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Citizens Association for Child Rights – CACR

Project Report
Mr.Anurag Mazumdar I Dr. Richa Singh I Mr.Nitin Wadhwani
Mrs.Vidya Vaidya I Dr. Richa Singh


Mr.Nitin Wadhwani
Founder-Director CACR
Probably for the first time, Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR),
a citizens’ network registered as a non-profit organisation (NGO) gets
together to work towards demanding and ensuring rights for
underprivileged children with specific focus on improving the functioning
and quality of education in municipal schools in Mumbai.
This project report highlights some of the important programmes in
municipal schools initiated by a group of passionate citizens and volunteers during the very
first year of its operation and is a beautiful example of how volunteers and citizens from
different walks of life can get together to make a difference by active participation in a very
important cause which will ensure improved accountability, functioning and quality of primary
education in municipal schools.
Whether it is the Computer Literacy Programme, Spoken English Programme, monitoring of
major and minor repairs or becoming a part of the School Management Committee in
municipal schools, it is the story of selfless dedication and hard work of every member, which
has gone into implementing these programmes and making it work, despite the hurdles and
difficulties faced by them and full credit and applause to each and every member who has been
a part of these programmes.
However, this is just a beginning, and only first steps have been taken, guidelines and
framework have been set and real success can be achieved only if it is taken further through
sustained efforts and replicated in as many schools as possible, since we know that there are
more than 1100 such municipal schools housed in 450+ buildings in Mumbai.
Members of CACR are in for a long haul and will have to face and overcome the challenges in
implementing many more such programmes in municipal schools related to proper
implementation of the various clauses of RTE Act, which talks about ensuring free and
compulsory education for every child, and also ensure Quality Education, Health and
Sanitation Programmes, Community Empowerment Programmes, etc. and we will need the
support of many more such passionate and like-minded citizens and volunteers to take this
Special thanks to Anurag Mazumdar and Debanita Biswas for helping us in completing this
project report and there are not enough words to appreciate the tremendous amount of
dedication, passion and hard work of Dr.Richa Singh, in not only being an integral part of
CACR but also has been a great help in compiling the data and information from volunteers
and making this project report a reality.
With Best Regards
Nitin Wadhwani,
Citizens Association for Child Rights

 CACR –Introduction and Background
 History and Genesis
 Our work and USP
 CACR Advisory Board and Core Team
 Projects and Impact :
 Computer literacy project with IITB
 Spoken English – e Teach
 School Management Committee- SMC
 Other Impact Stories
 Holistic Developmental Activities
 Future Endeavours
 CACR Partners
 Volunteer and members-CACR

What is CACR? – Introduction and Background
Citizens Association for Child Rights (CACR) is a not-for-profit organisation working towards better
access to education for the Mumbai Municipal (MCGM) schools i.e. for children belonging to
economically-challenged backgrounds in Mumbai. The focus of the organisation's work is to ensure
that basic education and healthcare remain accessible to all, ensuring that disadvantaged children are
protected from further vulnerabilities.
A dedicated network of professionals, volunteers and likeminded citizens closely monitor, visit and
work in these schools in three key areas - School Management Committees, Computer Literacy
Programme and Virtual Classroom projects. They ensure the overall functioning of the programmes
that the organisation anchors in terms of education and health.
In a resource-constrained country like India, most government departments are often stretched in
terms of manpower and budget. CACR intervenes in key areas in primary education and welfare by
meeting various stakeholders to share their experiences on the field. This increased communication
helps the authorities plan and focus their programmes and improve its efficiency and the transparency
of its activities, directly helping in reaching out to the children with their resources. CACR also
proposes to assist the authorities to find creative and sustainable solutions for their ambitious
The organisation also believes that the goal of any targeted intervention should not be to create a
parallel system but supplement the existing system to the maximum extent possible. The privileged
section among the urban dwellers have a lot of influence over the decision making powers of the
government and can intervene in key areas for long term change both in policy and implementation.
There are some long term goals the organisation is dedicated towards like:
1) Ensure increased student enrolment in BMC schools
2) Work towards student retention in schools
3) Extend basic civic rights to marginalised communities
4) Work out processes for ensuring Right to healthcare
5) Demand rehabilitation of children who are presently employed by businesses in violation of the
Child Rights Act
6) Essential educational necessities of handicapped and special children are met

