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
We know all the children living in our slums
We know all the children living in our slums

Thanks to your support 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 accomplish their dreams, we also aim to improve the overall quality of life for as many children as possible. While we carefully select 100 children from each of our slum centers for a program of education we also reach out to others to offer our support.

For example, 9-year old Rashid has physical and learning disabilities and unable to offer the specialist support he requires we could instead help his family access disability funding which has allowed them to focus their attention on his education and development. Where we can we do aim to include children with special needs in our classes through a range of educational activities. Our Toybank games and puzzles particularly work for disabled Ahmed. The educational games keep the 7-year old active and involve lots of movement which is helping increase his attention and learning skills.

Nilima was missing out on her education as she was unable to speak. She now regularly attends our classes and with the help of sign language is enjoying reading and studying. Although Kavita also can't speak she is very bright so we made sure she was admitted into a specialist school where she would get the support she needs. It paid off and she soon joined our after school classes and has flourished coming top in our scholarship exam receiving Rs 3,000 for additional education support. 

We also strive to breakdown other barriers to education. When Shabana was excluded from school for disruptive behaviour our team mediated between her and the school to return her to the classroom. She is now doing well with our financial support to complete her 12th Standard. Sarika is the first girl from the Shikalkari community, a nomadic group made up of petty and violent criminals, to take up education after we counselled her parents. She has been followed by her sisters and neighbours and is becoming a good role model as a star football players and Malala peer mentor.

Thank you for all you have done to support the children living in slums, without you they would be left forgotten and be missing out on the vital childhood development and encouragement that will help them reach their full potential.

Our peer educators conduct regular slum surveys
Our peer educators conduct regular slum surveys
Nilima is finding her voice through education
Nilima is finding her voice through education
Ahmed engages in all classes now
Ahmed engages in all classes now

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Some of our recent achievements
Some of our recent achievements

Thank you, your first-class support of our project is paying dividends.

This year has been a really succesful one with our children showing great progress in their school results. This was possible as we have researched and developed our own syllabus of books for our night classes which complement and consolidate children’s learning in school. Our books have received praise from school teachers who want to use them to replicate our model in their own classrooms and homework. Kudos to the dedication of the education wing of our Balbhavan team.

Balbhavan is not just night classes. Home visits and surveys have seen us reenroll 461 children in school. Thanks to our per educators, the children who would be otherwise working as labourers/ rag pickers or would be attracted to other unwanted vices are attending school regularly. This has been possible only because of the regular surveys and continuous persuasion by our Balbhavan volunteers and peer workers. The survey team has really done a great job in counseling the parents of these children and made them undersatnd the value and importance of education.

Our SSC (School Secondary Board) 10th standard results came out last month, with our Balbhavan achieving an 95% pass rate with top marks of 82.80% going to Karuna, a bright student with an ambition to become a top ranking officer in the civil services. The results of the 12th Standard board exams also looked very promising with 28 out of 35 of our children securing very good marks.The highlight of the results was each girl student getting a 1st class in the 12th board exams which was a great achievement for them and our project staff who are truly invested in their success.

We are now expanding our horizons beyond our district. We have opened our first balbhavan in our neighbouring district of Aurangabad. Our new after school for children is in the predominantly Muslim area of Osmanpura and we made our mark the day after being handed the keys to our new home by hosting one of our Educate. Empower. Lead. roadshows campagn with Malala Fund.

Our team of peer mentors and volunteers traversed the lanes of slum dwellings gathering children to attend the event. Just as we were about to start our program the long-awaited monsoon arrived! Unfortunately the downpour stopped many in their tracks but those who braved it were rewarded with presentations from our team on equality in education, the story of Malala, sexual abuse awareness and, when the rain stopped as suddenly as it had started, some fun games and self-defence demonstrations.

Overall it was a great start to our new educational year. We are now busy planningn for 12 July, Malala’s 21st birthday, which will be marked by special celebrations by our students. There will be a unique workshop for girls which will include games, interactive sessions about girls rights and menstrual health, competitions with a lot of interesting prizes to be won. Every girl attending the workshops and celebrations will be given the skills, knowledge and training to be an Ambassador for Girls education in her own community, thus carrying forward Malala (and Snehalaya's) dream.  

