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 stood #WithMalala
We stood #WithMalala

As part of the celebrations to honour the work of education activist, Malala Youszafi, we’re pleased to tell you that all donations made to our project today are eligible for 50% match-funding, meaning for every $1 donated we receive $1.50!

Our organisation and projects are rooted in campaigning and acting to empower children at risk and education plays a key role in this. When as a teenager, our founder Girish approached female sex workers to ask how he could help them they pointed to their children. Resigned to their own fates they wanted better for them, they wanted them to have the education that they had missed out on in the hope that it would give them brighter futures.

From that day, when Girish started Snehalaya by teaching two children, education has been at the heart of our work in tackling the broader issues, such as commercial sexual exploitation of children, facing our society.  As a donor to our cause we know you believe in the value and power of education. We established our Balbhavan projects to stop slums from being the recruitment grounds for pimps and brothel keepers and we are proud to report that by promoting ad providing educational support there are no longer underage sex workers in our district. Previously too many girls like Deepa, orphaned when her mother died of a HIV-related illness, were forced into prostitution. She was 15 when we rescued her from a brothel and re-enrolled her in school, today she is a fully-trained nurse.

“Educate a girl and you educate a whole community”
Malala Youszafi

Through last year’s #StandwithMalala campaign we reached a staggering 27,000 people, including the uneducated girls and local leaders in the city slums you are supporting. One of the girls who joined us on the Malala campaign trail to share her story is Saba. She lives in a predominantly Muslim slum with her widowed mother and four siblings. When her father’s family started applying pressure on her to get married it was our team she approached. As our staff are drawn from and based in these communities they are best placed to understand and address culturally sensitive issues and provide solutions. They counselled and helped Saba convince her family that she should be allowed to pursue her dream of studying engineering. She has just entered her second year of a degree course and has become our own personal Malala, a peer mentor inspiring others to stand up for their rights to a full education.

Thanks also to you, last year our team was able to conduct 4,505 home and 2,100 school visits to help more girls like Saba. They also identified and counselled 50 school drop-outs to return to education, helped another 308 pupils with their admissions to good schools and colleges and awarded 130 of our brightest evening class students scholarships of financial support for education materials.

There are still many more children who need our support, stand with Malala and Snehalaya today and help us to give them 150%.

We helped Deepa become a nurse
We helped Deepa become a nurse
Saba shared her story with 27,000 people
Saba shared her story with 27,000 people

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Sanika has overcome prejudice
Sanika has overcome prejudice

1 April was International Day of the Slum Child and we want you to know the impact you are making on our children and young people. Thank you so much for your support of children living in our slum areas, you are improving their lives through empowering us to provide them with the education that will help them and their families raise their socio-economic status to escape crippling poverty, you are literally transforming lives.

What you may not realise is that you are also helping us in reaching out to further communities to do the same for many others. Having worked in our own city and district for over 27 years we have developed models which we are now sharing with others and supporting them to recreate our unique balbhavan model in their own communities. Over the past year our dedicated team has been working in outlying districts providing them with the curriculum and support to start their own evening classes and work towards ensuring even more children achieve their full academic potential, thank you. You can see more about the full range of educational, health and extracurricualr support you are helping us deliver to these communities in the video below.

The good news is we are now able to think beyond primary and secondary education and reach out to those living in rural villages and slums. We have recently developed two new further education training courses to provide much needed health professionals for our own projects and local healthcare providers and contribute to reducing the highest number of farmer suicides in 15 years by educating the next generation of farmers. Our Bedside Assistance Training Programme launched with 30 new students earlier this month and the first 30 students from our Agricultural Training Center are about to graduate. Both these courses are helping those from the most vulnerable backgrounds to secure employment and support their families.

We also want to help you understand the challenges when working with people who haven’t had the luxury of education. Sanika was born with a major discoloration and hair growth on the skin around her right eye. The financial condition of her family was not good and her illiterate mother believed that her birthmark was an indication of a curse by evil spirits and she took Sanika to an array of weird Sadhus and God-men to free her of it.