Why and how it was formed? – History and Genesis
In 2009 the landmark ACT ‘Right of Children to Compulsory and Free Education (RTE) was passed
that mandated that every child in India had the right to complete elementary education of satisfactory
quality in accordance with some minimum standards of education, services and infrastructure.
However, CACR started working two years earlier, in 2007 when few citizens of H-West Ward,
Mumbai started working with a community of pavement dwellers in Khar. The Founder Director of
CACR, Mr. Nitin Wadhwani, was anchoring a similar citizen’s network for a well established NGO
along with citizen volunteers and had sufficient experience and support from like-minded citizen
volunteers, which enabled him to take things forward in CACR.
At the time of its first intervention the children of the community were involved in begging to meet
their basic daily needs and eked out a meagre existence. The organisation very early on realised that
the pavement dwellers particularly the children, were deeply vulnerable in many ways. They had
issues on multiple fronts, and also from various authorities like the police.
It was evident that there were multiple stakeholders in this process and there needed to be a multipronged approach to the problems faced by the residents of the informal settlements (urban slums).
CACR started its work by trying to convince the parents of the children to send them to the nearby
MCGM schools. In order to make this arrangement sustainable though, one needed to understand all
other factors and address the associated problems as well.
After six years of working in various municipal wards in Mumbai, Citizens Association for Child
Rights was registered in 2013. This was precipitated by the need for every school to have a School
Management Committee (SMC) consisting of the school administration, the parents, and
community members to manage the school and ensure that the children receive quality education.
The RTE Act, 2009 raised the critical conscious of several individuals by demanding the right to free
and quality education. This required close participation from individuals which was anchored by a
Non-governmental organisation (NGO) working with child rights. This group was then merged and
formally made into CACR.
The effort of CACR has always been to integrate locality based effort into education-related planning
for underprivileged children. CACR has been working in the following localities:
1) H(West) area of Mumbai covering Bandra(W), Khar(W) and Santacruz(W)
2) M (West) area comprising Chembur, Ghatkopar and Mulund
3) H(East) area comprising of Bandra(E), Khar(E), Santacruz(E) including Kalina and Vakola
4) K (East) ward covering Andheri (E), Vile Parle (E) and Jogeshwari (E)
5) K (West) ward covering Andheri (W), Vile Parle (W), Jogeshwari (W) including Juhu

What makes us stand out? -- Our USP
Education a fundamental right - CACR believes that education is a fundamental right.
Therefore its focus has been to enforce the implementation of RTE across municipal schools. Access
to good, free and fair education is a right of every child and the organisation’s work is centred
on this theme. Even though the government has introduced schemes to effectively ensure certain
quality parameters, there is an inequitable distribution of resources leading to learning problems in
the short term and learning disabilities in the long term.

Diversity utilised as strength - Often municipal schools have a heterogeneous and diverse pool
of students – be it class, caste, community or religion. This offers several challenges but CACR would
like to see this as an opportunity rather than a roadblock. This is the vision of a just and equitable
society which the neighbourhood school is a part of. Our organisation’s USP lies in the fact that we
focus exclusively on these very strengths of the municipal schools by trying to activate and improve
the system rather than creating alternate parallel structures. While the diversity and number of
students make the system increasingly difficult to negotiate, it also offers us the challenge of
focussing our energy to deliver on participatory democracy – right from infrastructure to learning.

Identifying actual beneficiaries - Our initiative also focuses on identifying and addressing the
actual beneficiaries of the process of primary education so that the delivery mechanism becomes
much more empathetic and efficient. There are several government schemes available for education
of economically marginalised families but the awareness and knowledge of these schemes has not
spread. It is yet another unique activity of our organisation wherein we talk directly to the
various stakeholders of the education department, such as parents, students and BMC officials,
to ensure accountability. This also helps create awareness amongst communities directly affected
by the programmes and addresses the problem of their implementation. Our experience has shown us
that, even if a sizeable percentage of the INR 2660 crores allotted for primary education in Mumbai
this year can be accounted for, it can be truly transformational.

Monitoring Indicators - In order to achieve this level of accountability CACR has employed a
unique tool – Monitoring Indicators. These Monitoring Indicators for infrastructure, curriculum,
midday meals, have been devised after careful consideration with the education department as well
as the communities benefitting from these schemes. Our team of members and volunteers visit schools
to collect data and then measure the performance of each school by employing these monitoring
indicators. These parameters ensure that there is a standard mechanism to evaluate problems. This
data and analysis is then shared with all the members of our organisation as well as with the Education
Department. This is followed up with further planning and implementation of activities together with
the very people with whom the report is shared.

Short and long term goals - CACR has also identified, as part of its targeted intervention, some
short and long term goals. While we believe that sharing monitoring and evaluation reports will go
a long way in fixing the lacunae in the system we also would like to focus on short term goals that
can immediately help the children in the BMC schools. These inputs are given in the formal forums
of the education department, RTE training, teacher training, enrolment drives and spoken English
classes. These initiatives take note of the fact that often short term activities like these utilise the
existing infrastructure and help motivate the staff. Particularly, the English speaking classes and the
Computer Literacy Initiative have been able to arrest the drop outs of children from vernacular

Collaboration, not competition - We are also acutely aware that change cannot be through an
individual agent and therefore we have partnered with several reputable institutions and agencies for
carrying out our initiates. We have tied up with the Rotary Club of Mumbai for the Chhatra Adhikar
Project (CAP) to monitor and improve the performance of schools in Mumbai. We have roped in
Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay (IIT-B) for the basic Information Technology (IT) skills
training programme to BMC schools. Apart from this, there are several other area and ward level
collaborations that CACR has forged for better governance and accountability.

