Education for the children of brick kiln workers in Kalyan, Maharashtra

With their parents toiling hard as daily wage labourers in Kalyan’s brick manufacturing factories, these children never had a normal childhood. Even as kids they were carried along to the factory sites by their parents, and when they became old enough to stand, they had already joined work to add their share to the family income.

Never having seen any other side of life, these children could not even dream of a different future. Five years ago when Smile Foundation’s Mission Education centre BHT was initiated in the community, it was condemned by the parents. They thought that the only duty of their children should be to help the family survive.

It took months of rigorous counselling, endless home visits and mobilization sessions to convince the parents about the importance of education and bring the first batch of children to the centre. To keep the children in centre and make them regularly attend classes was another challenge for the teachers.

But with relentless hard work, playful and engaging teaching methods, activity-based learning, provision of routine health check-ups, nutrition, exposure visits and a lot of devoted attention, today the scenario has changed.

Children from Smile Foundation’s Mission Education playing happily.

250 children are currently enrolled at the centre and willingly attend classes on a regular basis. Their parents take great care not to miss any of the parents-teacher meetings and take a lot of interest in their children’s academic progress.

Regular health and hygiene camps are organised under the project for not just the children, but also their parents. Working in hazardous circumstances day and night, the community is often left vulnerable to several health risks. Health camps and awareness sessions keep a check on the spread of preventable and communicable diseases, along with promoting a health seeking behaviour in the kids from an early age.

The centre is now not only well-accepted and appreciated by the community; it has been adopted by the community members, who actively participate to make the initiative a success.

To know more about Smile Foundation’s education programme, please visit our website.

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Author

Akanksha Rawat

Akanksha works as Manager, Communication with Smile Foundation.

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