Motivating Rag Pickers to Let Their Children Go to School

In July 2013, Sama started its ‘Urban Deprived Children’s’ project under which 22 children arebeing provided bridge education facility in collaboration with Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan. These children include the children of rag pickers, orphans, semi-orphans and few addicted to substance abuse. The aim of the program called ‘Chinnara Thanga Dhama’ (Residential Space for Small Kids) is to provide these children the necessary educational support and environment for one year and then place them in institutional care. “Eight children are in the age group of 4-6 years, six are of 6-12 years and eight are above 12 years of age. Children learn as per the syllabus set up by the government,” said Loknath, the warden of the Program based in a government school in Chikka Gollarahatti Magadi Road, Bangalore. Loknath faced many challenges while trying to convince parents to send their children to Chinnara Thanga Dhama. “It was very difficult to convince rag pickers. Children also pick rag with them and the parents ask for 100 rupees everyday to take away the child. I try to convince them by telling them that in school children will have a better future,” Loknath said. He however found it easy to convince mothers; major challenge as of now before him is to help two children addicted to alcohol, cigarettes and stealing to return to normalcy. “We have referred these cases to Dr. Jnardhan of National Institute of Mental Health and Sciences (NIMHANS),” said Sardar Basheer, the Education and Psychosocial care Program Coordinator of Sama Foundation.

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