In a garbage dump
High drop out rates in municipal and government schools, and extremely poor performance of children prompted us to start our after school education support programme. Our main objective is to enhance school performance, contain drop out rates and ensure access to secondary school.Children coming from urban slums are unable to cope with their studies. This is often due to poor teaching conditions within the school, and lack of help from home as parents are often illiterate. Moreover children have no place to study, no access to books or tutors. The primary programme is by far the most important one as it is in these classes that most children drop out.This is by far our leading project as it is one that was set up in toto by two of our 'empowered' teachers. The story goes like this:
Sophiya who is one of our senior most staff came to us one day and told us about the plight of children in the area where she lives. The 'area' is a mix of factories and slum tenements that are tucked away in between the factories. Not all the children go to school; they roam the insalubrious surroundings and fall prey to predators who use them to steal and even push drugs.
Okhla does not have any primary school in the vicinity and hence most of the children do not go to school at all. Being a factory area has a substantial number of bad elements and illegal trafficking and the children are often used to perpetrate petty crime. Our presence was initially resented as were pushing back children into school. However our effort has now been recognised and is finally appreciated.
This has encouraged us to extend this centre that has now become our primary flagship. We now have a brick and tin stucture in place of our plastic tent. Children moved from class to class and soon it became imperative to start a secondary section. A small computer centre was also added. Environment and other related issues are also part of the new curriculum and the children have even planted green plants in front of the school.
No one would ever beleive that once upon a time this was a garbage dump!