We at HOPE Kolkata Foundation have been working closely with children surviving amidst abject poverty in the stinking slums of Kolkata. They get drawn into the whirlwind of struggle for survival perceiving their parents go through the same each day. Education is not even considered an option for growth or a means to alter their life.
Random surveys have portrayed majority of rag pickers in Bhagar are followed by their kids to the dump yard due to lack of a care giver in their parents’ absence. They scan through the trash to earn a pittance because; even a meagre 40-60 rupees can buy daily bread for the family. Lack of livelihood opportunities as well as neglect by the civic bodies exposes the unskilled adults to a life on the edge, which invariably takes a toll on their kids.
Bhagar has been declared prone to hazardous ailments like swine flu and other communicable diseases. Such factors bar the comprehensive growth of the already ill fated children.
Highlights of the survey showed- 47% of the entire population in Bhagar are children. 40% belong to the 0-6 years age group and the rest between 7-14 years. Approximately 70 % opt for formal education, whereas the rest 100-120 children are either potential dropouts or never make an attempt to get enrolled.
Hope’s intervention focuses on bringing about significant change in the scenario.
- Already, the first ICDS (Integrated child development scheme by the govt ) centre in the area has been set up supporting 30 kids currently with necessary nutrition and immunization.
- A crèche cum drop in centre is supervised by a trained care giver, to look after approx 65 children when mothers are busy fending for the family, is in the pipeline.
- There is an effective provision of imparting pre primary education through playful activities to children of 4-6 years age group.
- Hope partners with the government schools in this area and makes school an interesting place to learn life skills and not just a seat of literacy.
- An effort is being made to provide inclusive environment to educate 300 children of 6-14years age group.
- Support is extended to children already part of existing coaching centres, to attain secondary education.
- Special arrangement is made for slow learners to enhance their adaptability.
- As per Right to Education guidelines, an attempt towards forming school management committees is networked.
To achieve these considerable milestones it requires immense focus and noticeably significant amount of resource. Unfortunately, our work is suffering a setback lately due to inflow of insufficient funds to support the foundation of an endeavour so dear to us. We are ardently looking forward to people’s initiative to take care of these budding souls, who have tremendous potential to stand out in the crowd, with a little support at this stage.
“Ratna- born in a family of daily labourers, could hardly manage to be a centre of focus for her parents ever. Neglected days on end, the only solace she found was in her playmates –mostly belonging to the lower rungs of society. There was no one to safeguard the innocence of her childhood. Though at first reluctant, she attended a school under the patronage of HOPE Foundation and was termed as a reserved student. With the passing days, through special interaction with the members of HOPE her confidence enhanced and communication skills improved a great deal. HOPE addressed her parents to spend quality time with their daughter to help her value her own existence. Their relationship found a new meaning”.
Hope Kolkata Foundation believes in transparent evaluation and monitoring of its intervention. We share the progress reports with our benefactors so that the trust factor remains and we can partner with each other in our quest for change.