Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Education is a social responsibility too

                                                       Abha Khanna

A child’s begging hand is like a slap on the face of every proud Indian. It is a shame that in a fast developing country, many children in the cities are forced to work as beggars, rag pickers and shop workers or simply roam the streets in the absence of a guiding hand.
What is the future of children who roam the streets and have no access to education? What can motivate street children to go to a classroom and learn skills that can brighten their future?
Society needs to play a role here. There’s a lot of untapped talent in them. These children are very alert and receptive to their environment. A little love and affection acts as a strong motivator to bring them to a classroom. They are eager learners and usually respond very positively to well-meaning guidance.
Majority of children who do not attend school have one element missing in their life. Their parents/guardians prioritize earning over education. They are either unable to spare time to ensure their ward’s schooling, or prefer to push their child to start earning at a young age. Either way, the child is the sufferer. However, a large percentage of parents/guardians respond positively to counseling and guidance. If social service organizations take the lead to provide their children with education, they are even supportive.
SumVikas Trust was born of the dream that no Indian child should be devoid of basic education, and should never need to beg. All children of poor, backward and uneducated families should have access to opportunities that can prepare them for gainful employment and make them responsible citizens of India. This dream connected a group of professionals who wanted to do their bit to uplift and strengthen the weaker sections of society. SumVikas launched in June 2007, with the aim to undertake social service projects on a no-profit-no-loss basis. 
SumVikas focuses entirely on children who are out of the schooling system. The teachers virtually play the role of mother, when they take a round of their houses and bring the children to class. These children are then admitted to nearby schools and given tuition support after school so that the child does not drop out again.
From where these children come from, the women also need to be empowered. Many are illiterate, unemployed or underpaid. Their empowerment has a direct effect on the lives of their children. With this in mind, SumVikas also started literacy classes and skills training centres for women.
Eight years down the line, the trust runs projects in Delhi, Uttarakhand and Haryana. Big and small achievements have made the journey worthwhile… motivating the team to work harder and reach out to more people in need.

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