Thursday, May 23, 2013

Working with Pratham

After spending the first days interning at Pratham's head quarters in Mumbai, I had the opportunity to go with a team from the Pratham Council for Vulnerable Children (PCVC) to inspect schools in Govandi, a slum area of Mumbai. Govandi is the home of one of the largest dumping grounds in India where many children are sent to scavenge for anything that they can sell. It is extremely unsanitary and unsafe for the children, and although it is illegal to climb up on the trash pile, many children still do as a source of income for their families or simply to just supplement their own meals.

The huge mound of trash in the distance.. and it
extends for miles!

Pratham has set up ground teams to assist these children and get them back in government schools. An informational booth is set up in each community to serve as a resource for members of the community. Anyone can come to the booth and report a child labor case, explain a problem that is preventing the children from attending school or report a child that is not attending school. That booth communicates with the coordinators at the main office where I am interning, and they figure out a solution. The booth is the backbone of the operation and carefully records all of the complaints and concerns of the community.

The child rescue booth that keeps a record of all the
children they have rescued 

They also spearhead anti-child labor campaigns by hanging signs all around the community, and encouraging the community to work with them on this issue.

The anti-child labor campaign signs
If children are found wondering around on the trash pile, or have simply dropped out of school, the Pratham staff enrolls them in a transitionary classroom that helps the children acclimate to the classroom atmosphere before they are put back into the government school system. Once the children enroll in the government schools, they are provided with educational support classes where they are helped with homework and receive extra academic attention.

visiting the children's classroom

Some girls showing us a dance they had learned

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