Who All Are in Our Team?
Our advisory board consists of luminaries from diverse backgrounds:
1) Shailesh Gandhi – A former Information Commissioner with the Central Information
Commission, New Delhi, he is a graduate in Civil Engineering from IIT Bombay and was
Chairman of the IIT Bombay Alumni Association for 3 years.
2) Naresh Karmalkar - Naresh Karmalker is a Citizen activist since the past 20 years. He has
been involved in the formation and nurturing of Mumbai-based citizens' associations such as
the Khar-Bandra Youth Club, H-West Federation, Citispace and AGNI. He is a foundermember of ‘Mumbai 227’, which was an attempt to create a common platform for independent
candidates at the 2012 municipal elections.
3) Indrani Malkani – Indrani, a graduate of Loreto College, involved her trust VCAN in the
particular matters of Revision of Electoral Rolls, Voter Registration/Deletion and which
would positively impact Voter Turnout. As Trustee, V Citizens Action Network (VCAN), and
Founder Trustee & Hon Secretary of Malabar Hill Residents’ Association, she is affiliated
with many non-profit organisations, citizens groups, and NGO’s.
4) Anandini Thakoor - Anandini Thakoor has been actively involved in social initiatives and
public service for more than 50 years now. She has been associated with many NGO’s, ALM’s,
and Citizens groups such as Khar Resident Association, AGNI, H-west ward Citizen’s Trust
and Bal Jeevan Trust among many others.
5) Lara Shankar - Lara Shankar is a child rights and child development professional. She has
years of experience in the field of child rights, child protection, community development and
education. Herself a founder member of CACR she holds citizen activism and the fight for
justice for children very close to her heart.

Our Core Team:
1. Nitin R Wadhwani - Nitin is a Science graduate from Mumbai, with a Diploma in
Radio Electronics. He has Anchored Mumbaiites for Child Rights (M4CR), a CRY
initiative, for almost 5 years, before proceeding to establish CACR, a NGO registered
as a Section 25, Not for Profit Company. He has also been volunteering and helping
other ALM’S and citizens associations to help improve the quality of education in
corporation schools of Mumbai.
2. Vidya Vaidya - Vidya is an Artist and Social activist. She is an Alumni of the Sir J.J.
School of Fine Art, Mumbai and has had a number of exhibitions in Mumbai and other
cities. She is now involved in Community work for the last 20 - 25 years and deeply
associated with advocacy groups to protect Public Spaces and Child Rights.
3. Deepak Wadhwani - Deepak is a Commerce Graduate and a businessman in the
trading industry. He Hails from Amil Community (Hyderabad Sind). He always had
desired to make a meaningful contribution in the field of education, as his ancestors
4. Richa Singh - From early days Dr. Richa was keen to volunteer and make a difference
in the fields of education and health care. While pursuing her Bachelors in Dental
Surgery she has conducted many free oral awareness camps in schools and dental
check-up workshops in few orphanages. She has also obtained a professional diploma
in management from Thadomal Shahani trust, Mumbai and holds a certificate in
Management Principles from ILM, UK.

 Computer Literacy Project with IIT-Bombay
Rationale: Several volunteers and NGOs actively engaged with primary education in BMC schools
have observed that there is a lot of computer hardware equipment in these schools that lie around
unutilised by the staff and is not being used to train the students. The teachers for the required job are
given basic training for use of information technology. However, it has been found that several
teachers even after having attended these courses are not equipped to train children in computer usage.
It was understood that rather than techniques or tools that required high end technology as well as
expertise, inexpensive and simple way of targeting the students would be a much better approach
towards their understanding of computers. This germinated into the idea of a Basic IT Skills training
programme without the need of a skilled instructor – a self-learning, multi-lingual, spoken tutorial
programme developed by IIT-Bombay was suitable for vernacular medium students of BMC schools.

Intervention: IIT had developed this program to provide self-learning audio compact discs (CDs) to
individuals, particularly students and these spoken tutorials were developed in several Indian
languages. This would enable the students to teach themselves basic IT skills such as Typing and
editing documents, creating presentations, and drawing up tables etc. This is part of an initiative of
National Mission on Education through ICT,
Government of India, to promote IT literacy through
Open Source Software.
Many citizens groups, ALM’s as well as CACR joined
hands with the prestigious institution for this project.
CACR, as a partner with IIT-B, has enabled the
students to access these spoken-tutorial materials in
BMC schools and learn at their own pace and
convenience. The picture shows CACR advisory
board member Mr. Shailesh Gandhi taking
computer training workshops in Tanklane
Municipal School.
In this process, first BMC and government aided
schools with the potential to implement this particular
project are identified by the volunteers. The schools
need to have at least five computer peripherals in
working condition. CACR also looks into the condition
that their needs to be at least two volunteers who would
be ready to work in that school to assist the programme.
In the next phase the volunteers visit the school in order to talk to the administration in the school.
This visit also requires them to check and ascertain if the computers are in working condition and
would be suitable for the project or not. Then the principal of the school is contacted and a
presentation on the project is given and it is explained to her/him how it would benefit the school.
Pamphlets and project literature are given to the staff as well so that the project snowballs into a
discussion among the various stakeholders. CACR also ascertains if there are provisions for virtual
network classrooms in the school. This is important as this could enable to present the learning for a

