DSS-EAC (Educational Activity Centers) classes for Construction Worker's children
Project Location (W) Pune
Project Strategy Education Activity Centers to impart Non-formal education to children of construction workers
Organization Door Step School
Project Coordinator Mukesh Mirchandani
Organization Website http://www.doorstepschool.org/
Project Status Ongoing
Vibha Funded Component Educational Activity Centers, Balwadis and Study classes at 40 construction sites
Vibha Funding 5,985,152.00
Beneficiary Age Children 2-15 yrs
Beneficiary Socio-economic Background Children on Construction workers.
Beneficiaries 4000 children
Cost per Beneficiary $21.25
Address 110, Anand Park,
Pune , 411 009
Project Liaison Contact Vibha Project Lead

The Problem:

The real estate boom in India has resulted in numerous construction sites in every major city. In Pune alone, there are over 1500 such construction sites. Every such construction site demands a huge labor force which often comprises of illiterate villagers from neighboring states. These laborers and their families live close to the construction site in labor camps or slums. Lack of access to education for the children of these laborers is a huge problem. These children do not attend school due to factors such a poverty, accessibility and lack of motivation. This results in a large number of kids being out of the formal school system. In a survey conducted by Door Step School in parts of Pune, an estimated 40000 children at such construction sites had no access to education.

The Opportunity:

The government mandates that every construction site should have an onsite school for children of these construction workers. However, due to lack of enforcement, very few construction companies provide such a facility. Contractors and thekedaars at these sites do not want the additional responsibility of running these onsite schools and are happy to let someone else run these schools.

The Solution:

Door Step School believes that if a child cannot go to school, let’s take the school to the doorstep of the child. DSS seeks to educate illiterate children at these construction sites through their uniquely designed programs so that these children can have the opportunity to be a part of the formal education system. The goals of DSS are to conduct classes in basic literacy for children in the age group 5-15, educate children on basic hygiene, and provide mentorship in order to inculcate good values.

• DSS conducts 3 programs onsite at the construction location - Non formal Education centers, Balwadis (Kindergarten) and Study support classes. A brief description of each program follows

o Balwadi - This program focuses on children between the age group of 4-6. Balwadis create a playful environment for these toddlers while focusing on basic skills such as color,shape & object recognition. This "Fun" learning equips these children for more advanced learning as they grow older and also prepared and orients them to the concept of school.

o Non Formal Education (NFE) Classes - NFE classes are geared towards children between the age of 6-15 and focus on language and math skills. Children are taught basic alphabets and words and are then taught to string words together into sentences. Basic math skills such as addition, subtraction etc are also imparted to these children. The goal is to enable these children to read and write and bridge the gap between illiteracy and main stream schools.

o Study Support Classes - Once these children graduate from the NFEs, DSS helps them appear for an equivalency examination that is conducted by the government. After passing this exam, these kids are admitted into mainstream schools run by the Pune municipal corporation. However, most of the kids admitted find it challenging to keep up with the curriculum due to limited support at home from illiterate parents. For such kids DSS conducts study support classes to help them stay abreast with the school curriculum and improve their chances of success at school.

• DSS also places a lot of importance on creating awareness about the plight of these children in the local community. With outreach programs that reach out to parents of these children and local construction companies, DSS has effectively garnered support of these constituents. Parents are encouraged to send their children to these programs and construction companies often provide temporary structures to conduct these programs as well as nominal funding .

Vibha Involvement:

Vibha has been involved with DSS since 2006 and with each year, vibha has increased its commitment to DSS. In 2009, $65000 was disbursed to DSS. These funds were used to fund NFEs, Balwadi’s and Study classes at 40 construction sites. Vibha has also been involved in an advisory role with DSS. In 2008, DSS started scaling its operations based on recommendation from Vibha to expand their NFE network to cover as many construction sites as possible.

Project Progress:

• From Jan 2009 to Dec 2009, over 4100 children were enrolled in these 40 locations.
• Over 450 age certificates were issued to these children through the government.
• Of the children attending these NFEs, 200 kids appeared in equivalence exams conducted by Pune Municipal Corporation in Feb and April 2009.
• Of these 162 successfully passed the exam and were admitted to mainstream government schools.