Meet Neelam, from village Purkhas Rathi, near Sonipat, Haryana, 70 km away from Delhi. Neelam was almost on the verge of being pushed out of her school, because of COVID-19. However, the pandemic has only been a trigger for so many children being out of school. In 2017-2018, we had about 3.22 crore children who were out of school as per the NSSO data. 3.22 crore is roughly the entire population of Australia. This number is now projected to double because of COVID-19.
With a large population out of school children, our country loses out on the demographic dividend. It increases children’s exposure to violence and exploitation: early marriages are likely to increase, exploitation of girls rises, teenage pregnancies become more common and child labor grows. Many children and youth miss out on social contact that is essential to their learning and development. Lacking access to a proper education puts an individual at risk of falling into the poverty trap. This vicious cycle leads to rising inequity in our country.
The problem of children being out of school is multi-layered and multi-dimensional and is considered to be one of the most difficult challenges for the Indian Education system.
Now meet Reenu, our Youth Teacher Leader from the same village (Purkhas Rathi) – one of those who has a lot of potential but unfortunately does not get an apt platform to leverage the potential.
It is when Reenu starts teaching Neelam, we see some change. When Reenu gets the training to teach hundreds of other Neelams in her own community, we start seeing a community level change. When thousands of other Reenu(s) in the country work with lakhs of other Neelam(s), that is when we start seeing ripples of change. These ripples of change is what Learning Initiatives for India intends to create.
How are we solving this complex problem?
We adopt a three-pronged approach to solve this complex problem:
- For our non-migrant communities – we run our community centers where youth (also known as our Youth Teacher Leaders) from the same communities work with us via a two-year Fellowship program and help to mainstream the children after bridging their learning gaps. We also work in collaboration with Government schools to build a strong pathway from the community to the school for a child.
- For our migrant communities – our tech-enabled mapping solution ensures support for out-of-school children wherever they are in the country. We partner with nonprofits to build a comprehensive ecosystem for children.
- Where schooling is not a sustainable pathway for the children – our Youth Teacher Leaders support them by getting them enrolled in open schools or other vocational training centers
Be a part of our journey!