When Sanika was about eight, a Sadhu convinced her mother to leave Sanika, who by then developed a complex about her appearance and had lost her confidence, at an orphanage. Taking the advice of the Sadhu, Sanika’s mother started looking for a suitable institution, however they all refused to take her because of the birthmark. Fortunately, she met our founder Girish who immediately agreed to give Sanika a home at Snehalaya.

This was in 2004 and she was soon proving popular among her hostel mates and became a model student at school. As she focused on her studies, working hard and gradually gaining confidence, she started taking part in all of the extracurricular activities available and an operation on her birthmark by a renowned plastic surgeon in Ahmednagar, proved successful leaving only a smaller surgical scar behind.

Sanika secured good marks in her 10th standard exams and took up commerce. It was then that she met a chartered accountant and supporter of Snehalaya, who is providing study guidance to Sanika and two of her Snehalaya classmates. His patience and perseverance is bringing great results and Sanika’s studies and English conversation skills continue to improve and she will soon take her final year degree exam after which she plans to become a bank officer.

Thank you for enabling us to continue to help girls like Sanika and providing us with the support we need to take our expertise further. 

We are training future healthcarers
We are training future healthcarers
Opening a new balbhavan
Opening a new balbhavan

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Our children love speaking with Sangeeta
Our children love speaking with Sangeeta

Thanks to your support our Balbhavan (slum community center) staff are ideally positioned to get to the heart of the issues that plague our slums and provide solutions to help build communal harmony, health, hygiene and educational attainment.

We would like to introduce you to Sangeeta who, aged 20, joined our Snehalaya English Medium School in 2013 after seeing a documentary on our work while studying a Diploma in Teacher Education. She soon became a firm favourite, teaching our 5th standard class for three years, but also proving popular and becoming a friend to children from other classes too. She won them over by building their trust, listening and learning skills through storytelling, songs and other activities which in turn improved their behaviour and concentration.  As she says: “I find children respond much better to love and positive reinforcement than punishment and when they are treated in this way their results and performance improve significantly.”

She may still be young but her natural warmth and talent at bringing out the best in our children meant that when the role of Educational Coordinator came up at our Balbhavan, Sangeeta was the natural choice. The role includes supporting the 14 teachers that run evening classes and extracurricular activities across our seven slums schools to improve the education and opportunities of the children who live there. Through teamwork and seeking to understand the challenges they face she has brought the same positive attitude she took at our school to nurturing and encouraging our slum teachers and the 700 children who regularly attend their classes.

Sangeeta can often be found within the warren of lanes of our slums conducting regular surveys to check on children who are missing school and counselling them and their parents to discuss the reasons why. School visits also help her to check in on their progress and address any issues excluding them from mainstream education. Her strong interest in computing has helped her review and standardise the data we keep on our beneficiaries and improve the curriculum and exams we deliver. This includes our Balbhavan scholarship programme which allows 20 high achievers from each community to attend additional classes and take part in a test in March which will see the top scorer from each of our seven slums receive a sum of money towards their educational support.

One scholarship student is Shankar whose winning smile makes it hard to believe that he was once a non-communicative, fist-fighting trouble-maker. Our Balbhavan Project Coordinator Shabana describes meeting him: “The level of violence among young children is often suprising, even the smallest fights sees them hurling abuse and indulging in fistfights, and Shankar was no exception. I would see him sitting on his doorstep, along with a group of children or alone, staring into thin air.” The youngest in a family of three brothers, he was mischievous and invited trouble, posing difficulties for his mother and father, who earns his living by selling clothes door to door.  

Shabana persuaded Shankar’s parents to send him to our Balbhavan.  When he first walked in he wasn’t enthusiastic, he joined in with games but wouldn’t finish them, he interacted with others but insisted on having his own way, settling into an environment where his demands were not met was not what he wanted. Unwilling to give up on him, Shabana spent time coaxing him to take an interest in his work and channel his energy in the right direction.  “Gradually, I could see a change. He began to complete his tasks and mingle with others and importantly began to learn to control his emotions and understand the importance of boundaries,” says Shabana.

