Support structures are provided to vulnerable children which enables them to develop their leadership skills and enhance their learning through a play-way method of teaching.
Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in our society. The children from marginalized and underprivileged communities are deprived of their basic rights and many times become victims of violence within their families and society. We work on child rights through a partnership with our Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) in three districts, viz. Raigad, Dharavi Island (Bhayander West) and Mumbai.
Children from a village or institution (of age group 8-18) are brought together to form a Bal Sabha (also known as Children’s Parliament). It is a platform for children to express their views and to share their opinions. These are inclusive of all socio-cultural groups, as well as those differently-abled. They are sensitized about their rights through various play-way activities which helps them develop a civic and a social conscience.
Through the structure of Bal Sabha, children learn to take up their own and also community issues and resolve the same through democratic values and framework. It offers children an opportunity to experience democratic decision-making and learn about their rights and powers as citizens; thereby, developing the community and making active citizenship a reality.
English Literacy Class
The children from economically backward & marginalized communities who study in vernacular mediums have relatively lesser opportunities to compete with children from English medium schools. Moreover, the local school teachers and the parents of the children are not able to coach the children sufficiently well. As a result of such gaps in their learning of the English language, they are not able to read, write or speak the language and thus lose out on lots of opportunities. Further, they lose their own self-confidence resulting in opting out of school and even available livelihood opportunities for the future.
The “English Literacy Program” is designed to supplement the educational capacities of economically backward children from rural communities. This course is conducted in collaboration with a Mumbai based non-profit organization through its “Leap for Word” (LFW) program. Through this course, the child’s ability to grasp, read, speak and later also write the English language with ease and grammatical accuracy is enhanced.
In Raigad, we work with the Kathkari tribe which is one of the most backward tribes in the country. Their main source of income is from agricultural labor on land owner’s fields during the agricultural season. Once the cultivation is over, they migrate to distant places as a brick kiln or daily wage laborers. Due to migration, the children are dropped from schools and their vulnerability is very high in terms of health and education. With continuous dropping out of school every year, there comes a point where they become unfit for our education system. They then grow up uneducated and end up doing the same as their fathers and grandfathers. As a result, the tribal community, by and large, has a very low literacy rate and they are an exploited lot with regard to account of their wages due to illiteracy.
To end this vicious cycle of generations of people growing up uneducated, CSA along with its partner organisations has been conducting supplementary classes for the Katkari children. The Wadi Prerika (Village Social Worker) conducts these classes in the village for the students after school-hours or once they return back from the place where they had migrated to. CSA has also provided these supplementary classes with a cupboard full of charts and posters as educational tools to be used.
These classes provide a support structure to vulnerable children in order to lower school drop-out rate, improve attendance and enhance their learning through a play-way method of teaching. It also improves the functioning of the schools by training the parents to participate in Parent-Teacher meetings and provides a mechanism to keep a check on the health and hygiene of the children.
As of now, there are 77 such supplementary classes in which approximately 1500 students are enrolled across all of Raigad.
Maaza Maharashtra Maaza Sahabhag
In technical collaboration with UNICEF and our knowledge partner, PRATYeK, Centre for Social Action is facilitating a network of Bal Sabha’s (also known as Children’s Parliament) in Maharashtra through its project ‘Maaza Maharashtra Maaza Sahabhag’.
This Bal Sabha network has the potential to address many of the issues that affect children and can help the voices of the State’s children be heard when decisions are being made about them. This model is created to be inclusive where children from all walks of life, as well as those differently-abled, are involved. We have successfully implemented the first phase of the project and collaborated with 12 partner organizations; whose Bal Sabha’s are at various stages of functioning.
The project is now in its second phase where we partner with like-minded organizations to bring child rights into local governance. This will be done by promoting child participation through Bal Sabhas and Bal Panchayats. (Bal Sabha and Bal Panchayat is to children what Gram Sabha and Gram Panchayat is to the voters in a panchayat). The partners will be guided (through training programs organized by us) on how to link the children with administrative officials as well as the local elected representatives with a view to creating Child-Friendly Panchayats, and how to federate these at block, district and state levels in order to create opportunities for children’s advocacy for Child Rights.