Chhattisgarh, Orissa Govts. and NGOs transforming slum kids' lives with education

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Raipur/Bhubaneshwar, Oct. 18 (ANI): Many voluntary and State Government organizations in Chhattisgarh and Orissa are engaged in transforming the lives of slum children and dropout kids by imparting them useful education.

Chhattisgarh and Orissa are estimated to be home to about eight million children aged 6 to 14. But it has been noticed that most of these children are compelled to either beg on the roads or work as labourers or domestic helps. They have no access to education whatsoever.

While the Central Government has created Right to Education for all children up to 14 years of age, getting these kids to school has been a tough task.

Chhattisgarh State has come up with a scheme called "Adopt a girl child" which is helping to boost the female literacy rate. Under this scheme, girls living in slums are given free textbooks and a school bag. They also get mentors who personally ensure that the girl children attend school.

"If common people fund the education of even a single child, they will spend no more than six US dollars a year. We started this scheme of 'Adopt a girl' and till now education of 20,000 girls has been funded," says Brijmohan Agarwal, education minister, Chhattisgarh.

"Child labour issue is very serious in India. Even on the streets of Delhi or on the crossings of Delhi you find children either selling books or magazines or simply begging. Government response to this has been very poor and the concern is growing as to what will be done for the child labour or for those children who are not in a position to go to school," says J.S. Rajput, an educationist.

In Orissa, the State Government and the voluntary organisations are making efforts through various schemes to ensure a better future for such children. They are hoping to attract children by making the syllabus vocation-oriented.

While subjects like history and physics may not be of much use to tribal children of Orissa, learning about weaving, sculpting and tailoring do.

"Three years ago I had dropped out after class 5. But when this school opened many girls like me joined back. I am glad to be back as the studies here are not boring and we get to learn a lot of things," said Sushma Shisa, student.

There are also schools run especially for dropouts, teaching vocational skills along with subjects like English and Maths.

According to the International Labour Organisation, there are nearly 165 million child labourers in India. They mostly work as rag pickers and earn about half a dollar a day. They come from large families who are too poor to send them to school. (ANI)

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