“Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom”
We live in a nation where more than 287 million people are illiterate. They do not have the privilege of becoming educated and becoming a part of the growing knowledge economy which is likely to grow further in the coming years. Education not only promises better employment opportunities but also opens the doors to abundant knowledge and allows one to become a more effective citizen.
Enactus Hansraj recently put another feather in its cap by establishing another daycare crèche in Sector 57 Gurugram under Project Aangan. The crèche was set up in collaboration with Dream Girl Foundation in December 2018. The crèche has more than 30 children.
Whenever one crosses a construction sight, one can see the small children of the labourers working there, playing in the vicinity of the hazardous substances, loitering around aimlessly barefooted, covered in dust, dirt and sand. These children are as a result, prone to diseases such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia among others and more often than not become victims of unfortunate industrial and road mishaps.
Taking into consideration the patriarchal setup of the society in India, it is a well established fact that despite several efforts for equality, many women are restricted to the domestic domain and are not allowed to contribute to the family’s income, especially in the poorer sections of the society. These women remain largely unemployed even though they have some or the other talent which if put to use can help them earn.
These two issues were the idea behind Enactus Hansraj’s Project Aangan. Seeing the deplorable and dismal state of the children and women, a two fold plan was conceptualized with the objective of finding a solution to help both these sections of the society.
Under Aangan, day care centres are set up near or sometimes inside these construction sites as well as in the poorer areas of Delhi, majorly for the kids aged between 3 and 8 years. Along with this, unemployed women are trained, and given the opportunity to earn for themselves and they work as teachers in these day care facilities.
Aangan has 2 established crèches one in Narela, and now Gurugram. It has impacted the lives of many children and 4 teachers. The project aims to make entrepreneurs out of these teachers and tries to ensure a sustainable system.
The Project through its tailor made curriculum focuses on the holistic development of children. The model is based on expression based learning and ensures that the cognitive, expressive, practical and mechanical skills are honed. The curriculum also includes co curricular activities like music, dance, sports and craft.
Furthermore, frequent sessions are conducted on basic hygiene and healthcare by experts with the students. Regular health and dental checkup’s are also done by medical professionals to ensure that the children are healthy and develop good hygiene habits.
The Aangan creche charges a meagre amount which is used to pay the salary of the teachers who are employed to manage the crèche as well as teach the children. The amount charged varies from crèche to crèche and is determined by need assessment surveys. The amount depends on various factors like the paying capacity of the targeted community. Enactus is further planning to implement a mid day meal scheme wherein the children will be provided quality food and a balanced diet. Furthermore, all the festivals are also celebrated with the children to inculcate in them values of inclusiveness and unity.
The long term objective of Aangan is to exit from the management of these centres so that these women who work as teachers can independently manage these crèches thus making them entrepreneurs who can make a living for themselves as well as provide a safe environment for the protection, prosperity and growth of these children and ultimately help them enroll in government schools.
For the establishment of these crèches, the members of Enatcus Hansraj extensively survey backward areas and communities in Delhi NCR, they find a community in which the children do not have access to basic education. Following this they obtain rent free land through collaborations with NGO’s and corporates. They conduct community development sessions to gain the trust of the communities and brief them about the importance of education. Following this, the children are enrolled and based on the number of students, a number of women are found in the neighbouring areas who have education but a lack of employment. The teachers are trained through a span of numerous sessions following which the crèche starts with the students.
In Gurugram, 30 children are enrolled in our crèche belonging to the age group of 3-8 years. They reside in the nearby slums and can not afford the high amount charged for education at private schools located nearby. A teacher has also been employed who formerly did not have adequate employment opportunities. This marks a new beginning in the lives of these children, a positive light at the end of the tunnel, which gives them hope of a better, more privileged life.
(The author is a Member, Enactus Hansraj)