OWF EMPOWERING CHILDREN THROUGH EDUCATION: RESULTS
As you can remember at the beginning of this year, OWF facilitated the opening and mainaining of 6 contact points at Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India for reaching out to children on the street, who have started working at a very young age, supporting them to continue with their education. The contact points are operated by our partners and friends form CHETNA who aim to empower children, eradicate child labour and create a child friendly society. We share their beliefs that active participation of children in the project is the key to its sole purpose - protecting the children's rights. To support children in need, a federation of street and working children was founded in 2002, mentored by CHETNA.
As the first quarter of the project, funded by OWF, has been completed, we would like to share our achievements.
The project began with the identification of the six contact points in Lucknow in the places where there is a large concentration of working children such as slums, markets and tourist attractions (two contact points at Shram Vihar Nagar and one in Vijendra Khand Neem Upvan Park, Kathauta Jheel, Bhalu Bandar Bagiya, Ramswaroop Kheda). With the support of the community members, parents and employers, these contact points became a meeting place for active engagement with the children. CHETNA's street educators organize regular visits in order to create long-lasting connections with the children. Each contact point is equipped to empower children through alternative education and awareness activities. After filling the gaps in children's education, they are encouraged and supported to enroll in government schools in order to continue building a brighter future for themselves.
So far 165 children, among which 109 girls, have been involved in regular activities at the six contact points. The activities included math and literacy classes, peer support meetings, life skills workshops, parent's meetings, field visits and local festival celebrations during which case files are maintained for each child to track his/her progress.
The children from two of the contact points were taken to the zoo where they spent a wonderful day of fun and excitement. For most of them, this was the first visit to the zoo ever since they do not have any time left for entertainment and leisure activities due to their hectic work schedule. "I never get to move out of the house unless it is related to household work. It feels very good! These birds and animals are so different from what we see in our slum.", 13-year-old Jyoti shared. Others were taken to a local police station to learn more about their rights and to be encouraged to contact the police in cases of emergencies or violation of their rights.
OWF continues with its mission to reduce the number of child workers and put them into schools instead. Stay tuned for more of our exciting projects all around the world!