larger group of students outside the ambit of the physical classroom.
After this step is completed the volunteers from CACR start taking interactive sessions using the
training material devised by IIT-B. The class teachers from the school are actively encouraged to be
a part of these sessions because our organisation realises that they will ultimately anchor these
programmes. They are also motivated to learn computers alongside because after the volunteers
leave they will continue the classes. In few
school buildings if teachers are available the
volunteers train the teachers and principals to
make them more confident in using the
computer software and a follow up session is
also planned. The picture shows a teacher
training session in progress at Chakala
Municipal School Urdu Medium.

CACR also believes that documentation and
feedback is a very important part of this entire
exercise. Therefore the volunteers will have to
complete a feedback form and it will be sent to
IIT-Bombay as a proof of progress. This report will be shared with the central and the state
governments. Volunteers are also required to make videos and photo essays of these initiatives and
share it with all the stakeholders.
Success stories:
In the first year of its introduction CACR members and volunteers could benefit around 1300 school



50 43



Chakala Mun.
Dixit Road
Marol Police Camp
Chembur Marvali Church
DN Nagar Mun.
Chembur Naka
H-west schools

Pie Chart showing the schools and number of students benefitted by the project
CACR has partnered with student clubs and social groups of various colleges of Mumbai like Enactus
HR College, VESIT, ‘Rotaract Club’ of Ruia, NSS groups, etc. to get student volunteers for this
The volunteers have also noted that in several schools the BMC has appointed a computer teacher
where there was none thus reducing the burden of the volunteer and also forging a familiarity and
continuity in the pedagogy that comes with a permanent teacher.

Continuance: CACR is also in the process of initiating it in other wards. This can be done with the
help of IIT network and also the education department. Most of the models followed in the schools
can be scaled up to a hundred students at least. 100 teachers have already been identified – which
means that 300 more teachers and mentors are required as BMC has 300 school buildings and each
of them would require one instructor each to assist with the project.
Going forward, CACR also believes that it will encourage BMC to recruit full-time teachers for the
computer literacy after having successfully trained from CACR because this will reduce the
requirement of voluntary teachers. This has already been done in a few schools and CACR believes
that this is the best way forward.

Rationale’: There is an earnest interest and desire among parents of children who go to BMC schools
that their children also be given English medium education. However, with little assistance from home
when it comes to a foreign language and the detrimental quality of English education in BMC schools
this is not possible without external support.
CACR while working in these schools felt the constant need for an interactive mechanism to train
these children in English without having to spend time or resources in employing or training other
teachers for the same purpose.
It cannot be denied that in present-day India which is on a path of economic growth, any new industry
– be it service or manufacturing oriented requires trained youth who can converse in good English.
While children from good schools and privileged families achieve this easily it is not an easy task for
the children from BMC schools. CACR’s initiative is geared to make these children feel at ease with
English and help them achieve a level playing field with their peers and colleagues. This will make
them more confident and help them initiate their own entrepreneurial ventures even if they are unable
to find jobs.

Intervention: For the purpose of teaching English to the children in BMC schools it was best to use
animation-dependant audio visual material. DVDs which worked with animation videos were chosen
by Citizen’s Association for Child Rights for the purpose. This would help both parties – children
would respond better to interactive material
and it would be convenient for a teacher to
teach in this manner.
These DVDs were facilitated by the Bombay
Community Public Trust and made by TATA
Interactive systems. The DVD’s are based on
the prescribed curriculum of the Maharashtra
government. They were designed keeping in
mind that they do not take up extra time in the
school schedule which is packed with activities
already. Moreover, the DVDs are such that they
do not put any additional strain on the teachers
and the instructors because they can introduce

concepts of the language to children in a creative manner.

Success stories: This unique initiative has resulted in a lot of schools queuing up for this programme
and there have been such interest shown from the balwadis. The experience by one of the dedicated
CACR volunteers, Dr Sharad Wagle, is worth noting,
“By November, 2013 I had enough experience and data to know the student
population (possibly representative of any BMC primary school) reasonably well in
terms of their education level, their knowledge of English, and their class behaviour,
their differing talent to learn and urge to study. The picture other than normal spread
of talent as in any group was dismal. Most students even up to 7th standard, had
difficulty reading English alphabet and in differentiating the use of capital letters and
when to use them. The vocabulary was virtually absent which means that any word
in piece of text is not comprehensible.”

