With WAH 2009 in its third week, we urge you to spread the word about Asha’s work to as many of your friends as you can.
Yesterday, the Indian parliament took the historic step of passing into law the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill (2008). Free and compulsory education is finally a fundamental right for children between 6 and 14 years of age, a right that many of us were fortunate to be able to take for granted. It will take a number of years to fully implement the Bill. In the meantime, with an estimated 70 million children out of school, of whom about 10 million are bonded labor, India has the dubious distinction of having the largest number of child laborers in the world.
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Below are 2 of our projects which seek to empower the most marginalized communities in India. They serve remote areas and communities working in bondage or in hazardous jobs, where exploitation is rife and literacy rates abysmally low. To be effective catalysts for socio-economic change, these projects have to go much beyond basic education for children. They have to reach out to the communities they serve to unite them, raise awareness and promote alternative livelihoods. Legal/ human rights education, adult literacy programs, health education, vocational training and income-generation schemes are just some of the ways these projects tackle their challenges:
Kamlahan-Khadarawan, Sant Ravidas Nagar District, Uttar Pradesh
A school of 50 students with some far-reaching goals – to eradicate bonded labor from 11 villages in Uttar Pradesh, to fund 11 schools for the children of the villages, and to gradually change local perceptions of debt bondage through legal literacy programs, employment generation activities, and uniting the local community. Besides its strong emphasis on community empowerment, Kamlahan-Khadarawan prepares its students for the official examinations at Grade 5, so that they can enter state schools and escape the cycle of bondage. To learn more click here.
Mallarpur Uthnau, Birbhum District, West Bengal
Mallarpur Uthnau was established in 1996 as an NGO dedicated to the upliftment of the Santhali people. Recruited to work in local stone quarries, the Santhals face exposure to hazardous chemicals, receive below minimum wages, and lack access to healthcare. Mallarpur Uthnau runs pre-primary schools, non-formal education centers and vocational training centers for the Santhals to help with basic literacy (an abysmal 10% in the community), provide alternative livelihoods, and improve healthcare and awareness. It currently runs 6 schools for 200 students.To learn more click here.
To date, WAH has raised $20,000 out of a target of $200,000 for projects such as these, thanks to donors like you. We would like all of India’s children to be able to partake in the opportunities blossoming around them. Help us help them, one project at a time.
15 Projects. 7000 children.
Goal: $200,000. Raised so far: $20,000.
Prepare. Educate. Empower. Work an Hour.