Jabala Action Research Organization

Project Brief: Asha Dallas is supporting the Kalabagan school for children in the Kalabagan slum
Project Type: Non-Formal Educational Centers (description)
Primary Focus: children from slums (description)

Secondary Focus: to go to formal school

Area: Urban
Supporting Chapter Contact: Dallas
Status: current / ongoing
Project Steward: Vidya Ganesh
Project Partner(s): Baitali Ganguly
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , 10/5 Jamir Lane, Second Floor,,Kolkata,
WEST BENGAL  700019
Tel: 91-33-24602229
Stewarding Chapter: Dallas
Apr 2013DallasUSD 5961
Dec 2010DallasUSD 5977
Aug 2009DallasUSD 5578
Apr 2008DallasUSD 5151

Total = $22667

The project under discussion is a non-formal education school at Kalabagan slum in Kolkata. This school is run in a partially constructed building which the local community lets Jabal use for a few hours every evening. This in itself is a sign of support from the community, because normally this site is a “clubhouse”, where the certain members of the local community get together for playing cards, carom etc.

The purpose(s) of this project is to

1) Education centers where non-formal education is provided to children to prepare them for formal schools
2) The organization works with the government to help these children get admitted to schools.
3) The children in the school are from economically backward families in slums.
4) Once the children are enrolled in schools, coaching support is provided to ensure that the children do not fall behind and eventually drop out.
5) The schools run by Jabala work on the model of a place where the student will come in the evening, and study for few hours, and this school follows the same pattern.
6) In Jabala schools, as the children start nearing the age of 18, a work readiness training is provided to them in addition to regular education. This will help them sustain their livelihood by indulging in productive trades. Some may be enrolled in colleges.
7) Cultural therapy like teaching painting, games like football, karate etc. are conducted to enhance the confidence of children, and especially girl children.
8) Outings/picnics carried out for children. These could sometimes be something as simple as a train ride, because many of the children in rural districts have never ridden on a train. Other outings include trips to historical sites etc.


Site visit report

I saw about 60 or so students (not sure about the number) of several age groups studying. The older students were doing there homework, whereas the younger students (pre-school or just entered school) were being given some basic education. Many of the students came and spoke to me, and children of the age 3 or 4 came and greeted me and conversed with me in English, which I found very impressive. Some students had just been admitted to a formal school, and they introduced themselves. I met a student, who due to domestic reasons had dropped out of school, but Jabala convinced her family to allow her to go back to school again.

Once the class was over I spoke to parents of some of these children. Incidentally all of the parents were mothers, and all of them wanted their children to study and go ahead in life, but were faced with opposition from family. Jabala has been a great facilitator in ensuring that these children keep coming to school.

I was also shown beautiful paintings done by one of the girls. The most touching moment was however, when I was leaving and a child who would probably be 3 or 4 yrs old came up to me and said goodbye, and then pointed to a house and in clear English said “This is my house”.

The philosophy of the organisation rests on the premise that children should cherish every moment of their association with the activities of the centre The existing system of education that believes in ‘One size fits all ‘ , often deters children to be attracted to the curriculum. Since education has limited scope of being innovative the organisation always filled the gap by inventing new methods that will help children learn better. The organisation always tried to instil some values and confidence in the children , which they are not usually expected to have. Constant effort had been to understand the psychological bent of mind through use of colour, music and other finer activities. In the initial years the children were presented with plants and they were asked to personify the plants and interact with them, take care of them. This was done to inculcate the sense of belonging, which the children lacked.
The bonding between the family and the children by asking their mothers to aware of the of the activities the children were indulging in. Moreover attempts were made to develop a stronger bonding between the mother and child . The child was asked to take photo graphs of their mothers. The organisation still believes in overall development of a child more so on the mental development so that a child behave normally and find love and happiness and feel life is worth living.
Today, of course, work has expanded both in terms of geographical areas of operation and in the range of programmes.

JABALA seeks to empower children in difficult situation to meet with confidence and imagination the challenges of life. To pursue physical well being and to serve others with a generous, compassionate spirit. Strives in partnership with supportive families and community, to prevent all forms of abuse against children. Advocates for equal rights for the vulnerable children with policy makers