Advancement Of Children In The Arena Of Slums

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Does that sound pathetic and hard to imagine?

Now think of all those who were born and brought up in slums only. Youth, which is considered as the most powerful and useful resource of our country, is struggling to have a basic standard of living today. Furthermore, the deplorable conditions of schools and lack of adequate mentors makes it nearly impossible to acquire high-quality education.

Slum kids die slowly, their lives eroded at so languid a pace that even they would have trouble tracing the disintegration. To the children of war, death explodes like a car bomb.” — Roger Rosenblatt.

None could depict the pain of the children of slum better than Roger Rosenblatt. Let us roll into the atmosphere the slums are situated in- abysmal quality of houses, lack of elementary services, irregular water supply, lack of sanitation- and list does not end here . These children reflect countless roles in a single day and begin working before they could understand the real essence of life. On an analogy between the children of slum and the children of affluent section of society , it can be said that both have places to play where one has a perfect habitation while the other has cramped one.Furthermore, there are also variety of cases to reflect the unavailability of basic food items to consume.

Despite the gravity of the problems, we are extremely unaware of the impact of this on the lives of children and grown-ups of slums. Slums are often regarded as a hub of diseases, where several children catch diseases. Malnutrition is a major issue as well. Moreover, the mothers are likely to have less skilled birth assistance that open the gates for diseases to the infant. HIV is prevalent among these slums due to a lack of awareness and education. Moreover, lack of proper exercise and diet results in the undernourishment of children- which adds to this vicious and debilitating cycle. There are times when we are fed up with our hectic lives, but these children of slums are ‘dying’ to even live a life.

In a survey of Khirkee, a slum in South Delhi, it was found that parks were very badly maintained. Also, the quality of water that is being consumed by people of the slum is well short of the basic standards.

While undertaking projects of advancement or uplifting of cities or different areas, slums, should be considered as an integral part and must be taken into consideration.

We all are conscious of the fact that most children in slums belong to extremely poor families, having limited resources and facilities, but a strong desire to excel. As we all know that education is the most powerful tool one can ever have. One would be disheartened to know that India’s literacy rate is about 74%-leaving a quarter of the population without basic reading and writing skills.

There exist some social entrepreneurship efforts to provide the best of the education to the marginalized children. Some of them are mentioned below,

1. Teach for India Foundation

The Teach for India (TFI) foundation aims to bridge the gap of educational inequity in India. It is essentially a not-for-profit organization, with a major presence in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, and Ahmedabad. TFI focuses on leadership being at the core of the solution in the education sector.

2. The Akanksha Foundation

Primarily based in Mumbai and Pune, the Akanksha Foundation is a not-for-profit focuses on initiating social reforms through its project, “The School Project”, as well as providing supplemental education to more than 6500 students through its Akanksha centers. The School Project connects with schools that are ready to partner with local municipalities and provide high-quality education to students from low-income households. The children are taught to have a good educational foundation, strong self-esteem, and a value system to enable them to provide themselves a steady livelihood.

3. Asha Foundation

The Asha Foundation or “Asha for Education”, as it is more commonly known, seeks to catalyse social-economic change in the country through the education of underprivileged children.
It is a not-for-profit enterprise seeking to improve slum conditions in India through various methods including educating community members about their rights to safe water and sanitation and training groups on how to engage government officials to seek change. It was started in the summer of 1991 by three students, and now boasts of a worldwide presence across US, India, Europe, and Canada as well as 1000 active volunteers.

There is a strong need for an integrated approach to combat the problems of slums. Certain solutions that can be adopted are slum improvement or slum resettlement. Few social entrepreneurs are playing their part.

It is time for all of us to pledge to help the children in the slum to acquire basic education and contribute a bit to their success as no child should be deprived of education. With the unprecedented challenges that we face today, no child can afford to be devoid of a decent education.

Written by Connecting Dreams Foundations SVC member Manish Rohilla .

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