This shows the acute need for a programme that can address the English language skills of the
children. And this can only happen within the system of the government school itself and not by
running a parallel system.
Here are a few illustrative examples of the few success stories of our Spoken English programme
across three municipal schools due to the efforts of CACR members:
Khar Danda Municipal School building (Marathi, Hindi, Kannad, Urdu medium)
* Students benefitted --200 students (5, 6, and 7th standard)
* CACR volunteers - Ritu Tiwari, Neelima Widge, Mr. Mirchandani, Bloomingdale school kids
Laxmi Nagar Municipal School (Marathi medium)
* Students benefitted --100 students (5th to 7th standard)
* CACR volunteer - Mr.Mirchandani
Tanklane Municipal School Building (Urdu, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati medium)
* Students benefitted -- 250 students (2nd to 8th standard)
* CACR volunteers - Harsha Desai, Bharti Gandhi, Bharti Vora, Narinder Madan, Rajeev Mehta,
Dilmohan, Varsha Kamath, Daksha Modi, Satish Sutaria, Mr.Shaliesh Gandhi, Akshata Prabhu,
Rahul Mody
Petit Municipal School Building (Urdu, Marathi, Gujrathi and English)
*Students benefitted---200 students (Standards 4 to 7)
* CACR Volunteers: Shefali, Nayantara B, Archana Niphadkar, Dr Wagle, Dr Archana Wagle
Continuance: Citizen’s Association for Child Rights is planning to introduce these simple 8-pack
interactive DVDs by Tata Interactive to several other groups so that they can cover other BMC
schools. It is also looking at collaborating with peer educators so that they can train other teachers
over time to introduce this low-cost method to impart English language training.

 School Management Committee- SMC
Rationale’: SMC –School Management Committee is constituent body formed in accordance with
the RTE Act–Right to Education Act to monitor the various amenities, facilities, budgets,
infrastructure, and most importantly the quality of education. School Management Committee shall
be constituted in every school, other than an unaided school, within six months of the appointed
date, and reconstituted every two years.
Need for SMC: To run a school efficiently it is imperative to ask all stakeholders to spell out their
problems and brainstorm solutions in order to solve them. SMC offers an excellent platform for the
participation of
• Parents
• Students
• Teachers
• NGO members/People’s representatives
To come together and share their ideas and devise a SDP-school development plan for the current
and upcoming academic year.
SMC members: CACR has nominated many citizens representatives in the school managing
committees of various schools, who have been playing an important role to discuss the challenges
such as dropping enrolment in corporation schools, poor quality of mid-day meal, infrastructure in
schools, etc. They have also been playing a constructive role in improving quality of education by
conducting regular workshops on basic computer skills and introducing interactive spoken English
program. CACR has also empowered members of
Rotary Club of Mumbai to participate in the
School Management committee and improve the
functioning of schools. CACR member
addresses the parents during SMC training
program in Chakala Municipal School.

Composition of SMC: As per RTE Act, 75% of
the strength of the School Management
Committee shall be from amongst parents or
guardians of children i.e. 15 parents from 20
members. To manage its affairs, the School Management Committee shall elect a Chairperson and
Vice Chairperson from among the parent members. Out of twenty members, 10 must be women in
the SMC.
Functioning of the SMC: The School Management Committee shall
meet at least once a month and the minutes and decisions of the meetings shall be properly recorded
and made available to the public.
It has major functions like:
• Monitoring the functioning of
the school
• Preparation, Recommendation,
Implementation and monitoring
of the School Development Plan
• Monitoring of utilisation of the
grants received from the
appropriate Government or

Local authority or any other source
• Performance of other functions
SMC Training: CACR members have been observing and helping BMC schools from past many
years and they are aware about the administrative and technical bottlenecks, in the department,
owing to this some of the CACR core members were invited by the education department officials
to conduct SMC training programs in schools for teachers and parents. As seen in the picture
CACR director Mr.Nitin Wadhwani addresses school principals and Administrative officers of
K-east ward on conducting SMC meetings.
Our Commitment to The Kids:
As a part of their Chhatra Adhikar
programme, the Rotary Club of
Mumbai has aligned with our
NGO, Citizens Association for
Child Rights to oversee the
functioning and quality of
education in BMC schools.
Many respected Rotarians have
now decided to be a part of the
School Management Committees
in municipal schools, as mandated
under Right to Education Act, and
will now have regular interaction
with the authorities of the
Education Department.
Success stories:
1] Laxmi Nagar Municipal School (LNMS) in Khar is a Marathi medium school and has about
104 students (Standards I to VII).
The School Management Committee have requested the parents whose children are in LNMS to
inform other parents, in the neighbourhood to send their children to this school and not make them
work, as child labour is prohibited under the law.
The SMC has also visited and monitored the classes by Dharma Bhaarthi Mission (DBM) at the
Santacruz Centre. The mid-day meal from Ujala Mahila Bachat Gatt has been reasonably good due
to the monitoring done by the CACR SMC member Mr. Mirchandani. CACR members were
instrumental in getting the Laxmi Nagar School building repaired by following up with the School
Infrastructure committee and getting funds worth Rupees. 2 crores.

2] Mid-day meal at Chakala School
Dr Richa Singh a SMC member of Chakala Municipal School Marathi No.1 had visited the school
to find that quality of mid-day meal being given to the children was extremely poor. She
immediately called the contractor supplying the food and called her to building premises to witness
the poor food quality herself.

