The BALIGA TRUST works in the slums and resettlement areas of Delhi, where countless numbers of migrant workers come to find work. We have funded work at twenty-five of the Trust’s 60 centres in north Delhi.
‘STEP UP’ provides remedial education for vulnerable children who are at risk of dropping out of school. Many of them have had very poor (or even nil) attendance rates at school, often because they have been earning money, and because their families have no tradition of valuing all that education has to offer. Working in 25 centres, these children receive additional tuition to help them achieve the level of those in their classes. This is delivered in a way that really engages and sustains their interest. The tutors work with small groups so they are able to understand and address the problems of individual children. The tutors receive excellent training in providing lively education, producing their own teaching resources, and giving support and encouragement to this challenging group of youngsters.
We also work with the families, so they will support their children’s education. And training and support is given to the local teachers to encourage the children to continue with their education. Our experience shows that children who go through the ‘Step-up’ programme and receive this kind of support do very well. Their school performance and behaviour improves, with many taking the top positions in their school classes. With these improvements, so they gain in confidence, realising that, in spite of all the disadvantages they face, there is still a great deal that they are able to do to bring about a better life for themselves. They understand that this is their best hope for the future.
So strong is the loyalty of those who have received similar support in the past that they now help the Baliga Trust as volunteers. Indeed, a handful, having progressed to college and received qualifications, are now employed by the Baliga Trust helping the next generation. We are grateful to everyone who has supported this work, including the Peter Cundill Foundation which funded 25 centres for three years. It has made a valuable contribution to the lives of one thousand children. Between IVDT and the Baliga Trust, we are managing to find enough support to keep half of the centres still running, giving support to the most needy.