At present 180 children, divided into five classes, are being educated at our primary school. In addition to that we run an Education Support Programme for another 180 students at public schools.
The curriculum is based on a holistic approach, which stimulates the cognitive, social and emotional growth of the students.
Apart from the main subjects of maths, English and Bengali, extra-curricular subjects, such as drawing, dance, sports and singing are taught. We are currently developing the offer of further subjects, which will soon allow us to actively discuss day-to-day issues at the school in areas such as social studies, health and hygiene.
The children are served a warm pure vegetarian meal when they attend school. This has a positive effect on their performance and serves as motivation for regular class attendance. Infrastructure, teaching materials and support are provided for free. The creation of local jobs contributes to the improvement of the economic situation of the entire village.
In order to facilitate family support for the children’s school attendance, we spend time with the parents to convey the importance of high-quality education before the child is enrolled in the school.
All teaching and project staff are always available to offer advice to the children, as well as to the parents.
EDUCATION SUPPORT PROJECT
The drop-out rate in India's public schools is exceptionally high. Several reasons account for this: Children have to earn money for the family and girls are married early. In addition, the quality of the schools is in a poor state. This, as well as the lack of awareness of the importance of education among the rural population, means that over 50% of the children in the project area do not complete primary school.
The Indian government's RTE Act - "Education for All" - only works on paper and many of the children enrolled rarely or never attend school. To counteract this situation, the Education Support Program was launched in early 2015 at two public schools south of Calcutta with the aim of reducing the drop-out rate by a minimum.
One school is the Chakfuldubi Paschim Para Shishu Siksha Kendra Primary School, where 86 children between the ages of 5 and 10 are enrolled. The infrastructure is in poor condition, drinking water and toilets are not available. Only 50% of the students continue to go to high school after primary school.
The situation is similar at Mandirtala Akshay Vidyapith High School. Out of 631 children enrolled, more than half of the students do not make it to the Board Exam, which is necessary for further education.
The Education Support Program at both schools consists of 3.5 hours of tutoring before the official school lessons. Four teachers and a social worker are employed for this program with the goal of teaching students the necessary learning material, as well as providing a meal for the children. The improvement of the teaching and the meal that awaits the students in the two schools means that almost all children and young people are able to attend classes every day and thus complete their basic education.
The tutoring program of the high school contributes to the good reputation of our projects. Local residents confirm that it has played a very important role in providing further educational opportunities and protecting young girls from early marriage. We are pleased to report an annual increase in the pass rate of the Board Exam from 50% to 98%.
WOMEN EMPOWERMENT PROJECT
Indian women have a hard fate, especially in the country. Even as girls, they are neglected, receive no schooling, forced to work hard and are abused. The problem becomes unsolvable when it comes to marriage and the family cannot pay the bridal fee.
With our women's advancement project we want to strengthen women, encourage them and inform them of their rights. They should understand their value as women in the family, in the village community and in society and thus become more self-aware and confident.
Research has shown that working with textiles generates great interest among the women in the project area. This is why the Tailoring Project was launched in 2018. A first 2-day sewing workshop explained the project to the women and gave us the opportunity to analyse their motivation and skills. Divided into groups, they alternately sewed with the machine and by hand. They also learned how to market products successfully and were allowed to test their knowledge by working in groups.
We observed a very high level of interest from the women and selected the 20 with whom we hoped to have the greatest positive impact.
In 2019, the first 16-day sewing training program followed, conducted by 2 external tailors. All 20 women learned how to operate the sewing machine, cut fabrics and sew dresses. A first evaluation showed that another 8 days of training are necessary, which we will conduct as soon as possible.
The women are highly motivated and would all like to work as tailors. We are currently working to meet their needs and to help them enter the world of work so that they can earn their own income and contribute to their families livelihood as soon as possible.
This automatically leads to less child labour and more educated children, as the family is not dependent on additional income.