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Drop-outs get chance to return to school

DECCAN HERALD 26-12-2011 Sugandha Pathak NEW DELHI: Kailash Kumar, a frail 15-year-old from Uttar Pradesh stays in a dingy, rented one-room in Laxminagar slum with his uncle, a vegetable vendor and works as his assistant, but dreams of studying. Back in his village, he studied till Class 8 but now in the city he is unable to get admission due to lack of documents. I have been trying to get admission in a government school here but don't have all the documents. I want to study further. I went to one of the schools here and the principal asked me to work in his house if i want to get admission,says Kailash. An NGO that is working to educate underpriviledged drop-out migrant children, is giving them another chance to pick up books again. Their parents are migratory workers or they are runaways. Once the children come to the city, they mostly loiter around, not having a chance to attend school. As the migrant workers have no opportunity to settle down, they keep moving esidence and do not get the opportunity

I saw a group of children studying in the nearby park and was curious. Then I went to the teacher (a volunteer working for AICAPD) and enquired. He then allowed me to join the rest

to admit their children in schools. While the runaways usually end up working, said Sandeep Rajput, member secretary of All India Citizen's Alliance for Progress and Development (AICAPD). Rajput and his group of volunteers are like barefoot teachers. Though they are working towards educating the migratory children who are domestic workers mostly in the South Delhi area of the city, they don't refuse to take in children like Kailash who want to continue studying. I saw a group of children studying in the nearby park and was curious. Then I went to the teacher (a volunteer working for AICAPD) and enquired. He then allowed me to

join the rest,said Kailash with a smile. The organisation identifies areas where children work in large numbers as domestic workers, and tries to convince their employers to allow the children to study. The organisation teach these children in the nearby parks and other available spaces in the vicinity. The organisation teaches some 40-odd children (domestic workers) in parts like Saket, Vasant Kunj, Mehrauli and Madangir. A few of the students are now pursuing their higher education from Delhi University (DU), few have jobs and the rest are still being taught primary level syllabus. Most of these students used to study back in their villages. They have school certificates but they still don't know how to read or write, said Rajput. For 23-year-old Kishore Kumar from Hardoi, UP, studying was a life-changing experience. A runaway from home, he worked in a soap factory for a year. One of the members of the organisation spotted him and asked to join their small

group. I studied till standard 8 in my village, but failed in 9th. I felt bad and ran away from home when I was 18-yea-old. In the soap factory, handling the machines always left my hands bruised. For Rs 1,600 a month I used to work nonstop, said Kumar. With help from the organisation, Kumar is now pursuing his graduation from DU and is simultaneously working in Amity International school with a pay package of Rs 10,000. I called my parents after a year of coming here and told them that I am studying. My father started crying when he heard that I have passed standard 10th, he added. Kumar now makes sure to take out few hours in a week to teach kids. It's the each-one-teachone rule that they try to put to practice. The organisation helps the children get admission through National Open School. The employers of many kids usually give us the old books of their children, and sometimes shoes, mats and sweaters are also donated,said a student volunteer.
DH News Service