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Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India

by Sahaara Charitable Society
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India
Preventing school dropout of 400 children in India

Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

THE FIRST STEPS TO SUCCESS

When circumstances overtake us, sometimes all we can do is sit tight and hope for the best. When Upendra* was 9 years old, his parents both passed away. His father was involved in an accident and soon after, his mother contracted an illness that she was never cured of. Upendra and his elder brother and sister were sent to stay with their aunt in Kharghar, in the city of Mumbai.

His aunt admitted him and his siblings into the Additional Observation Home in Mankhurd as she was unwilling to take care of them. He stayed here for a while until he shifted to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a children’s home, in 2012.

Sahaara has been working in BKN to help the children from the 1st to 5th standards by coaching them in the subjects they study at school. In 2012, when Upendra moved to BKN, he began to attend our coaching sessions.

When we first met Upendra, he was a very aggressive child. He used to beat the other children and found it very difficult to make friends with any of them. The other children were also wary of him and kept him at a distance for most of the time.  He lied frequently and either argued with us or maintained a stubborn silence whenever we tried to interact with him. He was also having difficulties in class as he didn’t know how to read or write and so struggled with the coaching classes.

As we realised what kind of situation Upendra was in, we began to give him more and more personal attention. We counselled and encouraged him, using interactive methods such as flash cards and group activities to get him more engaged with the idea of learning.

Over time, as we persisted with Upendra, we began to notice a change. He argued with us less and started to take part in activities in the class more. He made a few friends and then a few more. With time, he learnt English and Marathi, the language of the state, and he started to enjoy learning and taking part in the coaching classes we held.

We were delighted to see this change in Upendra and we marvel now at how far he has come in the past few years. Upendra has settled down and he enjoys his time learning and making new friends in class. We are sure these are just the first steps towards a successful life. It is our dream at Sahaara to see positive changes like these in the lives of all the children we work with!

*Names changed to protect identity


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Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

CHANDINI* BEGINS TO SPEAK UP!

Some people like to be quiet. They are the best people-watchers, those who listen more than they speak and understand more than they appear to. However, sometimes quietness can be a sign of deeper emotional issues.

When we first met Chandini* in 2015, she was extremely quiet. She barely talked, except to answer the few questions we asked in even fewer words. Her father had contracted tuberculosis in ?? and passed away. After his death, Chandini along with her brother Anand* and mother shifted to her grandmother’s house.

Chandini’s mother struggled financially as she was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was very worried about her children’s future. Seeing this, Chandini’s aunt suggested that she admit Chandini and Anand to Bal Kalyan Nagari (BKN), a government home for children whose parents find it difficult to take care of them. Chandini’s aunt had already admitted her children there.

Chandini joined BKN in August 2015. Sahaara conducts coaching classes for standards 1 – 5 in BKN so Chandini, ten years old and in 3rd standard, began to attend our classes as well.

When we first met her, we were baffled about how to make Chandini talk to us. We noticed that in class, she didn’t talk to any of the other girls as well. She took a long time to write anything and her handwriting was almost illegible.

We were especially surprised when we saw that Chandini’s brother Anand  was a good learner and very active and talkative.

We took the initiative to talk to Chandini’s mother about the situation and discovered that, even at home, Chandini was very quiet. She was mostly silent even with the people she had grown up with.

After hearing this, we began to intentionally interact with Chandini more. Despite her silence, we kept asking her what she ate during the day, how she felt about classes and what she studied in school that week.  We also began to practice writing with her so that we could read what she was writing. As we kept persisting through the weeks, slowly we began to notice a change.

Chandini began to replying with more than just a few words. She slowly started to smile at us and her classmates. With time, she began to read and write well. Her handwriting improved and she was able to write much faster than before, keeping up with the class. Amazingly, the other children around her began to ask for her help during class so they could understand the lessons better!

We were so amazed to see this change in Chandini. Today she participates in singing, dance and games during our time together. Recently she said to us “Because of you, I can write write and read well.” Hearing this filled us with such happiness and the hope that we can help many more girls like Chandini in the future!

*Names changed to protect identity


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Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

LEARNING TO WRITE HAPPY STORIES

Once upon a time, there was a young boy named Hardik*. He was quiet, almost verging on silent, a respectful boy in difficult circumstances, struggling to make life better.

Hardik lived in Ghatkopar, a crowded and unhygienic area filled with many people. His parents were divorced and his mother consequently married another man who satisfied every stereotypical description of an ugly stepfather.

He used to lounge around the house most of the time and get drunk on alcohol for most of the day. Hardik’s mother worked hard in an idli-packing factory but she was suffering due to a health issue regarding her kidneys. She passed away while Hardik was still young. After her death, Hardik’s stepfather took every opportunity he could to beat him and his younger brother and sister. He forced Hardik to do all the chores around the house like washing the clothes and making food for him every day. Hardik was only 11 years old.

One day in 2013, his stepfather beat him so badly that Hardik’s hand was fractured. A worried neighbour called the NGO ChildLine and they took Hardik and his siblings to the doctor. They then admitted the boys to New Observation Home and Hardik’s sister in a home in Mankhurd. In June 2015, Hardik and his brother were shifted to Chembur Children’s Home where Sahaara conducts coaching classes for children in 1st to 6th standard.

