Our community projects aim to help some the children in India who will not complete primary school. Often they will return home from school and be expected to spend time looking after younger brothers and sisters or helping with family chores. They may even be expected to spend time working in the fields alongside their parents and can become too tired to study at school the next day. At best they will struggle alone with homework, perhaps aided only by the light from a street lamp.
After School Tuition Centres (5-16 years)
Primary education is now compulsory in India, and nowadays the majority of children will start to attend school once they reach school age. A big incentive here is that they will be provided with a daily midday meal, although many schools are woefully lacking in teaching skills and educational materials.
In addition to our traditional role of providing residential care for destitute children, we are now working alongside several NGO partners, to provide opportunities for education in the local community.
Local teachers, keen to improve facilities for children in their local community, volunteer to work additional hours in Supplementary Education Centres to provide the necessary support. They follow a structured curriculum, and can help children understand homework or clarify lessons (which an illiterate parent is unable to do).
More than this, the children also have a chance to learn through constructive fun and games, a nutritional supplement is given to boost a poor diet, and there are many cultural activities also available.
It has been identified that 80% of the children who drop out of school, will do so at standard 8. Once children in India reach the age of 13 they can be at serious risk of exploitation. In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where we work, thousands of children continue to be denied an education and will expected to share the burden of family poverty, and may even be sold into bonded labour and a lifetime of debt and drudgery.
The Supplementary Education Centres play an important part in helping These youngsters to continue and complete their education.
Children affected by HIV / AIDS
A huge stigma is attached to HIV affected people in India. Many sufferers are rejected by their families and forced to leave the village having nowhere to go and no one to turn to. AIDS has replaced leprosy as the most feared disease and most Indians have no sympathy even with the children.
We are working with local organisations to provide the best care possible with the very limited funding available. The main expense is providing a high level of nutrition, which enables the victims to better fight the disease. In addition to ensuring that medical care and drugs are provided, a school has also been found where the youngsters can have the chance of an education. With good nutrition and medical care their lives can be extended for a considerable number of years, and they will learn the skills to be able to live a normal life.