AAWAJ works in two slums of Bhopal (Karond and Aishbagh) Madhya Pradesh. Karond is a rehabilitation site for the victims of the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Aishbagh is a Muslim-dominated area of old Bhopal.
During working on these settlements, it was found that there is almost no educational opportunities for children here, as well as child protection issues, are very effective here. Many of these children are child Labourers who never go to school. Most of the children here are involved in Rag Picking and some of them are staying on the streets.
This settlement is also challenging because polygamy is prevalent in this area and child marriage is also on the peak. Many children of this area are begging on the railway platforms and also doing rag picking, which makes them more deprived when they come in contact with the railway.
Aawaj's Targeted Communities
Aawaj works with the Rag Picking Children of Bhopal, Out of them mostly are migrated from different districts of State. Men and children of this community usually beg, while women sell precious stones, and also do rag picking. These families do not consider education as a measure of awareness, so most of the children are still outside the purview of education.
The Aawaj has made efforts to connect these children with the mainstream of education. In the last three years, Aawaj has connected about 60 children of this community to the mainstream of education. It is a challenge for them to go to school because they are not used to of formal schools. Due to extreme poverty conditions, these families are residing in slums and nallah and due to water scarcity, they don't maintain hygiene. Some of these children are addicted to tobacco material also.
In such a situation, Aawaj decided that we should do some activity-based learning through the informal centres and these children and then enroll them to the government school. In these Informal Centres, children are engaged in sports and educational activities. Small discussions were organized with the parents so that they understand the importance.
Apart from this, we also tried to make connections with school teachers and Anganwadi workers. We are working with the children of the age group of 3 to 6 years through Anganwadis and 6 to 14 years through informal centres and schools. At present, Aawaj is also interfering through 5 government schools and 6 Anganwadi centres.
Aawaj also conducts training programs for school teachers and Anganwadi workers so that they can accept such children with ease. Aawaj is working on Early childhood care and Education in Anganwadis so that children can be prepared before going to school.
We need the following assistance for this work
1. Management of Activity Centres: At least two activity centers will be operated by Aawaj for education through sports and games in an informal manner. In this center, reading and writing materials, two workers will help to run the center, rent of the center, their training and in addition craft materials etc. Will be required.
2. Support for sending them Schools: The children who are getting ready to go to school, there is a need to provide bags, copy-books and other material to them.
3. Material support for running Anganwadi centers (boxes, toys and other educational material): This material will be given only once by the organization. Through this material, children will be able to get education in sports and games.
4. Children's Fair (Baal Mela): Children's fair promotes creative expression of children and it serves as a medium for connecting the community, teachers and children.
For this whole mission, we need help of about 10 lakh rupees, which will be for one year. This can support the children of most marginalized communities in educating them to make their future better and secure.