Our peer educators conduct regular slum surveys
Our peer educators conduct regular slum surveys
Teaching vital self-defence skills
Teaching vital self-defence skills

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Shubanghi can't wait to play in Mexico
Shubanghi can't wait to play in Mexico

Thank you for your support of our education projects for children living in our city slums. We are making great advances and eagerly await the results of 10th and 12th standard exams which recently concluded. Over the past three years we have seen a 350% increase in the number of A and B grades our children are achieving, fingers crossed this trend continues this year as well!

While our centers focus on raising the academic grades of our children we are also equally as focused on soft-skills development and extracurricular activites. Shubangi is one of our longest attending Balbhavan beneficiaries who we have proudly watched grow up over the past 12-13 years. She lives in one of our poorest slums with her two younger sisters and brother. Her father is one of the ubiquitous bottled water sellers plying bus stands and her mother is a maid so money is very tight for the family.

As well as completing her final years of a BA in social work she is campaigning for girls' education as a peer mentor for our Educate. Empower. Lead. campaign with Malala Fund. This involves visiting communities throughout our 74,000 sq km district with roadshows focused on improving equality in education and peer mentors like Shubanghi are delivering the presentations and running activities to engage girls aged 13-17 in campaigning to improve their own opportunities. It’s fantastic to watch our mentors facilitate discussions amongst the young people and listen as they come up with their own very practical solutions to help break down the barriers. One example is the paperwork required for college entries, for some people the documentation needed, such as caste certificates, is incredibly hard or even impossible to get hold of. Our girls have since appealed to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra to relax the rules for people from poor socio-economic backgrounds and he has promised to look into it.

Sharing their own experiences is also important in inspiring others. Despite watching all her friends give up their education in favour of marriage, 22-year-old Shabanghi is determined to complete her degree and join the police force before settling down herself. Having grown up attending our evening study classes she still turns up every night to teach and inspire the next generation and is a great role model for other girls.

On top of all it all she also has a passion for football and is a member of our women's team and recently represented Snehalaya and Maharashtra in the Slum Soccer state and national championships. Her teamwork and skills on the field stood out and she has now been selected to represent India in the Homeless World Cup in Mexico in the next few months. We are equally as excited as she is for her to embark on her first overseas trip and represent our organisation and nation on the international stage.

Thanks for being part of our team and the part you are playing in giving our chldren life-changing opportunities to achieve their goals.

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Over 100 slum girls have attended Malala workshops
Over 100 slum girls have attended Malala workshops

Happy new year and thank you for all of your support in 2017. We had a busy year and you can view the highlights from across all of projects below. We hope to have just as successful 2018 and hope you do too.

The first part of our year will see the continuation of our Educate. Empower. Lead. program. Until July we are focusing on improving the prospects for girls in receiving equal access to education in our third partnership with Malala Fund. Our aim is to empower girls aged 13-17 to understand and advocate for their rights to education and prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children through education.

We may be taking a #StandWithMalala but we certainly aren't standing still when it comes to improving the educational prospects and aspirations of girls. Our campaign, has got off to a flying start with a full program of activities in our slum community centers. Over the past two months, over 100 girls from seven of our city slums have been enjoying workshops and activities aimed at improve their rights to education with the aim of preventing the commercial exploitation of children (CSEC).

Our program has included workshops on growing up and sex education, human, women’s and children’s rights and the law, gender equality, girls’ education and further information about how one girl, Malala Youszafi, has made a difference to girls’ education worldwide. The intention is to inspire and empower our girls to follow Malala’s lead to improve the state of their own education. As well as inviting prominent experts in their field to deliver the workshops, our own fieldworkers from Childline and our education projects have shared their insights and expertise helping our beneficiaries to better understand the dangers and risks that a full education can help prevent.

