Education  India Project #18618

Educate street children in rural India

by Snehalaya 'Home of Love'
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Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Educate street children in rural India
Our children love learning with technology
Our children love learning with technology

I sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and safe during this challenging pandemic. As I am sure you are aware, the second wave of COVID is devastating India. Ahmednagar District, where Snehalaya operates is one of the worst hit with no beds, oxygen or medicines available to our largely rural population of nearly 5 million. High unemployment, a severe lack of statutory healthcare, drought, poverty and a large transient population has historically perpetuated many issues for low-income families, most of whom earn their living from agriculture, daily wage or migrant work.

Since March 2021 a flood of positive cases has rendered the current medical facilities throughout the district insufficient. There has been a steep rise in the number of Corona positive patients in the district and with lack of vaccinations and testing we are the worst affected district in our state with over 3,000 new cases still being reported each day. With the already overburdened medical facilities throughout the district insufficient, we have established two COVID care centers and are supporting those hardest hit in many ways. You can read more about our COVID relief work at www.snehalaya.org/covid2021.

Due to lockdpwn restrictions, all schools and colleges have been closed for most of the last year and with the second wave, school board exams have been cancelled. It is now the summer vacation and the academic year would normally resume on 15 June, however with little improvement in the situation so far this seems unlikely. With over 700 million children out of school due to the virus, education has never been so important. We are currently planning how we can get all of our children safely back in their classrooms and help them to catch up on their work. In the meantime, we are conducting online classes and educational activities with all of our beneficiaries. By continuing our work with them, we have also been able to support their families with food, hygiene, health & financial aid, vastly reducing the impact of the virus in the most vulnerable communities.

We are also reaching out to those in our other local communities where children orphaned by COVID are at increased risk from traffickers and we have opened a dedicated shelter for them and are sucring financial aid that will help them rebuild their lives. Child marriages also continue to rise and to date our Childline team has saved over 100 child brides – nearly 50% of all rescues in our state! With your support, we will ensure that all of these children receive the support they need to continue their education when safe to do so.  

Thank you for all of your support, you are literally working alongside us to save lives. We couldn't do it without you and we are extremely grateful and encouraged by your actions to ensure our health and safety, please do stay safe yourself.

Using our extra time at home to teach new skills
Using our extra time at home to teach new skills

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We all know that during the last year of lockdown, there was an adverse effect on schools and education. All these conditions caused great damage to the children's studies. As a solution to all this, online education was found. Teachers in all schools tried their best for the study of children.An online education system has been launched to enable our children in the slum areas of Snehalaya to have night schools as well as English medium schools and at present it is going on.

 We should never forget that, As Malala said “One book, one pen, one child & one teacher can change the world”. 

 As you know, at Balbhavan we work on to deliver basic education to Sevavasti [slum] Childs those are from Ahmednagar & outside also. It makes a very perfect blend of education, health & value education. Also In our school we work on to deliver education in English Medium. We are working whole heartedly with a single goal in mind to promote education for brighter career & also reform each student to face the outside world.

The real game changer here is "Teacher".  A qualified, trained, passionate, affectionate and a teacher who loves his/her profession can shift the paradigm of the entire education system.

Friends all of us need to “plan the work & also work the plan”. We need to improve ourselves every day.Balbhavan & School teachers are an excellent example of this. Their usual endeavor is to provide these Childs with the necessary, useful & skillful education for lead their life.  Our teachers are taking advantage of the opportunity of lockdown and give the children a chance to smile and realize the dream. On this occasion, teachers have created a whatsapp group of each center. And busy in sending projects, assignments, activities and e-content to children through online medium so that children can utilize them. This is a golden opportunity for teachers to upgrade themselves for Childs development. They are specializing in the field of on-line teaching, e-content, self-creation of videos, lesson plans and assignments. 

Everyone have unlimited time lab like home and all the resources of the world readily available on the Internet. The entire houses were using as a learning center for children. Childs were busy in E-classes, projects, activities, fun, games, video shoots and a lot of such activities. Teachers are sharing various useful videos using you tube channel. There will not be golden opportunity like this again to fulfill Childs hobbies and interests.  So our child are studied  through online classes, they are enjoying  music, dance, drama, playing, singing, speech/declamation, theater, dress designing, interior designing, drawing, painting, robotics and other courses. Also children’s are making small videos of these activities and send them to teachers & friends also. They are busy in creating new lyrics, songs, albums, dialogues, poems, stories, plays, novels, diaries, reportage, jokes, speeches using their creativity. Also our teachers take daily assembly for inculcating value education among children.  These activities not only increase their creativity, sensitivity, festivity, tolerance and humanity but also eliminate (the feeling of) violence, stress, depression and frustrations.  We believe most growing success is nothing but inner fire. It is Snehalaya which is always helped to Childs to find that inner fire in this Childs. Balbhavan & School has been nurturing students not only with talent but also with extracurricular activities.Turning this difficult time into an opportunity, we are trying to turn every house into a learning and skill center. Our teachers are always striving for the development of our children. Each of the children and activists took care of their own health as well as the health of the parents and children in the service area and took care of the corona by fulfilling their responsibility to reach the doorstep of education. Not to be outdone!!!

