Education is without doubt one of the key ways to lifting people out of poverty. In India, a country of over one billion people and an estimated 400 million living below the poverty line (World Bank 2010), education has become a matter of survival for the millions of children living in poverty in both rural and urban Indian.
Per the 2012 the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER): Learning levels have dipped to an all-time low. So, almost half the 6-7 year-olds (Class I) in India cannot read even one letter in any language, over 57% cannot read any English while almost 40% cannot recognize numbers between 1 and 9, the report said. Access to education is becoming a key problem and obstacle for many of India’s poor children.
Pratham is the largest NGO working in India to provide quality education to the country’s millions of underprivileged children. Pratham’s multi-pronged approach ensures the following four initiatives:
- Enrollment in schools increases.
- Learning in schools and communities increases.
- The education net reaches children who are unable to attend school.
- Models are replicated and scaled up to serve large numbers of children to achieve a large scale impact.
What is so great about Pratham is that they work with the government and view their programs as a supplement not a replacement for education to underprivileged kids. As resources become more and more stretched and more migrants are moving from their rural villages to the slums of urban India, there is a dire need for educational services and Pratham has worked hard at filling the gap. It is no surprise that Pratham’s model is “Every child in school and learning well”.
While we were in India, Jennifer James (Founder of Mom Bloggers for Social Good) and I had a chance to visit one of Pratham’s many urban learning centers located in an East Delhi slum, where we witnessed firsthand the dire need of education and the techniques of learning that Pratham is applying to some of India’s poorest children.
The school we visited in one of many Delhi slums is known as a “Hub Center”. Inside the Hub Center, the classes are broken down by age and ability. This Hub Center offers three groups of classes: “Balwadi” (for preschool children where they learn the basics), “Balvachan” (for 6-8 year old children where they learn basic literacy), and English classes for the oldest children (ages 7-14 years old). For very minimal and affordable fees, the Hub Centers also offer vocational courses such as computer skills, the art of henna, and stitching. The classes meet either in the morning or afternoon for a three hour time slot.
The Hub Center we visited was located in a slum in Trilokpuri, East Delhi. There were 150 children inside the center on the extremely hot morning that we visited (temperatures were soaring into the high 40s C/120 F) and a big concern was getting enough ventilation inside the rooms. Yet despite the heat, the smiles and enthusiasm of the children was utterly contagious.
Here is a look inside the school.
Inside the Balwadi (Preschool) room for 3-5 year olds who are learning the basic skills (language, cognitive, emotional, social and physical) to prepare them for school.
The children loved showing off their artwork and also preformed a song for us….
It was wonderful to see what can be done to help children of poverty. The need is so vast it is oftentimes hard to comprehend. Yet at least some of the millions of India’s children were in a happy place receiving their basic human right to an education. Sadly, there are many more desperately waiting for this opportunity.
Amazing work and photos, Nicole!
Thanks Jennifer! Wasn’t it a great visit? Still more to come on our trip! Now I’m back from Toronto and ready to write!
Fantastic work! Excellent. This really is an uplifting piece. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you! 🙂 Really glad you enjoyed. I love seeing these children who are in so much poverty yet still have the desire to learn, succeed and still smile! 🙂 Makes the world a better place to see such perseverance!
Beautiful photos of gorgeous children, Nicole! The statistics are overwhelming but it’s good to see some children have hope of a better future.
Thanks Lucy! It was hard to get good shots given I was taking notes and the lighting wasn’t good but the beauty of the children speaks for itself. It was such an amazing trip! I still have more to share. I’ve forever changed by traveling.
Conditions aren’t always perfect but you caught them perfectly! I agree, traveling has changed me too but more so living in other countries where I’ve really got to know the people and cultures. I admire what you do, Nicole!
Oh thanks Lucy! 🙂
Reblogged this on the dalys in woodlawn.
What an amazing organization and children. The photos are beautiful!
Thanks Jennifer! I truly appreciate all your support! 🙂 Can’t wait to meet you in person soon too!
Great hope that the organization brings to these kids! Beautiful photos, Nicole!
Thanks Amy! 🙂
By the way, I realized inside my email subscriptions that yours have been turned off! I was wondering why I wasn’t getting your posts! I’ve noticed that this sometimes happens with WP. I fixed it though! 🙂
Thank you for letting me know. I have a few posts about my China trip 🙂 See you later.
You’re welcome! I feel bad that I didn’t notice sooner! I think with all the travel I’ve been slacking on reading my favorite blogs and then when I saw your comment today I noticed it had the “follow” button next to it which surprised me since I know I receive the email subscriptions. Anyway, glad I figured it out and will check out your China posts soon once I get a little caught up! 🙂
Wonderful post Nicole. Loved your photos of the children, their beautiful faces and those magical brown eyes. I felt I was peering into their souls. 🙂
Thanks so much LuAnn! Hope you are well! 🙂
Great post! I teach English to high school kids at an International school in Indonesia and most, if not all, come from wealthy, indulgent backgrounds and attach no value to education at all. I wish I could pick up a few of the particularly lazy students and put them in this school for a while – maybe then, they would appreciate how lucky they really are.
Thanks Sally! I appreciate the kind words. Yes, I feel often that even my children just don’t understand how lucky they are. However, I do try to show them my pictures and educate them on what is happening around the world. We are so blessed to be getting an education. It is a gift that many children will never have the luxury of. 🙂
This is a very touching post. For kids all over the world education is the hope. Great work! You photos are lovely – they show the eagerness of the children to learn.
Thanks so much! I’m really enjoying your blog by the way. As for India, yes it was quite the eye-opening experience. As a mom of two young kids, I am trying to educate them on what I’ve seen and let them know how incredibly fortunate they are to receive an education. It is a gift that many don’t receive. More coming soon on India! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Reblogged this on Starfish Way and commented:
Very powerful words and photos by thirdeyemom: “Education is without doubt one of the key ways to lifting people out of poverty. In India, a country of over one billion people and an estimated 400 million living below the poverty line (World Bank 2010), education has become a matter of survival for the millions of children living in poverty in both rural and urban India. There is a dire need for educational services and Pratham has worked hard at filling the gap.The need is so vast it is oftentimes hard to comprehend. Yet at least some of the millions of India’s children were in a happy place receiving their basic human right to an education.”