Help Educate Children of Construction Workers

"They build our homes but they have nowhere to live. They do not have access to proper education and training to grow and prosper", says Meetali, Founder, MAS Foundation who runs Project Under The Tree to help educate children of construction workers.

Thousands of migrant construction workers from smaller towns and villages of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal come to NOIDA every year in search of livelihood. They build a new apartment, a new society, a new locality brick by brick and then move on to some other build a new world for us. They have no permanent place to live.

The children big or small, in such families move with them every time to a new world. They grow up watching their parents working in dust day in and day out. But they do watch those who come to occupy the houses they build. They do fancy the cars and fashionable clothes the occupants wear. They do hope to build their own home some day. As they grow, most of these dreams begin to shatter one by one and they  are forced to follow the footsteps of their parents and thus the cycle continues.

Successive interventions have shown that education is big game-changer for them. A skill training and a bit of education can bring about a mammoth change in their lives. 

But then, the education cannot be imparted to them in the conventional way. It's a world where every hand, big or small is directly linked to family's economy. While parents work to earn wages daily, children clean makeshift houses they live in, wash clothes, run kitchen and if need arises go to the site as well to help their parents carry out the tasks they are assigned. And if the parents want to earn a little extra buy selling vegetables or food items on a cart, these children have to help them. These children in fact, have little time for themselves. Spending five hours at school even if it is free, is a luxury.

Under The Tree is an initiative of MAS Foundation that help these children learn the basics in the most unconventional way. The learning path is decided keeping in view of individual requirement. Curriculum is flexible and tests are carried out only to keep their interest in education intact. More than anything else psychological and emotional support is required. The utmost important aspect in this journey of learning is to keep alive the dreams and aspirations in the tiny eyes. 

Meetali a graduate in Home Science from Jabalpur and a B. Ed has worked in the field of education since 1991. she started her career with schools, went to Doordsrshan and AIR as anchor, moonlighted in corporate administration and finally became an education activist devoting her time to uplift the marginalised sections of society. For the past two years she has been working for children of migrant construction workers in NOIDA.

"I am a migrant myself who came to Delhi-NCR in search of a job way back in 1999. I can understand what it takes to eke out a living in NCR", says Meetali reflecting on her experiences in Delhi. "While working for children of migrant construction workers, I realised that conventional school curriculum does not fulfill the needs of these children. So I decided to work out a curriculum that is flexible and that goes well with their work schedule. That helped me in curbing the dropout rate and number of children rose quickly", says Meetali while explaining the special needs of these children. 

Over 110 children have been given basic education under the project so far. "All educational expenses have been met through by my personal fund and help from local community occasionally. The number of children has gone up now.  It requires a little more from all of us", observes Meetali who wants to establish three more such informal schools near construction sites in NOIDA. She has plans for establishing a mobile library for these children and a portable game kit as well.

Ankit Nigam"Donors like Ankit Nigam who works in an office nearby came to support the project on their own. They distributed notebooks and also textbooks to children. The support encouraged me to plan further and expand the school", says Meetali

Under The Tree project has been designed for children of migrant construction workers living in NOIDA. The objectives of the project are following:
1. Provide elementary education
2. Ensure balanced development of the children
3. Prepare the children for skill training
4. Bring the children to the mainstream and thus reduce the incidents of petty crimes in the area


Informal schools are set up near construction sites or near the huts of migrant labours. No banner or publicity is used. The teacher ensures one to one contact with family members of the prospective students.

Once the child comes to school, peer learning method is used. Guidance and support in terms of stationary, books, notebooks, etc are provided. Healthy habits like cleanliness, no to tobacco, etc are inculcated gradually. Fundamentals of readings and writing are introduced. 
The children are grouped in four categories:
A. Seeds
B. Roots
C. Sprout 
D. Sapling

Practical examples from their surroundings are cited throughout the one-hour class in order to motivate them.  Once the children become familiar with fundamental concepts, they are encouraged to join Government schools of the area.


Over 110 students have been given elementary knowledge of reading, writing and simple calculations for everyday use successfully. Over thirty per cent of such students enrolled themselves in Government schools of the locality.


The informal schools have been run at two places so far. The project has been run on self-funding primarily. Some need-based voluntary support in terms of stationary and notebooks have also come.


The number of children is growing very fast. The informal school requires external funding to keep it going. The schools requires the following:

  1. Proper sitting arrangements like mats
  2. Stationary
  3. Books for various grades
  4. Notebooks
  5. School Dress
  6. A mobile library
  7. A portable gaming kit


Funding is sought for 20 students in the first phase. In later phases, funding would be required for additional batches of 20.  


After donation, you will be getting regular progress reports of the students and personal "Thank You" cards from students. You will get invites to watch these children perform on special occasions.

Please visit us at for more details.
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One group of children studying Under The Tree
One group of children studying Under The Tree
Budget for Under The Tree 2017
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16th August 2017
Dear Donors
Happy to share with you some of the pics of Independence Day celebrations at #underthetree. We thank two of our donors--Ms. Shefali Mukerjee and Advocate Shanto Mukerjee who came to meet and address the children on the occasion. Children sung national anthem, played kho-kho and spent a joyous time together. Sweets and chocolates were distributed.All this was possible because of your support and help. 

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