The most special thing is that no one has yet faced a crisis like Corona in the service area where we are functioning. This is the ideal thing for everyone.On the one hand, the country is fighting to overcome Corona; while on the other hand, the students who are shaping the future of this country are studying so that their education is not disrupted. This determination will help these children to reach the peak of success in the future. For this, the activists of Balbhavan & school are working hard for the development of children without thinking of themselves and it will continue to do so.

 

 

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Happy Diwali from our family to yours
Happy Diwali from our family to yours

Diwali is celebrated of the victory of good over evil and the transition from darkness into light. The past eight months have been challenging for us as an organisation responsible for thousands of beneficiaries and over 300 staff. The lockdown in India highlighted even more vulnerable women and children in need and we have provided emergency support in extreme circumstances and seen an increase in demand for our existing services.

I am incredibly grateful to our Snehalaya family, including staff, beneficiaries, volunteers and supporters like yourself, for rising to the challenges COVID 19 has brought. As we celebrate our festival of light with the end of the pandemic hopefully in sight, we would like to share some of our positive news and highlights from the past few months to show the impact that we have made together.

With very few of the poorest families that you are supporting highly dependent on their daily wage and no savings for situations like this, this funding has literally kept starvation at bay. Thanks to many of our staff and volunteers living in the communities we serve, we have been able to identify and help families of daily wage workers facing starvation. Working in partnership with them, NGO partners and allied systems we are able to distributed cooked meals and essential supplies to those in need.so far, we have provided over 10,000 food and hygiene parcels to those with the greatest need to keep starvation at bay.

We were also able to provide emergency financial aid to 1,909 daily wage workers, including the families living in our slums whse children you support, sex workers, transgender, MSM, farmers, pensioners, people living with HIV and others struggling during lockdown. Used to existing on less than US$2 a day, the US$40-65 we were able to give them helped them to stock up on essential such as rice and flour and in some cases, the families, realising that such financial aid is not reliable or sustainable, chose to buy extra provisions to start their own food stalls. This will not only see them through the current crisis but will provides a foundation to build on once life returns to ‘normal’.

Due to the risks and restrictions of Corona virus many of our sex workers were unable to work to earn their living in their usual way. As we already have a program to retrain and support them into alternative careers we are really pleased to report that since the start of lockdown a total of 38 of our female sex workers have started new jobs and businesses, hopefully leaving the world of prostitution behind them for good! 

While our emergency work continues we also have nearly 15,000 beneficiaries who still need our regular support. This includes women and children living in our shelter homes, slum dwellers, sex workers and women experiencing domestic and other violence. It is anticipated that there has been a huge increase in domestic violence but we are also worried for the girls being married off in child marriages or forced in domestic servitude and at risk of not returning to school once lock down ends.

Fortunately, all of our projects remain active, including our Childline and women’s helplines which offer lifelines and emergency rescue and support to vulnerable women and children. Country-wide restrictions on a maximum of 50 people who can attend a wedding has reduced the average price of a marriage ceremony, which over 500 guests normally attend, from around US$1000 to US$200. While this is good news for lower income families who are taking advantage of the opportunity to maximise their small savings, it has also unfortunately significantly increased the number of child marriages taking place. Fortunately, our slum school teams have worked tirelessly with the children under this project to reduce child marriages in our slums by 100%. Elsewhere the situation is grim and our Childline team has leaped into action, locating and rescuing 67 child brides so far and our other projects are supporting the rescued girls in a range of other ways.

With our children locked in, we are aiming to continue as much of our regular celebrations where possible and have already distributed hundreds of Diwali sweets and gifts to children and new clothes, hygiene kits and other supplies to their families. With restrictions easing here in India, we are holding a sports camp. 

Times may be extra tough for us all at the moment but, since day one, Snehalya has always tackled the challenges facing our beneficiaries head on, and we are managing the pandemic in the same way rising to the challenges and continuing our mission to work for the most vulnerable in our society. It’s thanks to your support that we can continue to evolve our services to provide practical support to those who need it most. We will beat this together and I am as always truly grateful that we are in this together, thank you.

Let Diwali continue to light up our lives as we hopefully move towards brighter days. On behalf of our whole Snehalaya family, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Diwali.

2020's Diwali gifts include essential supplies
2020's Diwali gifts include essential supplies
Distributing gifts to our children
Distributing gifts to our children

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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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Organization Information

Snehalaya 'Home of Love'

Location: Ahmednagar, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Snehalaya
Project Leader:
Joyce Connolly
Ahmednagar, Maharashtra India
$43,635 raised of $55,000 goal
 
604 donations
$11,365 to go
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