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 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, Founder, MAS Foundation who runs Project Under The Tree to help educate children of construction workers.
"While working for children of migrant construction workers, I realised that conventional school curriculum does not fulfill the needs of these children”, says Meetali. Thousands of migrant construction workers from all across the country come to NOIDA every year in search of livelihood. Each time they shift, they have a new society, a new world altogether. However they do not have any permanent place. What gets affected in the process is the education of the children. Can education be imparted to them in the conventional way?
A skill training and a bit of education can bring about a mammoth change in their lives.
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.
Over 150 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.
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:
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:
- Proper sitting arrangements like mats
- Books for various grades
- School Dress
- A mobile library
- 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.
WHAT YOU GET
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 underthetree.sddigital.in for more details.