INDIA: New Program Provides Education to Children of Migrant Families
(MissionNewswire) Children of migrant workers from the slums in Nizampura, an area within Vadodara, the third largest city in the western Indian State of Gujarat, will now have a chance to gain an education thanks to a new program set up by Don Bosco Snehalaya. The Salesian-run organization provides education, social development programs and facilitates many of the child rights clubs in the country.
Education courses have already started for children of migrant families from the areas of Makarpura, Pratapnagar and Tarsali in the city of Vadodara. Expanding the program, Salesian missionaries are setting up classes within the Nizampura slums. The goal is the development of a new educational center for migrant children but first missionaries are going to where the families live and educating children there in order to gain their trust and provide information to parents about the importance of education.
“Parents need counseling as they are unwilling to send these children to schools,” said Karan Patel one of the volunteering teachers in a recent Times of India article. “Some of them even get enrolled in municipal schools but remain absent. The classes will be conducted in the presence of their parents.”
Parents are often reluctant to send their children to school in the Nizampura slums because youth often bring in extra money for their families by begging and commit theft. In a recent Salesian survey conducted in Nizampura, there were close to 30 children from nearly 60 families of migrant workers that are in need of education. The children are between eight and 18 years of age. Salesian education will also teach employable skills in chocolate making, training in dental assistant, computers, and a beautician course. In addition, life skills training and workforce development program will be available to provide assistance for older youth who will be able to access employment after graduating.
Salesian programs are making a difference in the lives of poor youth in India, but the need continues to grow. According to the World Bank, India is home to 25 percent of the world’s poor and more than 30 percent of the country’s population lives in poverty. While progress has been significant and the number of out-of-school children has been reduced from 25 million to 8 million in the past eight years, India continues to have the largest number of child laborers in the world. In addition, an estimated 10 million children live on the streets facing the daily horrors of rampant exploitation, forced labor, widespread substance abuse and physical violence. Many poor youth see little opportunity or hope for a better life.
“Salesians are making steady progress in the fight against poverty for youth in India, but there is so much more to be done. As long as children face unspeakable hardships, Salesians will be there to offer shelter, education and other supports in the hopes of providing a brighter future,” says Father Mark Hyde, executive director of Salesian Missions.
Gujarat Vadodara – Facebook page
Times of India – Ray of hope for kids of migrant workers
World Bank – India
Salesian Missions – India