First of all, we would like to say thank you for all your support in helping Lotus Outreach provide scholarships and a better future for the child laborers in Mewat, India. We are breaking a trend of children dropping out of school and joining their parents on a lifetime of grueling, unhealthy work at the brick kilns in rural India.
Since the program started in 2008, every year we have been able to successfully enroll and support more than 200 kids. As seen in the table below, overall there has been a decrease in the number of children supported by the program. This is a reflection of a decrease in the number of migrant labors coming to work in Mewat’s brick kilns because of improving conditions and labor opportunities in their home states. We have good reasons to be hopeful that those parents who remained in their home states, and whose children have been through our program, are carrying on their commitment to their children’s education and making sure they complete their studies. One of the principle components of the scholarship program is education advocacy - encouraging parents to be supportive as possible in their child’s education as a means to ensure a better future for them. A study by Poverty Action Lab at MIT has shown that giving parents information on the benefits of education, such as higher wages earned by graduates, is the most cost effective approach to increasing children’s school years: for every U$100 spent in advocating for education there are 20 added years of student participation in return.
It’s been very reassuring for us that teachers from schools attended by children of brick kiln labors have been very supportive in making sure that the children get a proper education. Echoing the sentiment of his colleagues, teacher Rajinder Anand tells us, “These children are more sincere and regular in classes. And they are better learners than the average village child.”
Most of the children are able to attend school in their native villages during the monsoon months only because the scholarship program helps them attend school in Mewat through the rest of the year. Through the years we have seen that these migrant laborers would not be able to send their children to Mewat’s local schools or for that matter to their native village schools without the program’s support. Even more encouraging, one tenth of parents choose not to return to their native villages, but instead stay in Mewat during the monsoon months so that their children will not miss any school.
Looking ahead we hope that we can continue to instill in the parents a strong sense of commitment to their children’s education. Seeing the benefits extend beyond the program’s reach in Mewat is testament to the power of extending a helping hand to these children. None of this would have been possible without your support! So on behalf of all the children who can now envision a brighter, healthier future because of your generosity, we at Lotus Outreach extend to you a big warm thank you!
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