The Community Outreach Programme is mainly dedicated to the less fortunate sections of the society and to provide a new direction and creativity in the existing traditional education system. Even today, there are many communities, who are deprived from the light of development. The existing schools in such areas are entirely focused on books-and-examinations based education. There is no scope of holistic development for a child/student in such institutions. Such a large part of our society is still deprived of many opportunities and is less privileged. They are still deprived from the basic needs of life, health and education! They are not recognized as the citizens of this country and have no realization about it; at the same time, they are disregarded by the society and the Government. Such communities either stay on the fringes of a town or a city, or live on the foot paths.
Poverty and lack of basic necessities is a common site in these communities. The places where such communities reside are identified as ‘slums’ or ‘Ghettos’. Both men and women in such communities work hard to earn a day’s living. Their children can be found accompanying them to their work place or playing on the street.
In these slums there are some permanent, some temporary, some seasonal and some migrant population as well. In certain slums, one can find daily wage laborers who migrate from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar or other states of India, work for some months and again go back to their natives.
There are many such slums in Bhuj. Nat Bajaniya, Vanjara, Madar, Vansfodiya, Gadaliya, Devi pujak, Bhil are some communities residing in the slum areas, living in deprived conditions. The urban life style has an adverse effect on them and they are forced to lead a life that is different from their tradition and culture. They lead a very basic life and their work involves a lot of physical efforts. There are little or no facilities like electricity, drinking water, School, health centers etc. If the school is far from the slum, chances are less that a child will go to school as both the mother and father would have left early in the morning for work.
The objective of Community Outreach Programme is to work with such ‘deprived’ children; to bridge the gap between the ‘have-s’ and the ‘have-nots’ and mainstream them into the society. However the most important objective is to develop a feeling of self esteem and self confidence in children. All of this will be made possible through activities, songs, games, cleanliness and hygiene, dialogues, field trips etc. The crux of this is to take steps towards the positive development of a child. It is a step towards negating the book based education and accepting the ‘Gammat sathe gyan’ approach towards learning.
The citizen of a country is the true asset of any country. A country is not formed only because of its natural resources, but it is formed because of its human resources, its citizens. A country’s pride lies in its citizens. To make a good citizen, steps should be taken right from the childhood. Interpersonal skills in a child should develop alongside self development and self confidence. It is not a one sided process. It comprises of a wholesome involvement of mind, heart and soul. Corporal punishment, fear, negativity only leads a person towards a non-productive and violent behavior.
The Community Outreach Programme will have an evolving structure, which will offer ample space for experimentation, innovation and originality. The basic essence of education is to discover, showcase and develop the individuality of each child, which is not possible in a pre-structured approach. Various activities and programmes can be a good medium for this in an environment which is comfortable for the child.
The Community Outreach Programme also wishes to support the government primary schools in activities related to child development. It will be planned in the second phase of the project.
Through this initiative we intend to connect the society as well. We would encourage local volunteers to provide their valuable inputs and time for this project. Since establishing one centre would also incur some costs for the organization, we would look for donors to support this project.
Education is not just literacy but it is life itself. Life oriented, through living and for a better life is the true definition of education. This is the larger dream of the Community Outreach Programme!