INTRODUCTION VIBHA have been kind enough to support the child labor rehabilitation centers for the consecutive years. For almost a decade and more, HEARDS has been carrying an exemplary task of eradicating child labour and preventing abuse of children(both the genders) being exploited against their will in most cases and illegally thus spoiling their lives in the earliest stages of life, resulting in corrupting the young minds and tempting them to resort to anti social activities. The Secretary of HEARDS and Project Coordinator Mr. K Santy has been rendering various services including educating these children by running rehabilitation centers aiding them to adopt a civilized social life, in their life. The percentage of children turning out have improved their life style, coming out of our rehabilitation centers are very encouraging. All the sustained efforts by HEARDS team have fructified.
PROGRESS DURING THE REPORTING PERIOD The following are the activities carried out during this reporting period:
CHILDREN’S PROGRESS We are happy to share the good news that the children’s performance has been better than the last year. All children not only got promoted to next respective groups, some of them even got good grades/marks in their exams. The centre teachers really put a lot of effort in all this. One of the reasons for this achievement has been that now these children have been coming to our centre for almost two years. In other words, our teachers know them – their strengths, weaknesses and have helped the kids to overcome their weaknesses. Some of the girls, who are first generation learners, still who are average in studies continue to come to our centre. We encourage these girls to continue to come to our centre and learn as much as they can so that these girls will have to cope up with the regular school going children.
Attendance rates vary from 68 per cent to 98 per cent, indicating that appropriate joyful teaching conditions are in place to attract children who often drift away due to various socio-economic factors. The average age of children enrolled in the rehabilitation Centers indicates that efforts are made to enroll the majority of child laborers and out-of-school children without restricting them on the basis of age. Thus, a central mission of the organization to reach out for child laborers and out-of-school children in all age groups is achieved. Efforts are made to get younger children mainstreamed directly into government formal schools. Follow-up activities are conducted to ensure that the children enrolled do not drop out from schools.
However our rehabilitation centers with child laborers have a lower pupil/teacher ratio in order to provide quality education and an appropriate learning environment. Achievement tests on the carefully selected sample students on the day of the survey showed that the students had improved in their learning levels appropriate to their classes and age. Personal observation in the classrooms indicates that training inputs provided to the teachers was closely associated with the achievement levels of the students. Teachers had prepared lesson plans and were following the instructions given to them during the training sessions. Regular workshops and exchange of knowledge in RPMs have increased their classroom transaction capacities. Teachers have generated self prepared curriculum material and TLMs to deal with the requirements of the children appropriately along with using SSA developed condensed curriculum. They are equally regular in the centre which is indicative of their retention within the education system.
ENTHUSIASTIC ANIMATORS AND TEACHERS After a long struggle with the animators and teachers, we were able to have a stable team of staff. All the staff was equally good and regular in the rehabilitation centre. Another credible thing about the animators and the teachers is that they take very less leaves and always inform in advance in case they need to take a day off. And, as and when they go out for leave we mutually make arrangements for replacement teacher so that the centre remains open and children can come. The teachers are learning from their day to day interaction with children and are improving themselves. Children love to come to the centre and have been regular in their attendance.
PARENTS MEETINGS Parents meetings were organized every month where the project coordinator along with the teachers and animator participated. The parents are informed of the children’s performances. Here the role of the project coordinator is to sensitize the parents about the importance of education and also the need of their participation in education. The parents are still at the stage of saying that “we are sacrificing our revenues by sending these children for our rehabilitation centers. But we are pretty confident that these children will certainly settle down in their lives”. At one level they don’t want their children to be ill treated in the society as they are treated everyday but on the other hand they have doubts on the children’s future due to unemployment and privatization which lead to no use of reservation policies. We consider the parents meeting is an education and awareness for parents about the society and their role in coming together to work for the rights.
MEDICAL CHECKUP FOR CHILDREN On 8 December, 2014 Tamilnadu based dairy by named Arogya milk has organized a medical checkup camp in our child labor rehabilitation centre. The Arogya milk organisers prepared a health check up form and sent it to the doctors who visited our rehabilitation centers. These forms were used for recording the height, weight, and other general condition of the children. The centre teachers filled up the background information about each child in advance on these forms and this made it easy for Doctors to interact with each child when his/her turn came. All our rehabilitation centre children attended the health camp and benefited from the camp. Our centre teachers had done class discussion with the children to encourage them not to miss the school on the day of the camp and that they should take the oral medicine for de-worming. Beyond that they have also distributed gifts to all our children. The highlight of the check-up was that a few mothers were also present at the time of the check up to discuss any specific health issue concerning the child. The consulting Doctors provided appropriate guidance to mothers.
TEACHERS TRAINING A one day long participatory training was done. During the training various points were touched upon, including, administrative issues, kinds of records to be maintained at each centre; general protocols to be observed; timings of the centre; assessment of children; teaching learning material to be used, etc. During the meeting it was unanimously agreed that every fortnight the teachers will meet to discuss the plans for the next fortnight and also the progress against the set tasks. It’s a conservative society and it is definitely going to take time for teachers to open up and demonstrate their potential.
CHILDREN’S DAY CELEBRATION Children of our HEARDS rehabilitation center organized a Children’s Day programme on 14th November 2014. Our staff educated the Children on the significance of the Day. They are sang, dance and recited poems. This was followed by serving of some refreshment to children. It was a pure entertainment for children and they were happy to be a part of it.
GANDHI JAYANTHI HEARDS Staff team celebrated Gandhy Jayanthi at our child labor rehabilitation centre in Johns Garden, Chittoor on October 2, 2014. In this programme, all the 45 children participated. Among them 5 children delivered speech on the role and contribution of Mahatma Gandhi in India. We have also conducted an essay writing competition among the children and among them top two cheered with prizes. Our senior teacher Mrs.Sunitha Kumari shared Gandhiji’s struggle for India’s independence. Finally our team has a documentary on awareness on child labor and importance of education for children. The ceremony was closed with distribution of chocolates among children.
SPOKEN ENGLISH COACHING CLASSES
All the students and teachers started to learn spoken English. A need-based approach is practised for this learning. That is, all those who wish to learn to speak English are taught the spoken skills, and all those who wish to read and write and pursue higher studies in English are taught to list out the details of this learning, and then to learn them using appropriate methods. Teachers and children started to use basic sentence structure Method. They also use a 400 hours Intensive English Course developed by CIEFL (Central Institute of English as Foreign Language) of Hyderabad.
CONCLUSION Towards the end of the school day physical exercises, meditation and indoor games activities take place. Thus learning occurs in the centre in an integral manner involving not only the mental level but the vital, physical and psychic parts of the being. We are extremely thankful to VIBHA for your continuous support towards this inevitable program.