Back to School: An Endeavour for Vulnerable Kids

Smile’s quest for genuine grassroots initiatives for the welfare and uplift of vulnerable and deprived children in the remotest corners of India has landed up on an initiative titled ‘Back to School Programme’. The intervention covers vulnerable slum and street children in Siliguri, West Bengal with education, health and nutritional support.

Major Activities of ‘Back to School Programme’

The literacy level is very low in the intervention area and the children are mostly drop outs or non school going children. Further, there is no primary school facility in the vicinity.

The slum dwellers are mostly engaged in daily wage earners and as domestic workers, with a paltry monthly income level of Rs.1000-1500.

There are more than a hundred non schools going children from Sukantapally Basti and surrounding slums.

Education Centre

The project includes a non formal educational centre in Tinbati Sukantapally, ward no. 32 of Siliguri Municipal Corporation in 2 shifts with 30 children in each shift. English, Hindi/ Bengali, Maths, Social Studies and GK are the subjects being taught at the center. Awareness about issues like eradication of child labour, child’s right to education is being spread through sessions/ group discussions with the community/ parents.

Health Care Facilities

To make the environment around the targeted children conducive for education, quarterly health check up of all children under the project and the women from the nearby surrounding slums is being organized.

Supplementary Nutrition

Supplementary nutrition, for example egg, biscuit, cake and fruit are essential for a child’s proper growth and development. To prevent incidence of malnutrition among the targeted children, supplementary nutrition is also being provided at the center.

Life Skill Education

Children under the project are being trained on vital aspects of personality like behaviour and etiquette, hygiene, reproductive health, good values and habits, social concerns. They are also being given training on art, craft, dance and drama through workshops and cultural programmes.

Scholarship Programme

A special annual scholarship of Rs 1500 has been instituted by Smile Foundation for 3 most outstanding students who are going to be mainstreamed into formal schools.

About the Partner

Smile Foundation’s local partner HRIDAY is a community based organization located in Ukilpara, Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. Founded in 2006, Hriday is primarily working for the welfare of High Risk Group (HRG) and underprivileged slum children. It has also been working in the areas of awareness and prevention of HIV/ AIDS.

Special Focus

  • To increase enrollment & retention rates in the non formal education centers in the targeted slum
  • Mainstreaming children of the centers into formal schools after 1 year of intervention
  • The number of children should be gradually increased by 2nd – 3rd quarter
  • 80% of the children given education should secure 60% of marks in the respective subjects and also school drop outs and slow learners should be mainstreamed to some formal schools in appropriate class during the year with their retention in school ensured through constant follow–ups
  • Regular health check up should be done for all children (including mother and community). Severely malnutritioned and anemic girls should be given proper care and brought to the growth chat, and their no. should be reported