. The members further questioned her about the inferior quality of food and also made a written
complaint to the education department. The building in charge was thereafter given strict
instructions by education
department officials to inspect and
taste the mid-day meal before
distribution and the food contractor
was issued a warning. Thereafter a
meeting of all contractors was called
by Administrative officers of K-east
and H-west wards due to complaint
by CACR members. Richa Singh
shows the video of poor quality
meal being supplied during the food contractor meeting.

 Other Impact Stories
During the past few years members of CACR with their watchful eyes and collaborative
efforts could accomplish some long due tasks. From removing the illegal trust occupying BMC
school premises to monitoring the huge budgets sanctioned by MCGM Education Department
to repair the damaged school buildings, CACR members have patiently made significant
changes happen.
Some examples are given below:
Background: In 2002, Justice Dhanuka along with his team of 8 members submitted a report on
the condition of municipal schools in the city after visiting 52 municipal schools and interacting
with school staff, civic authorities and social workers, which highlighted how many are functioning
out of rundown structures, posing a potential threat to students. It noted that many of the schools
had leaking classrooms, damaged furniture and broken windows and gates. There were no separate
and sufficient toilets for boys and girls in many municipal schools.
The committee was appointed in connection with a case filed in the Bombay high court by a father
who lost his seven-year-old daughter in an accident in the Vakola municipal school over four years
ago. The high court held that the death was because of negligence on the part of civic authorities
and apart from awarding monetary compensation, set up the Dhanuka committee to suggest ways to
improve civic schools.
The committee's report, which runs into over 250 pages, highlights the shocking condition of the
schools with the aid of photographs. In 2002, at the end of its study of BMC schools, the Dhanuka
committee had said, "The inevitable conclusion is that there seems to be no system to generate
quality consciousness." A court order later, the same holds true even today.
This led to the formation of the School Infrastructure Cell -- SIC of the BMC Education Department
and it is only as late as 2007-2008 that the first list of 40 odd municipal schools was shortlisted for
immediate major repairs.

1] Petit School:
The structure of Petit school was dilapidated and this was documented and brought to the attention
of the school authorities. The objective behind this was the safety of the children who were

attending the school. When the follow up with the
school authorities did not progressively yield results,
the CACR members took up the issue with the local
corporator, Education Officer (EO) and Additional
Municipal Commissioner (AMC). The corporator
sent a letter to the AMC requesting repairs. When
there was a lag from the AMC in taking this matter
up the CACR members continued building up the
pressure to ensure that the school repairs were taken
up by the municipal corporation. After another
meeting with the AMC, the members finally
succeeded in getting the Petit school on first priority
for major repairs. This was a success for CACR and
the beginning of such demands for other school
structures to be safe. The photos shows repairs
going on in Petit school
The repair work on Petit school was finally started in
November 2011 with a contract valued at
approximately Rs.3 crores and repairs to Laxmi
Nagar School started in the next few weeks with
another contract worth Rs.2 crores.
2] Laxmi Nagar School:
Our members had observed leaking roofs, buckets in classrooms during monsoon, very bad and
unusable toilets for children, poorly maintained small playground, etc. As soon as this school was
taken up for major repairs, our members Nitin Gadekar, Mrs.Sanjivani Kashikar, Bharat Nair, etc.
took a very keen interest in monitoring the quality of work and progress made periodically and
ensured that the contractor does a good job in carrying out the work as per specifications mentioned
in the contract.

3] Gazdar Bandh Municipal School:
Last year Gazdar Bandh Municipal School was taken up for repairs and is being closely monitored
by CACR members Meena Kaura, Sandra Shroff and members of GSRT. The contract for major
repairs is valued at another Rs.1.5 crores approximately and Mrs.Shroff has even gone ahead and
appointed a private supervisor to monitor the work on a day to day basis and ensure proper quality
of material is used and work is done strictly in line with the specifications.
Conclusion: Total estimated contract value of these 3 schools was around Rs.6.5 crores and CACR
is proud to mention that it is only because of its very passionate and committed members like Mani
Patel, Vidya Vaidya, Nitin Gadekar, Bharat Nair, Mrs.Kashikar, Meena Kaura, Mrs.Sandra Shroff,
Pooja and official photographer Surindra who makes it a point to attend all the meetings and
extends his support and photography skills, that the work was monitored very closely and ensured
that every rupee is well spent towards the purpose.
CACR volunteers have finally got the education department to get going and have also managed to
get the officials updated about the progress of repairs.

