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Anandghar (A Home of Hapiness)

Campaign by Vardhishnu Social Research & Development Society

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Story

According to Census 2011, there are 4.5 million child-laborers between the age of 5-14 in India . 1/3rd of these children work as waste pickers.

These children often live on the street and earn a livelihood to support their families and in the process become vulnerable to exploitation by others and to a variety of physical and moral dangers. Waste picking ranks lowest in the hierarchy of urban informal occupations and a large number of those employed in this occupation are women and children. Illiterate, unskilled persons, migrants, those lowest in the caste hierarchy and the poorest of the poor, predominantly work as waste pickers, as they are unable to find any other kind of employment.

In the research conducted in 2013 we found that out of 130 children 90%+ were either drop-outs or they were never enrolled in any school.

60%+ children accepted that they eat Tobacco or Gutkha.

As these children spend most of their time in unhygienic environment, health issues such as cuts on hands and legs, animal bites and skin diseases were very common. 

Lack of access and awareness to education is behind the continued state of the problems within these communities.Apart from Education, health & hygiene; social stigmatization, substance abuse are common problems.

The idea is to create an eco-system of learning and support for street children. It is achieved through community Learning Centers as well as learning centers within schools called as Anandghar (A Home of Happiness). These centers act as a bridge between children, parents, schools and society at large. They provide basic formal & informal education and skills to street children specially child waste pickers and child labors and make them capable of joining main stream schools to cope with the learning process in the school. To give these children a fair chance to live a life with dignity and ensure that they follow the path of education towards a better future we are focusing on:

  • Nurturing academic skills: To enable children to read and write fluently in Marathi and acquire basic numerical aptitude thereby increasing their chances of sustaining in schools
  • Nurturing life skills: Expression, Cooperation, and Observation & Leadership. 
  • School Enrolment & sustenance: To enroll and sustain children in main stream schools by leaving their profession behind.
  • Hygiene & Physical well-being: To inculcate hygienic habits and quit substance abuse.
  • Social Emotional Learning: To provide a safe, secure and child-centric environment to share, connect and reflect their thoughts, emotions.

Among Children: 

  • In last 3 years, 300+ children have been enrolled & sustained in schools with sustenance rate of 90.89%. 
  • 30+ children passed out 10th standard exams.
  • Currently 125+ children are learning in 2 community learning centers.
  • 80% children quit consuming substances like tobacco, gutkha.
  • There is a gradual improvement in health (Avg. HB count in 2019 is 9.5 as compared to 7.5 in 2017)

Among Parents: 

  • Initially parents were not much enthusiastic to send their children to Anandghar and schools as well. But today parents are more invested in their child education. The attendance at monthly parents meet is 85%.

Among Schools: 

  • Initially schools were not ready to enroll our children due to so many prejudices and biases. Now schools are not only ready to enroll our children but also helping us actively to complete the formalities.
  • Our children are enrolled in 13+ schools and we are taking regular follow-ups with 25+ teachers.
  • We have also initiated a bridge course center within school premise which is being attended by 30+ children

Replicabilty:

  • We are working with 6 organisations and individuals across state of Maharashtra who are willing to replicate our model of community intervention in their geographical context
Organisers
Vardhishnu Social Research & Development Society

Vardhishnu Social Research & Development Society

Beneficiary Charity

Vardhishnu Social Research & Development Society

Vardhishnu Social Research & Development Society

Organiser

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