The slum houses approximately 50,000 families, and they live congested in poor conditions. Most of the family are daily wages earners and women used to go house keeping & domestic work in nearby areas. It lacks basic infrastructure, and the entire area floods up for nearly three months during the monsoons. In such an environment, prioritizing education is a difficult task for the slum children.
The slum is home to many school drop-outs, students de-roll from school even before finishing their tenth grade. The children do not have the privilege of a comfortable familial and financial condition to complete schooling and pursue higher education.
Thereby, five years ago the youth of the locality formed 'Ambedkar Bhagat Singh Padippagam’ - a study centre cum night school with library - to provide any and every sort of support to facilitate students with their education.
Most Kallukuttai students attend the government higher secondary schools in Thoraipakkam, Perungudi and Taramani. For these students, from classes 1 to 10, we provide additional support through our volunteers, who primarily ensure that the students are kept afloat in their studies. Besides the school curriculum, as of now, we are focusing on reading skills and English education.
If certain students have familial problems, we proactively engage and sort it out, to make sure they do not drop out of school.Through the Padippagam, we have also taken the initiative of focusing on drop outs and on students who have had a gap in education. We help students who have quit school around seventh or eighth grades to re-enter the system. They are encouraged to complete tenth grade, by appearing for the examinations in private.
Our Padippagam volunteers teach the necessary lessons for them.For the children who dropped out, but want to develop minimum reading and writing skills, we train them through our volunteers.
For the students who completed their schooling, especially the meritorious students, our organization ensures that they are enrolled in higher educational institutions. Additionally, for students who show interest to appear in public service examinations, we collate study notes.
Only recently there are some first generation graduates in Kallukuttai, this has to widen in the coming days.Amidst all the ongoing work, the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic worsened the situation for the slum children overnight.
While private schools continued to take classes via online mode (even though to ensure profits), government schools could not tread that path. These students do not have access to proper gadgets and internet facilities to attend classes online.
With family economic hardships due to lose of jobs in Covid - 19 & closure of IT companies, education is also no longer their affordability. Many students began dropping out of schools to take up petty jobs.
For all the expanded responsibility, the Padippagam requires funds to sustain its work. We require more volunteers, books and other resources to fulfil the task we have taken up.
The Covid-19 lockdown affected all our lives in a bad way. But, it affected some in worse ways than others. We believe you would contribute generously keeping this in mind. Your financial support can help educate a poor student.
With more funds and human resources, we can help more students gain better education, and elevate and empower their lives.