We want our children to play an active role in this program and are giving them the opportunity to feedback on each activity to see what is working well for them and where we can improve our program. We have been blown away by some of the intelligent and insightful responses we are receiving and are making sure that all of the participants comments are listened to, acted upon and fed back to them. One example is that when it was noted that boys should have been represented at our gender equality session, we immediately planned another day of activities where girls and boys were required to work together in teams. It was pitched as a day full of fun but also successfully demonstrated the differences in strengths and abilities between the genders.

Other highlights have included a talk from our founder, Girish Kulkarni, explaining how the foundations of Snehalaya are firmly rooted in education equality and hearing from a sex worker not only about how her own life choices were restricted by limited education but how Snehalaya has since given her the confidence and opportunities to develop into a leadership role as a social worker. Our girls’ education workshop asked what are the restrictions faced by those living in slums and some of the resulting issues and the girls’ own solutions to them were addressed to key influencers such as the State Education Minister. We intend to post these letters and also allow the girls to ask the same questions through other channels such as social media and our community radio station.

This is just the start of our program, we have committed to reach over 3,600 girls throughout our district and we will continue to empower girls through education in our red-light areas and other communities within our district and beyond, all of which complements our mission to continue to ensure there are no underage sex workers in our district and to protect those at risk of trafficking and exploitation.

Thank you for your support in ensuring we continue our work with slum dwellers that enables us to bring targeted campaigns like this to empower them further.

The girls come from seven of our city slums
The girls come from seven of our city slums
The girls have also been managing the events
The girls have also been managing the events
Asking girls for feedback improves the program
Asking girls for feedback improves the program
Girls record what they learn in Malala notebooks
Girls record what they learn in Malala notebooks

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Our team re-enrolls school drop outs in our slums
Our team re-enrolls school drop outs in our slums

We have fantastic news. For the third time we are taking a stand #WithMalala in the Malala Fund’s Educate. Empower. Lead. campaign to promote girls’ education to help reduce the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

This is great recognition of the work we already carry out in slum and red-light communities thanks to your generous support. We were compelled to start our slum schools as we know that these are the breeding grounds for opportunists and traffickers and we are reaping the rewards as hundreds of children each year receive the extra tuition and support that enables them to complete their education and make informed choices about their own futures. With 75% of the female sex workers we work with being illiterate, it’s plain to see that education has a huge role to play in changing the destinies of slum children.

Educate. Empower. Lead. will allow us to engage with more of them, specifically girls aged 13-17, at risk or victims of CSEC, to inspire them to stand up for their rights to be educated. We will also empower them to challenge the barriers to equality in education and give them the forum to advocate for it with key influencers and decision makers.

Through workshops and roadshows, we will reach out to even more slum communities and red-light areas to educate and empower children through teaching them about their rights, the laws that protect them and the importance of equal access to learning. We will also create a network of children to advocate for their own rights in the hope that they will become future leaders in ensuring every child has the opportunity to achieve their full academic potential. We’ll also be promoting and opening up opportunities for further and higher education and vocational training including those available through our own projects, such as our new bedside nursing and agricultural technology training courses.

We are hoping to reach many more girls like Pia and Ria. The sisters were orphaned when Pia was 10 and were forced to live on the streets of Pune, a large city, three hours’ drive from Ahmednagar. With little education, Pia was lured into marriage by a brothel keeper who also forced her younger sister to marry another pimp. Fortunately, we found them and brought them to our shelter home where they both received emotional support and were enrolled in school. Pia also trained in our onsite kitchen and is now a professional cook, while Riya is completing her 12th standard. With your support, we can reach out to rescue more children like Pia and Riya and help them to realise their full potential through vocational training and education.

Why your support is vital NOW!

  • There was a 20% rise of women and children trafficked in India in 2016
  • Only 7% of trafficked girls and women are rescued
  • 80% of trafficked Indians are women and girls forced into commercial sex work
  • 75,000 children in Maharashtra, a large proportion of them girls don’t attend school

Thank you for standing with us and allowing us to continue our work with children in slums that is giving us international recognition as experts in preventing CSEC. 

Uneducated girls are easy prey to opportunists
Uneducated girls are easy prey to opportunists
Thanks to our work & your support
Thanks to our work & your support
Education gives girls brighter futures
Education gives girls brighter futures

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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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