4] Nityanand Municipal School
For the past 10 years, Patel Education Trust, had been running Varun International School inside the
Nityanand Municipal school building without requite permission. This school to be run under BMC
was supposed to impart free education to children from under-privileged backgrounds.
However they were commercially exploiting the school children by collecting capitation and tuition
fees, without issuing any receipt. Demands of money were being made by the trustees and the
principal in exchange for school uniform and excursions when all these are supposed to be free of
cost. Parents who were refusing to lend in to their demands were being shamed and humiliated.
Few parents approached CACR member Dr. Richa Singh who was the SMC member in one of the
schools of Nityanand building complex. She followed up on parents complaints and with support
from other CACR members-Mr. Nitin Wadhwani, Mrs. Vidya Vaidya and Mrs. Sanjeevani Chitre
approached the Education Officer, DMC and AMC to remove the illegal trust from the school as per
parents’ wishes and establish a BMC English medium school instead.
CACR members called for community meetings to explain the facilities offered in MCGM schools
and build confidence among the parents to speak her mind and air their concerns to the education
department officials directly.
As seen here CACR Director Vidya Vaidya address the parents and Education department
officials at Nityanand School.

In course of the meetings as well as through media reports, it was found out that Varun International
School was not providing any facilities and amenities, 27 items, etc. to the children of the school.
Only 2 out of the 12 teachers employed by Varun International School had the required qualifications
to teach children.

CACR whole-heartedly supported the community members and students to remove the illegal trust
out of the Municipal school building and establish the Nityanand English medium MPS School in its
place. Today the school is running successfully with more than 250 students.

 Holistic Developmental Activities
We at CACR believe that our focus should not only be to improve the quality of education but we
should strive to improve the overall physical, mental and emotional health of the students. Last year
to improve the team and sportsmanship spirit in students, CACR sponsored 75 Municipal school girls
to participate in DNA iCan women marathon under the 5 km fun run. We also took 300 secondary
municipal school children to participate in Must Run Bandra 2 km Race. In order to inculcate good
thoughts in the minds of students and motivate them to improve themselves Value Education sessions
were conducted by Citizens Volunteers in few schools.

The third edition of MUSTRun, organised by the H-West Federation and Wake Up Bandra on
16th February 2014 – Sunday, saw the active participation of 400 municipal school children, senior
citizens and physically disabled people. School children from Petit Municipal School and Gazdar
Bandh schools participated with full vigour in the 2 km run. This was a great initiative that also
allowed the children to participate beyond
their curricular activities and extend their
energies to outdoor physical activities.
The top 3 finalists were given certificates
and prizes. The children were excited to
receive the awards and said they would
like to participate again next year. The
school teachers thanked CACR members
for organising such events and said that
such events give a platform to under
privileged kids to display their talent and
make them more confident individuals.
BMC school students run with full
vigour at the start of the race as seen
this is picture.

DNA iCan
DNA (Daily News and Analysis) iCan Marathon is a
platform conceived to celebrate the spirit of
achievement among women. CACR approached DNA
as we valued and appreciated the message behind DNA
iCan marathon - 'World Without Boundaries’ and
requested the organizers to give an opportunity to
around 75 girl students from BMC schools to
participate in this event (the 5 km-Fun Run).
Since the girl students were from weak economic strata,
they themselves could not afford the participation fees
and associated costs. CACR assisted them with the
registration, logistics, travel, etc. enabling them to
participate in an event which they would have
otherwise not been able to, due to financial and logistical problems.

At the marathon we also met the fitness guru Mickey Mehta who was happy to share few health tips
with the girls and also offered to collaborate with CACR for planning a fitness program for the
municipal schools. BMC school girls with Mr Mickey Mehta above at DNA iCAN event.

Value education classes in Gazdar Bandh Municipal School -GZBN School
Gazdar Scheme Residents Trust-GSRT members, volunteers of CACR, have initiated imparting value
education to students of Gazdar Bandh Municipal School. The CACR members along with other
volunteers have been inculcating and explaining the tenets of good values so that they turn out as well
rounded citizens.
The citizens have brought
people from diverse background
such as pilots, doctors, artist,
etc. to interact with the BMC
school kids and help them learn
about different professions.
They have invited nutritionist
and physical instructors to
discuss the problems of
malnutrition and anaemia very
common among the school
students. The Hindi medium
kids were very happy to interact
with the musicians who
informed them about Kabir
Sangeet and played musical instruments for them. These value based one hour lectures continued for
2 years and exposed these students to new ideas and fresh concepts that these students didn’t know
even existed. CACR members with GZBN school students can be seen here.

Community meet at Navjeet Community Centre
During community interaction with the Navjeet Community Centre in Bandra, it was observed that
most of the members attending did not even know
anything about the School Management Committees as
parents of municipal school children. Parents are
generally not aware about these meetings in schools due
to the insensitive and inefficient administration.
Their active participation and involvement in demanding
better facilities and quality of education for their children
in municipal schools will not happen unless they can get
better access to the information first. CACR has been able
start this dialogue with group thanks to Navjeet.
CACR members Mr. Wadhwani, Mani Patel and Mr.
Mirchandani interact with community members at
Navjeet in the photograph.

