India has the highest or at least one of the highest number of infant mortality or children dying below the age of five due to disease and malnutrition as well as one of the highest number of child labor in the world, in both cases even higher than sub-Saharan Africa, and high levels of illiteracy. Poor parents who are mostly from the Dalit or oppressed castes don’t send children to school because they prefer them to work to get income. Girls are especially not sent to school or have to drop out as they have to work at home, fetch water and firewood and look after the younger siblings as well as the animals. Due to lack of water and irrigation and unemployment in village’s families are migrating to live in slums in cities like Jaipur in Rajasthan state which is one of the less economically developed regions
Our schools are located in the slums consists of Dalit communities or scheduled (“lowest”) or oppressed castes.
When we have more funds we plan to organize vocational training for the older children so that they can learn skills to get employment
First school is in Valmiki Colony slum, Jyoti nagar which is inhabited by harijan or the so called untouchable community. The school has about 30 children. Second school is under the Bais Godam bridge where the children live, which consists of mainly of Kanjar scheduled caste. There are about 30 children coming to our school. Some children have been persuaded by us to give up begging.
We provide nutritious snacks in the schools. Our approach is community based to raise community awareness, helping with water supply and tank, some medical support . We provide support against harassment and eviction . We had set up women’s groups to discuss issues and find ways to help and hope renew them
Apart from basic education we are also trying to focus on human values and psycho-social development of the children by providing loving and playful environment, building self esteem and dignity, more choices and hope in their future. We are trying to do this by songs, stories, games and affection of the teachers. We are trying to collect and develop appropriate teaching methods and aids and are developing a audio visual programme
The Forum had been initiated to network and bring together concerned individuals and organizations to clarify, develop understanding and advocate on issues of children’s rights in Rajasthan province. Relevant research will also be taken up. In a meeting of NGO’s network on children’s issues, the director of ADRC was requested to be one of the two advisers to the network. the network needs to be activated and renewed
Women groups were formed to provide space for them to articulate their problems and to inform them about possibilities of change and about their rights. We encourage mothers to send children to school. Many issues are related to
(1) Women and children’s health particularly gynecological problems
(2) Domestic violence and abuse by drunk husbands.
(3) Great need is felt by women to learn skills to generate income
We organize tailoring classes to train women to develop capabilities to generate income or at least enable them to make products at home for the family. Earlier training in sewing was conducted at the Welcome colony attended by 12 women. The second training was organized also for a month at Nindar Village 20 km for Jaipur for scheduled caste women numbering 15 who learnt to make food products like papad and mangodi. Now we organizing training in tailoring for the slum women at Valmiki Colony in Jyoti Nagar
4. Inter- Cultural Understanding Project
We try to promote Inter-cultural understanding through the awareness of local culture, responsible tourism and more authentic human and grass roots contact for the foreign students and tourists, including voluntary work to help the deprived. For this purpose we organised workshops on
- Indian Culture
- Volunteering, social change and current issues with 1 English permanent volunteer
- Responsible Tourism for a British group of 8 young people from the Voluntary Service UK, 6 young people from France and a Japanese group of students.
We also organised cultural evenings to highlight the diversity and richness of cultures. They included Japanese evening, British evening, West Africa evening California evening and Kashmir evening
We organized a meeting of leading academics, Gandhians, citizens and members of different religious communities in Jaipur to discuss the subject : Mahatma Gandhi and Intercultural Understanding. The director of ADRC was the chairman of the session
5. Research, Documentation and Book Writting Project
Research will be focused on subjects related to our projects as well as on Children’s Rights, Alternative Development, Redefining Development as Well-being and Social Progress and Independent Media
6. Redefining Development and Social Progress Forum
Economic growth, GDP and purely economic indicators of development have neither alleviated poverty and brought about social justice nor do they capture the multidimensional nature of development. The Forum has been initiated to redefine development in terms of well-being, meaningful happiness, social justice, environmental sustainability, peoples participation, peace and social harmony, social accounting and audit and desirable cultural and spiritual values. The well-being and voice of the poor and the excluded always comes first and their participations and stake in the system is crucial.
The Forum through a network of scholars, civil society activists and informed persons will be concerned with suggesting new and alternative concepts of development and social progress as well as their applicability in the form of measures, indicators and policy. Efforts are being made to spread public awareness about this approach and also to influence policy making through the Directors talks at seminars, conferences and public meetings and writing in newspapers and magazines