VITAL will mainstream over 76 street children into formal education through a 'bridging' course, academic counselling, recreational activities and a daily nutritious meal, which incentivises parents to send their children to the project instead of engaging in child labour or child marriage. Priority admission is given to girls who are disproportionately represented in the population of victims of human trafficking. Many families in the area rely on rag picking and domestic labour for an income.
A reported 11-12 million children live on India's streets, though the true figure far exceeds these numbers. Street children are present in all 141 Wards of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. In New Market, where our project is located, most parents of our children are daily wage earners who are further prone to migration. This prevents establishing any stable roots and schooling pattern. Moreover, first-generation learners find it particularly hard to integrate into formal school environments.
VITAL holistically tackles poverty in New Market through a 'Bridging' programme, providing non-formal and formal educational support, prior to enrolling children into formal government schools. A daily meal ensures adequate nutrition and incentivises parents to send children to our project, while children also partake in recreational activities. Parents are encouraged to support children through Community Groups and children are placed in hostel-based support for rehabilitation when required.
This project will educate and support a minimum of 76 children, who will utilise education to break poverty cycles ending in child labour and child marriage. Nutritional meals will support their concentration in school, and growth and development, whilst the Community Support Group (comprising mothers and fathers) will be provided the information and means both to support their children's education emotionally and financially, and to pursue alternative career paths to provide for families.