In a year’s time, we have been able to convince rag-picker parents to send their children to our schools, and enrollment has boomed (http://idsusa.org/blog/2014/09/05/booming-enrollment-network-rag-picker-schools/).
We have been working to not only improve basic literacy but also to help meet basic needs by supplying slates, books, and writing instruments, providing shoes (http://idsusa.org/blog/2014/08/02/1652/) and sweaters, and exposing students to culture and opportunities such as attending plays and meeting a member of parliament.
Students are learning the importance of showing up to school regularly, and we are instilling positive habits like health and hygiene so children attend school clean and bathed. Over time, such disciplines will help students fit in and mainstream with students at government schools.
By bringing schools to the rag picker community, by providing education through activity based learning, and by encouraging parents to enroll their children in school we are beginning to see the payoff; seventeen children from the rag picker community were admitted to government schools.
Having the support of an organization that backs the education of rag picker children has made a tremendous difference in the admission rate. Prior to our involvement, school officials at government schools were resistant to admitting child rag pickers to their schools.
Thank you to all who have supported us. Your support has been instrumental in helping create this network of five schools which supports 250 children. After the pilot program is complete, we plan to expand it to reach over 1000 children in 40 godowns at a unit cost of $ 75 per child.