Children at one of the community centres
PROJECT NAME: Empower 1,000 Street & Working Children in India
PROJECT LOCATION: Dindigul District, Tamil Nadu, India
PROJECT PARTNER: Arunodhaya Centre for Street and Working Children
This project protects and promotes the rights of street and working children in the towns of Dindigul, Palani and Vilpatty and prevents young children in remote rural areas leaving home to find exploitative work in these and other towns in Dindigul District.
With the support of International Childcare Trust (ICT), Arunodhaya continues to focus their work on improving the lives of street and working children and other vulnerable children through a multi-pronged approach of
- Direct intervention - withdrawing children from hazardous work and providing them with educational, skill development and economic opportunities; and
- Prevention – raising awareness among children and communities about child rights and hazards of child labour; ensuring children are enrolled into school at the right age and providing them with necessary after-school support to prevent drop-out.
This year Arunodhaya supported 3,509 children (1,504 boys and 2,005 girls) – this included 148 street children, 1,500 working children and 1,861 vulnerable children identified at risk of taking to work on the streets.
Summary of key achievements:
Guided Learning Centers (GLCs)
The project runs GLCs in Dindigul, Vilpatty and Palani. At present there are nine centers in Dindigul, three in Palani and one in Vilpatty. These are community-based centers with teachers helping children with their lessons in school – as most of these children come from families with parents who are unable to read/write, Arunodhaya’s experience shows that children are at higher risk of dropping out as they have minimal support at home with studies. These centers have resulted in marked improvement in children’s school performance and developed their confidence and self-esteem, motivating them to stay in school.
Twenty one village level children sangams (clubs) have been formed in Dindigul district with 557 children involved. The children meet on a monthly basis learn about their rights and discuss issues affecting children in their communities. All the sangams run systematically with common policy established by each sangam on vision of the sangam, age, activities, subscription costs and training needs. One hundred children involved in the sangams from the Chettinayakkanpatty area signed a petition addressed to the local Panchayat President requesting for repair of a road damaged during the hurricane. The Panchayat took the petition seriously and the road repair was commissioned and completed immediately. Twenty children from three children sangams supported baseline surveys in their respective areas. One of the aims of the children’s sangam is to support children who are not in schools in their area and identify any issues faced by children in their community – this year in addition to participating in the enrollment campaign, the children identified 104 drop out children in their area along with Arunodhaya staff, provided 362 children with educational materials as per need assessed by the children, and supported 12 children in their health needs. Also a children’s sangam from the SR colony petitioned the Panchayat for fitting light bulbs in the communal areas which were approved. Children from the sangams participated in six enrollment campaigns conducted in Dindigul and four campaigns raising awareness on child labor, child marriage and children working in mills – the children participated by going on cycle rallies, voicing slogans and distributing information pamphlets. A sustainable foundation, for participation of children in identifying and resolving issues affecting them has been established.