Hardik joined our classes in June when he moved. When we first met him his writing, reading and interpersonal skills were very low. After his mother’s death, he had been prevented from going to school so he could not read or write a single word. Some of the other children in the class used to tease him because of his problems.

We began to give Hardik extra attention, providing him with books to read and playing games to teach him both the Marathi and English alphabet. Hardik began to open up and share his stories with us, expressing that he was upset because of the other children teasing and provoking him in class. We counselled him, asking him to concentrate on studying and doing better so nobody would have anything to say to him.

Today, Hardik works hard and does well in all his studies! He is good especially in the areas of culture studies and sports and his involvement with his peers and us in class is excellent. He is still a quiet boy but we are watching him grow every day, learning to trust the people around him.

In Sahaara, we love stories like this and we do our best to ensure Hardik and other boys like him across the city, can write happy conclusions to each of their stories!

*Name changed to protect identity

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Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

We are also proud to annouce that a local newspaper recently highlighted Sahaara's work where we were able to reunite a girl and her mother who were separated for 15 years! Click here to read the article.

FROM RAGS TO MATHS

Suresh* is a teenage boy of sixteen. He is always respectful, holding the memory of his mother close to his heart and working hard at his studies so he does well. There was a time however when Suresh was not so happy.

Suresh’s father was an alcoholic and used to beat his mother, younger brother and two younger sisters regularly. In 2008, when Suresh was nine, his mother took his two sisters and left for Gujarat. The next year Suresh, his brother and father moved to Nashik where they lived on the footpath for four years.

One day in 2013, when Suresh was fourteen, his father came home drunk and began to hit his younger brother. Frustrated with circumstances, Suresh finally stood up to his father, enduring a thrashing himself. In despair, the next night he took a train to Bhusaval station in Jalgaon district and began to work as a rag-picker.

He was caught by the police and put in a home in Bhusaval. After two months, he shifted to David Sassoon Industrial School (DSIS) Home in Mumbai.

This is where Sahaara staff met him. We conduct coaching classes to supplement the education of children in these homes. Suresh started attending our classes in DSIS.

When he initially attended, Suresh was extremely self-conscious of his lack of education. He had studied only until 1st standard and didn’t have even a rudimentary knowledge of Maths and Marathi. He couldn’t count even until the number 20!

We noticed how upset Suresh used to get and how self-conscious he felt about his lack of education. Seeing this, we gave him special attention. We began to coach him in Maths and Marathi using the computer and interactive educational methods.

Gradually he began to feel better about himself and he grew in confidence about his skills. “I can learn and do better in my studies,” said Suresh recently, demonstrating how hard working he is.

Today Suresh can count until 200 and he knows all the Maths tables from 2 until 10. He can also read and write in basic Marathi.

We are so proud of Suresh for his hard work and his determination to rise past the circumstances of his life! We hope to see many children, like Suresh, become confident in their abilities and pursue their dreams with determination!

*Name changed

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Sahaara believes that every person has a dream, and our work centers around ensuring that marginalized persons are able to articulate and work towards achieving their dream. Children in observation homes are one of the most marginalized populations in Mumbai.

The children who live in these Homes come from different states of India and are educated in a Marathi medium school run by the Home. The language difference makes it difficult for them to learn. Remedial education helps in coaching the children in the Marathi language as well as their school subjects thereby helping them understand what they are learning and maintaining their interest to continue education once discharged from the Home.

Sahaara staff procures addresses of discharged children from the home authorities. The social workers then traverse through labyrinthine gullies of Mumbai slums searching for the children’s residences. Through such home visits, networking with local schools, facilitating assistance in books and materials, the child is facilitated entry into formal education paving the way to a bright future.

Vishal is excelling in his studies!

Vishal thinks he was born in 2002 and has no idea as to where his parents live. He knows that, when he was at home, he had a younger brother and sister.

In 2007 his parents were having a huge misunderstanding and, in fear, Vishal ran away from home and got lost. The police found him loitering near a railway station and put him in the Dongri Home for protection.

The following year he was shifted to another Home and in early 2011 he was moved to the Chembur Children’s Home where we met with him for the first time.

In this Home, Sahaara conducts supplementary education for the 1st to the 6th grade and basic computer literacy classes for the 8th and 9th grade, along with counseling the children.

Vishal was a very reserved boy who kept to himself. When questions were asked during the coaching classes, he was never one to raise his hand and offer an answer. Whenever he was included and asked to say something – he would invariably add a disclaimer and say that the answer may be wrong. He rarely participated in any of the games that we conducted.

He did well in his exams, and in any written work he would be above average – but hesitated and struggled when he had to interact one on one. He was very low in confidence.

The teachers, noticing this issue, involved him in group activities and made him take a lead role in managing a group of children and generally kept encouraging him.

In a short while he began to open up to the teachers in the class and poured out his life to them.

He was beaten up at home very often and used to think that he would die one day with the beating – that was a fear that made him run away at that tender age.

As the teachers began to walk alongside him – noticeable changes began to appear in Vishal’s life.

He began to get prizes for cleanliness and attendance, and by the year end, had won the best overall student prize as well as stood second in academics! A huge shift from being a reserved child to one that was able to play alongside and work with his peers!

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Sahaara Charitable Society

Location: Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra - India
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Rahul Thomas
Mr.
Mumbai, Maharashtra India
$11,206 raised of $18,600 goal
 
150 donations
$7,394 to go
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