The last thing Khatuni expected after migrating from her home state of Assam to work in a brick kiln was to be visited by an NGO with uniforms and school supplies for her children. But last fall when officers from Lotus Outreach did just that, she didn’t hesitate to send her three school-aged kids to local schools in Haryana. When the officers returned this year, however, she refused.
Khatuni explains that her children were returning home from school not excited and cheerful, but weary, exhausted and glum. Walking about two kilometers to school was the least of their troubles – the road they walked on was busy with reckless motorists, and the trek exposed the migrant children to discrimination and harassment by local people. As their attendance faltered, teachers also grew impatient and responded with frustration.
This year, Khatuni tried to leave her children behind in Assam with her mother-in-law so that they could attend school there, but the elderly woman felt incapable of providing for them. The entire family returned with the intent of working together seven days a week in the local brick kilns. When Lotus Outreach representatives passed through in October with enrollment kits, Khatuni and other brick kiln parents had the same message: We need safe transportation more than school supplies.
A few days later, Lotus Outreach returned with a plan. Using vans from another transportation program they began operating earlier in the year, the Blossom Bus, the reps would provide rides for the children of that brick kiln’s 26 families making five trips a day, ten children at a time. Although improvised at the last minute, the program successfully filled a critical gap.
In fact, the children are now enjoying their lessons so much that Khatuni’s husband is looking for a way to stay in Haryana during the monsoon season when the brick kilns temporarily close. Most migrants return home during this respite, even though it falls in the middle of the academic year. Now that children are attending school regularly and progressing in their studies, families have a stake in providing continuity. Already, Khatuni’s husband brought his mother to Haryana to tend the house while the children are in school.
On December 1, eight vans contracted by Lotus Outreach collected 400 indigent child laborers – the vast majority of whom are the first in their families to receive formal instruction – and delivered them safely to school. Lotus Outreach is happily sponsoring this initiative to shatter the debilitating cycle of poverty among one of the world’s poorest classes, and we thank you for making this possible.
EXCITING NEWS: now you can ‘give the gift of hope’ to our beneficiaries and your loved ones this holiday season!
It’s not easy to find original gifts for everyone on your holiday list – until now. GlobalGiving is introducing the Tribute Card this holiday season. When you dedicate a donation to someone, they’ll receive a Tribute Card detailing the difference that’s been made in their name. It’s fast, easy, and perfect for anyone who likes to help the less fortunate. To donate to Lotus Outreach and cover your holiday shopping, follow these steps:
Tribute Card shipping is free now through December 31, and cards purchased by December 20 will still be shipped in time for Christmas. Cards may also be printed directly from the site – perfect for gift exchanges and other last minute shopping!
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