AROH Articles

  • From Waste Heaps to School Corridors

    The slum population of Delhi is estimated to be three million. A huge majority living a life of abject despair and destitution in one of the fastest growing cities of the world. Still they are survivors, their spirit is not dampened by the hardships and bitterness they endure. They have modest dreams, as humble and honest as their eyes, hands, their poor, hardworking bodies. They dream for a better life, a better future. All children at the Kalyanpuri Centre belong to the families of rag-pickers who have been forced into the ‘trade’ to gather more junk which can bring additional income. Apart from rag-picking, these children also fall prey to petty thefts and drug abuse. It is most important to hold their hands and prevent further trafficking of the childhood. Much of the slum is a garbage dump. The plethora of open drains and sewage nullahs run right between the dingy one-room ‘homes\\\\\\\' where children play and occasionally fall into them. They are mostly blocked and full of black shiny sludge. Women gather around hand pumps to collect ‘toxic\\\\\\\' drinking water in knee deep slush flowing out of these drains while children run barefoot all across these inner-lanes covered in kichchar (decaying wet mud), domestic and human waste. The children become the worst sufferers in such slums as they remain under a constant threat emanating from there abysmal environment. They are exposed to stagnant water, open drains, heaps of rubbish, noise and air pollution which have left them living on a platform of diseases and miseries. The overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and lack of education combine to push them into one of the highest scores of deprivation and poverty. None of the children in this locality has ever seen a school. The parents are poor migrants who do not have enough earnings to sustain the family. Each one has to be two working hands if one has to live and survive. Besides, the documents, resident proofs and affidavits needed for school admission are not there. How can they go to school when schools do not take them, the parents ask? AROH has developed a unique NFE (Non-Formal Education) model that has transformed the education system in such localities. 50 Padho and Badho centres set up in partnership with GAIL India are bringing hope in the lives of nearly 1500 slum children through a customised intervention. In the slum clusters of Kalyanpuri alone there are four AROH Padho aur Badho centres reaching out to 120 deprived beneficiaries. Knowledge enlightens, empowers, questions, seeks and implants an urge for propulsion. In these centres, learning is promoted by nurturing positive experiences in early childhood which becomes a decisive factor for the quality of life the child will enjoy later. There is a wide range of programmes and activities relating to their needs.

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