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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.
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.
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.
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.”
Or consider Aishwarya, who comes for the tutors but stays for the books.
“My favorite is The Jungle Book,” she says.
The number of new, community-based learning resource centers opened in the last year in the Bawana and Shahabad Dairy colonies of Delhi, India.
The ages of school children in India who have significant difficulties in math and literacy and will now receive help.
The number of hours of tutoring each child can receive per week at one of CI-Delhi’s resource centers.
The number of generous, passionate partnerships it takes to make something like this possible.
The number of additional children and youth CI was able to help in 2017, thanks to the Guru Krupa Foundation.