News / Asia

Makeshift Schools Help Mumbai Slum Children Beat the Odds

Makeshift Schools Help Mumbai Slum Children Beat the Oddsi
X
April 30, 2013 5:42 PM
The Indian government in recent years has made free primary education a right for all children. But millions still are not being dealt with by the educational system. To reach some of the neediest students, one group is now taking classrooms to the streets of Mumbai. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to volunteers and the young students they teach.
TEXT SIZE - +
Aru Pande
— The Indian government in recent years has made free primary education a right for all children. But millions remain outside the educational system. To reach some of the neediest students, one group is now taking classrooms to the streets of Mumbai.

Behind the greenery at this Mumbai public park, a mother of two is spending her morning teaching the basics of English spelling. Aparna Kanda understands how crucial these few hours are for these young learners, many of whom often have to study by streetlamp.
 
“Here are a group of children who are on the verge of dropping out of school because they do not have that support at home, because both parents are working hard to meet ends [make ends meet]. And these guys just go home and feel very dejected usually because they are not doing too well in school,” said Kanda.

Foundation flourishes

In just one year, a group of 15 volunteers has transformed this public park in Mumbai into a makeshift school, where some 250 children from local neighborhoods and slums come to enhance their learning.
 
Two Mumbai residents started Angels Xpress Foundation in 2012 after finding that many of city’s more than 4 million school children still lack basic English and mathematics skills.
 
In fact, despite high enrollment levels of primary school children, a recent nationwide study found that only half of those enrolled in the fifth grade could solve simple subtraction problems. The report notes a decline in students’ reading and math levels, despite India’s 2010 Right to Education Act, which mandates free and compulsory education to all children between the ages of six and 14.
 
With these statistics in mind, Angels Xpress Co-founder Beena Advani decided to concentrate on Mumbai’s slums, where she said many parents are unable to provide proper educational support to their children.
 
“I am sure they live in a very strenuous and stressful situation themselves, so they may not have the time or the knowledge to pass on the value that we are giving them, because they [the children], most of them are first-generation learners,” said Advani.
 
Thriving children

Recent high school graduate Sakshi Shivdasani, a volunteer on this particular morning, said working with these children has opened her eyes not only to their potential, but also to the struggle of the roughly 10 million who live in Mumbai’s slums.
 
“None of them actually get half the things we do, they get up early to bathe because they won’t get water supply later. It actually helps me understand what half of the people are going through,” said Shivdasani.
 
Children like 11-year old Sneha Yadav come to this park, one of two street schools, every morning at 7 a.m. for three hours of learning before heading to school. Volunteers also provide food, books and clothing.
 
“The school is so good that whoever comes will never want to leave,” said student Sneha Yadhav.
 
Angels Xpress hopes to increase the number of its schools in India’s financial hub in order to reach at least 1,000 slum children a year.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid