Jalgaon, Maharashtra, India | 09/24/2013 to Present
In the last 3 years, more than 50 children go to mainstream schools rather than picking waste on streets, leaving behind the vicious cycle of waste picking profession.
Shankar Mhatre, all of six years old, lives in Tambapura, gets up at four in the morning and without even drinking water rushes to the dumping ground to gather ‘valuable’ waste. He returns to his basti three hours later, hands & feet bruised and bleeding from the sharp objects in the dumping ground. Now he has an apology for a bath, a cup of tea with yesterday’s roti. Could we have left Shankar?
We started an Evening Learning Centre “Anandghar (Home of Happiness), taught basic language and numerical and helped children like Shankar to get enrolled in to main stream school, leaving behind the vicious cycle of waste picking profession. The idea of Anandghar is to provide informal education (basic knowledge of language and numerical) to child waste pickers and encourage them to left waste picking profession and join main stream schools. Once these children are admitted in to the schools our volunteer coordinate between school staff and parents of these children to provide them adequate support for long term sustenance.
In this programme there is no specific admission period for joining. Admissions are open throughout the year. The emphasis is on making small positive behavioral and emotional changes through this education. These changes could be personal or in peers or in their profession. Any such change in positive direction is a victory for us and for that child as well. The timing of the center has been set keeping in mind the involvement of children. We believe that every child is different and special. We are consistently striving to develop our curriculum more child-centric and child-friendly.