We visited these inspiring centers in Kolkata and Siliguri. Often the environment around the center is confronting and very poor with very little resources for families. The centers are a single room with mats or desks and a colourful posters provided by CINI. The local community provides the venue, often a school, club or sports center. Classes follow the Government curriculum as well as providing the chance to play and create.
An essential aspect is protection. This could not have been clearer than when I visited a center near Kolkata’s Park Street area, not far from the elegant shops and big restaurants.
The centre was a buzz of activity as children arrived back from school. The room was small, hot and humid. The ceiling fans didn’t work. No one complained. One child offered me a fan. The children, 6 to 13 years were busy doing their maths and Bengali, reading, copying from the black boards under the guidance of a kind and focused teacher. The children obviously felt safe and nurtured.
I asked if I could visit where the home. We walked down an alley to the railway line – home. There were hundreds of dwellings made from tarps and bamboo along the track, women were preparing food between the tracks, toddlers were playing under their eye. The women in their twenties told me they’d always live there; they hadn’t been to school and their houses were falling apart. There was no running water, they cary it in from the government supply truck in plastic bottles. There are no toilets.
The center provides so much that is essential: safety, help with school, some where to draw, dance and play including safety and the chance at education.
In Siliguri CINI has 4 slum education centers and CINI works in 50 of the Siliguri’s 186 slums.
Many families who migrate from poorer state such as Bihar& Jharkhand end up in slums on very low incomes. Here were 2 teachers with 50 happy children, 5 to 16 years, class 1 to 8, speaking Hindi, Urdu, Bengali and Nepali. Amazing!
If you would like to support these centres, an ” educate A Child” sponsorship is $10 per month
Go to Sponsorships