One day he drew a picture of rainbow he had seen reflected in one of the dirty puddles that pepper the slum, kick-starting a previously undiscovered passion and talent for art which Shabana nurtured. He now eagerly bounds through the doors of our Balbhavan to attend art and other classes with his friends, he smiles and talks more and most importantly realises his future is much brighter with an education.

Thank you for giving us the support to invest in staff such as Sangeeta and Shabana who in turn are transforming the lives of children like Shankar.

Shankar now attends class every day
Shankar now attends class every day
Children's day celebrations are always a hit
Children's day celebrations are always a hit
Our annual showcase - these kids have talent
Our annual showcase - these kids have talent
...it's a good opportunity to dress up too!
...it's a good opportunity to dress up too!

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No dream too big for our girls
No dream too big for our girls

Thank you so much for your support of education at our projects in rural India. In 1989, when a teenage Girish Kulkarni took positive action to change the destiny of one female sex worker and her family, education was at the forefront of his strategy. Providing day care and evening classes in his family home to sex workers’ children physically removed them from the red light areas while providing basic education.

Fast forward to today and our education projects range from a school and IT center to vocational training centers and a larger network of evening classes in the slum areas helping to prevent child labour and marriage. We know that education provides a safe route out of poverty and many of our beneficiaries are directly benefitting from these interventions which you have helped support.

While your donation is important to help us run our projects you are giving so much more. YOU are giving them the knowledge and belief to see beyond the boundaries of their communities and to dream BIG.

Today we encourage all of our students to complete their education to 12th standard and enable those who have missed out an opportunity to return to their studies. In our latest iniatitive, we are taking the lead on running German, Korean and Japanese language classes to attract international businesses to our district. This is a part of Make in India, an initiative launched which aims to transform India into a global design and manufacturing hub, and we are hoping that this will give our beneficiaries a further advantage in the local employment market.

As our projects mature, the aspirations of our beneficiaries see them nurturing ambitions to be leaders or agents of social change. They are refusing to be limited by their start in life as you can see in the video below. From Rohit who dreams of being a doctor and Ashok who is aiming for Bollywood, to future teachers Jyoti and Videka, your support and belief in them is helping all of our children to aim high. Thank you so much for allowing them to dare to dream.

College calls...
College calls...
Artist, doctor, engineer - there are no limits
Artist, doctor, engineer - there are no limits
The next Renaldo?
The next Renaldo?

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Maya is now a diligent student at our slum school
Maya is now a diligent student at our slum school

Meet Maya and Babu. Two children we are immensely proud to report are learning well and doing great at school.

 

Babu - is one of our most gregarious beneficiaries he’s a real character, always the first up to dance at celebrations. It’s easy to forget that he’s actually deaf. Babu has been winning hearts at our rehabilitation centre since he came to us as eight-month-old orphan 6 years ago. Our kids Babu's cheeky face and silly antics because Babu has been placed at a local school for deaf children. A whole new world is opening up to him as he learns more sign language and his first vocalised words. The impact of seeing someone do something so simple as counting from one to ten is breath taking. See Babu finding his voice for yourself in the video here

 

It’s no mean feat catering to the individual educational needs of the 1000 children who rely on us. Babu is one of 300 children at our rehabilitation centre and Maya is one of 700 beneficiaries who attending our community based slum schools.

Maya's father is a labourer and her mother runs the family home. Their extremely low earnings means school fees were out of the question and Maya was forced to stayed out of school to help with housework. Thanks to the social workers at our slum schools, who make it their business to know when children are missing school, Maya’s absence was noted. Our social worker made a home visit to see how Snehalaya could help Maya’s parents in getting Maya back to school. After supporting with admissions forms and with a vital school grant, Maya now regularly attends 8th standard schooling and is taking the revision seriously by participating at our after school clubs and activities to get extra support.

 

The reason we can tailor education to suit our 1000 children is largely thanks to the dedication of our staff and by your generous support that we can afford to provide them with the best and most appropriate facilities available. Thank you, you are helping to fund the staff who are looking out to ensure our children get the right educational support they need and empowering families to make the improvements that bring long lasting change for their children.

Now about the 1-10 video...

Babu a boisterous 6-yr-old busy finding his voice
Babu a boisterous 6-yr-old busy finding his voice

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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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