BACKGROUND – THE NEED
All children have a right to education, a happy childhood and balanced development- but the truth remains that several children still work to support themselves and their families. For the past decade, several NGOs have been working towards releasing children from labor and rehabilitating them by placing them in bridge/special school programs where they acquire the necessary learning competencies to be admitted to formal schools. Elementary education (to0 7th std) being almost free in government schools these children continue their education until 7th standard.
However, high school education (8th through 10th) still continues to be out of reach for many of these children. Families find it difficult to meet the costs of school fees, books, uniform, commuting expenses to the nearest school and in many cases children are forced to drop out of school and return to work to supplement their family income. At the same time, the growing Indian economy is creating a need for a larger cadre of educated and trained workers with a minimum of high school and technical education. If we do not act now, children from these backgrounds will lose out on opportunities. There is a growing need to identify and implement strategies that level the playing field.
Responding to this need, ILP has designed Puraskara – a need-based scholarship program for rehabilitated working children from poor socio-economic backgrounds to pursue their middle and high school education.
Objectives of Puraskara- ILP’s Scholarship Program
The main objective of Puraskara is to provide financial and non-financial academic support to rehabilitated working children to continue middle and high school education. One of the desired consequences is that other members of the family and the community will be encouraged to follow in the footsteps of the initial beneficiaries.
28 students were selected for the ILP scholarship in 2005, from 3 districts. The students were selected through partner NGOs – Janachetana in Raichur, SEEDS in Davangere and Paraspara in Bangalore.
A list of all the students is given in Annexure I
Case studies of a few students is given in Annexure II
A total of Rs.135000 was received in 2005-06 as donations for the scholarship programme. Rs. 72000 was spent from these funds: Rs. 38000 as scholarships and other support and Rs.34000 for organising a coaching camp for students appearing in their Xth exams.
Puraskara – Annual Event:
Puraskara - the annual event to felicitate rehabilitated working children for their scholastic achievements was held on Oct.2nd 2005. Several ILP volunteers came to the Urban Health Resource Centre to show their appreciation to all the children who have worked hard to achieve success in such difficult circumstances. The chief guest for the occasion was Ms. Rohini Nilekani, Chairperson, Akshara Foundation. Other special guests were Mr. V. Subramaniam, Vice President and General Manager STSD Hewlett Packard (HP- ISO), Bangalore and Mr. R Babu, Director IT- GDIC- HP. Mr. Pramod Kulkarni from Prerana was also present in the function.
Earlier on 1st Oct, ILP organized a workshop on study skills and personality development for the children on Oct 1st, 2005, betweeen 9:30 a.m and 5:30 p.m.
In 2006, we plan to organize the Puraskara events locally, instead of calling all the children to Bangalore – 3 events would be held, one each in Davanagere, Raichur and Bangalore.
PLANS FOR 2006
Support 100 students:
ILP now plans to expand the scholarship programme to support 100 students in Raichur, Davanagere and Bangalore. Apart from the 3 NGOs with whom we partnered last year for selecting and monitoring students, this year Chiguru, an NGO operating in Magadi, Bangalore rural would also be partnering with us.
Timeline for Scholarship 2006-07
April 2006: Inviting applications from NGOs
May 2006: Screening and selection of students
June 2006: Home Visits and disbursement of scholarships
Oct 2006: Puraskara event – in Raichur, Davanagere and Bangalore
The estimated budget for ILP Scholarship 2006-07 is Rs. 180000.
Scholarship amount for 100 students @ Rs.1200 per student : Rs.120000
3 Puraskara events @ Rs.10000 per event : Rs. 30000
3 Workshops @ Rs.10000 each : Rs. 30000
Non Financial Support:
Besides financial support ILP will also conduct need-based workshops for these children. Workshops could range from: Life Skills, Spoken English Language skills, career counseling, Special Coaching for 10thstd exams.
Mentoring through Volunteers (in Bangalore)
A group of volunteers will take up the role of mentoring the Puraskara children, in Bangalore. Each volunteer would mentor a group of 3 -4 children, all of them studying in the same class. A mentor would meet the children once a week and find out how the children are performing at school, help them with problem solving, and suggest if any additional inputs are required, which might be arranged for, by ILP. A mentor would be expected to commit his / her time for at least one year, till the students finish their final exams.