Supported by Ketcham Family Foundation and Gervis Foundation, the Child Friendly Community project aims to leverage India's 2009 Right to Education (RTE) Act, bringing the benefit of schooling in locations where this law is not being enforced. This is especially
important in the context of carpet weaving and handmade garment-worker communities, where children are vulnerable to child-labour. The program emphasizes improved learning outcomes and not merely a passive access to education. Objectives of the Child Friendly Community Project are as follows:
- To prevent Child Labor by achieving 100% enrolment and quality attendance of children;
- To help children build skills of reading, writing and basic arithmetic through schools and Motivation and Learning Centers (MLCs) established by the project;
- To build lasting interest & capacity among communities for education;
- To track every out of school child to help them cope with the formal education by providing learning support.
ProcessThis initiative is central to realizing education for the hardest-to-reach children, including those in remote rural settings where incidence of child labour is relatively higher. In terms of execution, GoodWeave supports 16 Motivation and Learning Centres (MLCs) in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. These Motivation and Learning Centres are most crucial in abridging the education gap most of these children have with their school going peers. As of June 2016, this community-based education system directly or indirectly reaches around 3500 children as they learn basic skills of reading, writing and mathematics, thus creating a habit of attending regular classes. A key aspect of the community-based approach practiced is the insistence on participatory models. The local Community facilitators are recruited from the villages themselves and act as advocates against child labour, teachers in MLCs, Counsellors to vulnerable kids and Coordinators in local implementation. These facilitators are young professionals who contribute qualitatively in the betterment of their villages while simultaneously acquiring the skills to work in the social development sector. Furthermore, the program is designed in a way that an initial investment not only catalyses a permanent change in the participating communities, but also typically results in a ‘spill-over’ effect where neighbouring villages are inspired to replicate activities based on the results they are seeing. This is paramount in an attempt to achieve long-term, sustainable and systemic change.
ExpansionAs of March 2016, the Child Friendly Community Project has also been introduced to cover children in communities that make handmade garments (informal apparel supply chains). The first phase of the program covers two villages near Sikandrabad, UP (Kanwara and Tilbegumpur) where the processes including household surveys, case-study preparation, partnership with local schools, MLC set up have already taken shape.