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Citizens Association for Child Rights – CACR Project Report 2013-2014 Mr.Anurag Mazumdar Writers I Dr.
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.

and quality of primary education in municipal schools. Whether it is the Computer Literacy Programme, Spoken

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 forward.

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 Founder-Director


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 programmes.

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 multi- pronged 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 backgrounds.

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.

CACR has forged for better governance and accountability. Who All Are in Our Team? Our advisory

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 founder- member 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.


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 Compan y. 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 did.

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.

computer training workshops in Tanklane Municipal School. In this process, first BMC and government aided schools

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.

session in progress at Chakala Municipal School Urdu Medium. CACR also believes that documentation and feedback

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 students

338 650 38 60 15 43 43 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 project.

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.

would be convenient for a teacher to teach in this manner. These DVDs were facilitated by

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
“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 (5 th to 7 th standard)

* CACR volunteer - Mr.Mirchandani

Tanklane Municipal School Building (Urdu, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and Gujarati medium)

* Students benefitted -- 250 students (2 nd to 8 th 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 ActRight 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

School Management Committee shall be from amongst parents or guardians of children i.e. 15 parents from

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:

made available to the public. It has major functions like: • Monitoring the functioning of the

• Monitoring the functioning of the school

• Preparation, Recommendation,

Implementation and monitoring of the School Development Plan (SDP)

• 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:

authorities of the Education Department. Success stories: 1] Laxmi Nagar Municipal School (LNMS) in Khar is

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.

meal being supplied during the food contractor meeting .  Other Impact Stories During the past

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.

the next few weeks with another contract worth Rs.2 crores. 2] Laxmi Nagar School: Our members

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.

and Education department officials at Nityanand School. In course of the meetings as well as through

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 16 th 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.

vigour at the start of the race as seen this is picture. DNA iCan DNA (Daily

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.

to participate in an event which they would have otherwise not been able to, due to

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.

. CACR members with GZBN school students can be seen here. Community meet at Navjeet Community

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 members Mr. Wadhwani, Mani Patel and Mr. Mirchandani interact with community members at Navjeet in

CACR Director Mr. Wadhwani says that

As empowered representatives of CACR, we pledge that we will spread the word not only
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 8 th and 10 th 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 7 th standard where a student can continue till the 10 th 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

conducted a training and sensitization program for headmasters of BMC schools in April 2013. CACR’s networking
conducted a training and sensitization program for headmasters of BMC schools in April 2013. CACR’s networking



Few of CACR members and Volunteers