CI and the Guru Krupa Foundation: Putting children at the center(s)

Imagine for a moment ... in the morning you leave the single room you share with anywhere from 3 to 11 other people. Then, weave your way through alleys littered with garbage, poor sanitation and open drains. Pass the makeshift liquor stores, under-stocked grocery and tin homes. All of this just to get to a school that doesn’t have enough teachers or textbooks.

If the children and youth of Delhi are willing to face those obstacles every day for the chance to get an education, then the least we can do is make sure there’s an education to be had.

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Despite free government-sponsored schools, those living in abject poverty in India still experience poor learning outcomes. Seasonal migration limits availability and ruins attendance. Gender bias can keep girls away altogether. Plus, parents who often cannot read or lack awareness of the value of education have trouble navigating the red tape of enrollment and other hurdles. These complications compound and can result in major schooling gaps, higher dropout rates and decreased life skills overall.

Children International, with the support of the Guru Krupa Foundation, is facing this challenge head on. We know education is one of the essential tools to breaking the cycle of poverty — so with a generous grant from the foundation, we created more safe spaces to learn. First, we doubled the number of operational learning centers from four to eight. Then we trained and staffed those centers with facilitators and tutors, allowing more opportunities for children to focus on math, reading and language comprehension in a safe, supportive environment with dedicated instructors.

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But there’s more to education than reading and math.

The learning centers, many doubling as libraries and computer labs, are also where the children learn science and social & financial literacy. And once each week, the centers hold open activity sessions for CI kids and non-sponsored kids alike. Each center also hosts four cultural events during the year and a summer camp, which offers creative outlets like dance, music, fine arts — even self-defense.

More staff + more space = a greater impact on more kids!

Is it any wonder, then, that in the span of one year, children and youth who regularly attended the learning resource centers are already showing tremendous growth and promise? Kids like Shaheen, who’s gone from wallflower to potential web master.

“Today my daughter is learning computer skills,” says her mother. “Earlier she was very shy and never came out of her house but now comes alone to the computer class.”

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Or consider Aishwarya, who comes for the tutors but stays for the books.

“My favorite is The Jungle Book,” she says.
The only thing greater than our gratitude for this continued partnership is our enthusiasm for what’s next.

Comments

Fereydoun
Jan 24, 2018

Such a great piece. Thank you for posting this.

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