CACR Director Mr. Wadhwani says that

As empowered representatives of CACR, we
pledge that we will spread the word not only with
the urban privileged citizens but also participate
in community meetings and work as a bridge
between the system and the actual beneficiaries.
If we are able to do that successfully and
consistently over a period of time, we will
have achieved our goal of an aware
and vigilant citizenry, concerned about the
welfare of the underprivileged members of our

Future Endeavours

Heath awareness programs
Hygiene and Sanitation awareness demonstrations
Art competitions
Scholarships for students passing 8th and 10th standards
Collaboration with Nalanda Nrityakala Academy
BMC Sport Centres

We plan to continue with our current projects and also next year organise some healthcare workshops,
lecture-demonstrations and interactive sessions with healthcare providers for the parents and students
of the municipal schools. Diseases are quite common among children studying in municipal schools
due to lack of training at home as well as paucity of sanitation facilities in their surroundings. This
also makes them prone to water-borne diseases as there is little awareness of hygiene at home. CACR
plans to intervene in these key areas by planning activities and disseminating knowledge about
healthcare and hygiene to these children.
We also have noticed that many students have a flair for art creation - drawing, craft, sketching,
designing, etc. CACR will be organising workshops so that students can hone their skills in these
creative areas as well as indulge in it as a hobby if they want to.
CACR has also identified another problem area – lack of municipal schools beyond the 7th standard
where a student can continue till the 10th standard, an issue it wants to address. This is not conducive
to education intervention programs because lack of continuing education often prompts students to
drop out. To prevent this we have thought of providing monetary support by giving needy student
scholarships to support their tuition fees so their learning doesn’t stop.
CACR is working towards implementing BMC Sports Centres all over the city and a proposal to have
at least one per ward, i.e. 24 all over the city, is already on the DMC's table for his approval.
These Sports Centres will also engage specialists from the private organisations under CSR to help
in providing training in individual and team events to children enrolled in municipal schools.

CACR has also initiated a proposal for getting in Nalanda Nrityakala Academy, a well know and
established institute in teaching classical dance forms and this facility will also be made available in
municipal schools.

Our Partners

CACR has been fortunate to have collaborated with key institutions and experts in the very first year
of our inception. Our partners have provided us with key networking and strategic support.
We continue to network with them in the coming year and also forge new partnerships with
organisations and domain experts.
Our key partners for the past year have been:
1. Rotary Clubs in Mumbai:
The Rotary Club, which certainly does not need an introduction, is an international organization
involved with community service at large.

CACR is pleased to have been involved with them for their Chhatra Adhikar project. Going forward
CACR will also be partnering with them in one of their major projects this year, which is T.E.A.C.H
- a programme on Basic Education and Literacy. CACR, having a wide experience with working in
BMC schools, will be helping them in implementing the programme in municipal schools this year.

2. H-West Federation
The H-W Ward Federation is a citizens’ organization that has been spearheading the cause of
citizens of the H-W Ward, Bandra, Khar & Santacruz, (W) in Mumbai, for more than 20 years.
During this time, the federation has worked closely with the municipal authorities, police, other
government agencies and NGOs in upholding the citizens' rights to a clean, safe, and healthy and
just environment. It is managed by the H-West Ward Citizens Trust, a public trust registered with
the Charity Commissioner.
CACR’s first members and support has been from the Federation and even now, we have the
maximum number of citizen volunteers and SMC members in this ward.

3. Indian Institute of Technology – Bombay
CACR was introduced to the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B) technology and
resource team last year. This was due to the constant engagement of Shailesh Gandhi, an IIT
alumnus himself, who was also an Information Commissioner in Delhi. Their training and support
on the Spoken Tutorials Programme helped us initiate the Computer Literacy in some municipal
schools. The program was targeted to bridge the digital divide between school children.
This programme has been developed and sponsored by the Ministry of Human Resource
Development, Government of India as a part of their initiative to implement computer literacy in
government schools all over the country.

4. HR Enactus
The H.R College Chapter of Enactus is a global network of students, faculty & business leaders,
and working towards resolving the socio-economic challenges faced by vulnerable communities
through the application of social entrepreneurship. Thanks to ex-Sheriff Mrs.Indu Shahani, CACR
member Dr. Richa Singh was introduced to the young college volunteers of Enactus HR College.
These enthusiastic volunteers helped implement the Computer Literacy Project in BMC schools of
western suburbs.

5. VCAN Citizens’ Association
CACR networks with VCAN on the very important issue of safety of children which is reflected in
the School Bus Policy, which needs to be implemented by all schools in the city. Mrs. Indrani
Malkani, the champion for school bus policy formation, has been a great help to CACR to educate
our members on the subject of this policy and more.
6. ADAPT -- Abled Disabled All People Together
ADAPT, formerly The Spastics Society of India, was founded by Dr. Mithu Alur in 1972. Over
three decades, from a special school started with three children, it has grown to become one of the
foremost non - profit organizations in the country, providing services for more than 3000 children
and 10,000 families.
ADAPT interacts with national and international organisations, public and private sectors, and
government agencies at all levels to influence policy changes that impact marginalised groups
across the country.
CACR is pleased to network with ADAPT to help in implementing the very important Right to
Education clause of Inclusive Education in municipal schools. ADAPT, with the help of CACR, has
conducted a training and sensitization program for headmasters of BMC schools in April 2013.
CACR’s networking partners


Few of CACR members and Volunteers