our work. Having started in 1989 by our founder taking two children away from the red-light areas for a few hours a day we have matured into a well-recognised organisation providing life-changing impact at grassroots level. All 23 of our current projects seek to address the root causes that leave women and children vulnerable to exploitation and your support ensures we reach over 17,000 people each and every year.

Your support of our educate projects funds some of our work in seven of Ahmednagar’s slum communities and we want you to know just how far your valued donation goes. According to Ahmednagar Municipal Corporation, 15% of our city’s total population lives in slums. Since our first Balbhavan was established in a former leprosy colony, Sanjay Nagar in 2003, we have worked with over 10,000 children and their families.

A healthy and happy family makes for happier and healthier children and our work in slums goes beyond the classroom. Our aim is to uplift the communities through healthcare, sanitation and in Sanjay Nagar’s case we are going event further. It is the only slum built on government land, covering 2.09 acres with 209 dwelling units of varying quality but they are primarily crude hand-built homes or corrugated sheet shacks. With a population of 873, it has a unique social structure with nearly 22 different communities living side-by-side but has no health care facilities or storm water drains.

Under a Government of India’s 'Housing for All' scheme, we are working with the community and partners, including an American architecture foundation, to redevelop Sanjay Nagar. We are creating 298 locally-owned homes based on principles including social, economic and environmental sustainability, inclusive process, social cohesion and infrastructure, and solid waste and waste water management. There will also be a new classroom for our after-school clases as well as other community spaces for meetings and celebrations.

The slum-dwellers have embraced the development and are committed to purchasing their new homes at subsidised rates. Already some of their homes have been demolished and we are putting them up in temporary accommodation until they can move into their new homes. By providing cleaner, greener and sustainable living conditions we will be ensuring the children you are supporting will be living in a much healthier environment where they can focus on their educations and futures.

We would like to thank you for supporting and enabling us to be able to take on projects like this to improve the lives of the children we serve and we hope you continue your journey with us to see how this exciting development unfolds. Finally, we would also like to wish you and your families and loved ones a very merry festive season and all the best for 2020.

Maximising the space
Maximising the space
The current housing is cramped
The current housing is cramped
End of Year Giving season is here
End of Year Giving season is here

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Thank you so much for your support in helping to educate the street children in urban communities. You can never over-estimate what a difference you are making.

This year from June we began a new academic year and as mentioned in our earlier report we saw the enthusiasm of our children in our “School Chale Hum” program welcoming the children on the first day of school. We also celebrated the success of our students passing out 10th and 12th Standard with flying colors.

Now we are looking forward to their academic progress as they continue to learn new things each day. Even child residing in the slums has the right to education. This is the core purpose of our ‘After School Slum Education Program’. We have come up with a unique program to develop the interest of these children in education; Scholarship!

This year is the third consecutive year that we have introduced Scholarship program for our students. Each year 140 students from 5th to 10th standard from seven centers in the slums are selected by a preliminary exam. The selected students are mentored for 9 months after which they face a test for 5 important subjects. 7 students scoring the maximum marks gets educational material like books, writing material etc worth Rs 3000. Besides the academic performance the overall behavior, cleanliness, extracurricular participation of the students is also included in the criteria while selecting the winners.

The main aim of the scholarship is to encourage our students to their overall development as it is targeted on four basic areas; curricular, general knowledge, language and behavior. This also serves as a motivation that helps our students to achieve excellence in whatever they do whether its curricular or extra-curricular activities.

It also serves as a warm up for their upcoming future where they are preparing themselves for various Government competitive exams. And as for now it is already helping them to improve their academic performance and personality.

We would like to share the success story of our student who took advantage of this scholarship and has already set a bench mark and has become an inspiration for others. Ashna is one of our regular Balbhavan students. She has always been a sincere child and passionate about education.

 Her mother left their home when Ashna was a child. Her father and Ashna are the only members of the family. Her maternal aunt stays just next door and is always supporting her. Ashna has never had her mother around to share the little things in life but her aunt has been a great support for her. As she is his only daughter, her father was initially reluctant to let her continue her education in higher classes.  But after the Snehalaya counselors conversed with him, he agreed.

Ashna appeared for the SSC exams (10th Std) this year and passed with flying colors. She scored 81% marks and stood first in all the students of our Slum program.

She aims for a career in Science faculty and now she is pursuing her further education in Bhausaheb Firodiya Junior College, a reputed college in the city.

We thank you for your support with the help of which we are reaching a diverse range of children within our slum community schools. While we aspire to encourage and support as many children as possible to break the cycle of poverty by gaining the qualifications they need to make their dreams come true, we also aim to improve the overall quality of life for as many children as possible.

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Celebrating our students' fantastic results
Celebrating our students' fantastic results

Thank you so much for your support in helping to educate the children in our urban slum communities through our Balbhavan (slum schools) project. You can never over estimate what a difference you are making and below are just three of our many recent stories of success.

Last Monday marked the beginning of the new school academic year 2019-20 in India. A few weeks before the school gates opened, we celebrated the success of students who completed their 10th and 12th standard last year. Despite the hardships they endure living in our slums, they have made remarkable progress in their studies due to our after school classes. This helps us in bucking the trend and challenges in our society where 40% of adolescent girls are forced into child marriage and are missing from schools. While around 30% of girls from India’s poorest families never get a chance to go to school we are proud to report 100% school enrollment for the children living in the slums where we work.

We hope you are as proud of our students as we are for focusing on their futures and trying their best to break through the walls of poverty and inequality. Also know that it would not be possible if it was not supporters like you helping our children experience the happiness of being part of a school and receiving a quality education. Thank you!

At the start of each academic year our School Chale Hum celebration encourages students to pack their school bags and join school with a new enthusiasm, confidence and hope for a better future. Our students are excited to get back to the school, meet their friends and teachers and get stuck into the new syllabus. In spite of the adversity they experience and their challenging backgrounds, these students are ready to run the race and successfully cross the finishing line ahead of the pack.

We are hoping that this year’s students repeat last year’s students’ success where 96% passed their 12th Standard exams. Given the inequalities in education, we are proud to let you know that the highest scoring student from our Balbhavan was a girl scoring 81% followed by two other girls scoring 77% and 75% respectively.

Our 10th standard students also gave us a result of 85% for 2018-19, with again a girl student topping the table with 81%. Your support means everyone has an equal right to education regardless of income, living circumstances or gender.

Finally, more good news! Last year we reported that Shubhangi, a former beneficiary and now peer mentor in our slum schools, would be representing India at the Homeless World Cup taking place in Mexico. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control she didn’t make it to the pitch. She also didn’t give up and we are pleased to announce that she has made the team for this year and her tickets are booked for the football competition in Cardiff, UK from 27 July-3 August. She needs your support and encouragement and we are asking those who will be in the UK this summer to go along to Cardiff to cheer her on as she finally achieves her goal. You can follow her schedule and progress on our facebook event and read more about her football journey at the inks below.

Thanks for being part of our team and playing your part in giving our children life-changing opportunities to achieve their goals.

Shubhangi is on her way to the UK
Shubhangi is on her way to the UK
National coverage of Shubhangi's selection
National coverage of Shubhangi's selection

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Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Snehalaya Home of Love
London, Greater London United Kingdom
$21,695 raised of $27,000 goal
 
388 donations
$5,305 to go
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