Let’s bring the schools to the children

“I never imagined that my child will be literate one day, because I do not stay at one place whole year that is why I cannot send my child to regular school; thanks to Turnstone Global and Atmik”. – Mother of a 7 year old girl from D.M.B. brickfield.

Umanga: Brick Field School (BFS) are started by Turnstone global with the help of local NGO Atmik. Now in 5 Umanga BFSs are opened inside these brickfields I) INDIA, II) SUN, III)  D.M.B., IV) R.N.S. and V) N.B.F. Total 250 children from 2 years to 14 years are receiving education at Chinsurah, Mogra Block of Hooghly District.

The brickfield workers and their families come to West Bengal mainly from the neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and Odisha. They spend six to eight (work starts from November and ends in June) months as seasonal workers.

As a result these children never gets a chance to go to school and remain illiterate generation by generation. Not only that, they become assistant to their parents as a result turn into child labour.

Turnstone global started 5 Umanga BFSs inside the brickfield from 2016 and, hopefully in 2017 we will be having 10 schools in this brickfield area.

Objectives of the Project:

  • To provide education to the unprivileged children of brick field labourars
  • To provide nutrition to the children
  • To protect children from child-labour
  • To provide health and hygiene awareness to the children and the parents
  • To provide primary health care to the mother and child
  • To provide the underprivileged children with skill, care and scientific equipment
  • To develop innovation and to utilize their potentials

 Umanga BFSs is a place for learning, more importantly enjoyable learning.  Here children find an opportunity to develop their skills.  Every effort is made and caution taken not to generate fear in children towards study.  At the same time, their academic progress in reasonable time period is also taken into account.

Since their mother tongue is Hindi, our communication happens in Hindi. Apart from reading and writing in their own language, we teach them simple mathematic and life skills.

We do not start with the conventional method of alphabetical learning.  We start with the poems and stories; and then switch over to words which a child sees/observes around her. We strongly advocate activity based teaching method.  For the purpose we use a lot of alphabet cards, matra cards, word cards, picture cards, etc. Similar approach is adopted with the number writing and arithmetical calculations.  Every effort is made to make the learning as enjoyable as possible.

Teaching learning material: Children are provided with the education materials like books, slates, registers, pencils, etc. along with the educational toys which help efficiently in learning basic calculations and Hindi language.  They are also provided with the sports materials like football, flying disk, ring, skipping ropes, balls, etc.

Apart from the academics we regularly conduct sports and drawing competition. All the children are provided with adequate nutrition every day.

To save them from malnutrition and worms, they are administered doses of Vitamin A and Albandazole in every six month as per WHO guidelines. Thanks to Vitamin Engel for this support.

Training for the teachers: We have teachers’ training workshops on the last Saturday of each month.  Matters ranging from the teaching methodology, use of supporting materials and educational toys, problems faced by the teachers at Umanga BFS are discussed.

The goal is to empowerment of present generation of migrant brickfield workers and their children so that the next generation can come out of this cycle of vulnerability.

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