August 13, 2015
Child labourers rescued from different locations across the city are now keen to learn, thanks to the initiative of National Child Labour Project (NCLP) in Coimbatore and neighbouring Tirupur.
Teachers at the special schools, set up exclusively for imparting education for them, are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that they complete their schooling and take up higher education.
The 25 special schools in Coimbatore and Tirupur serve as bridge schools where rescued child labourers are provided free education and a meal. The aim is to prepare the children to study in a regular school. They are trained here for a maximum of three years, after which they are admitted to a Government school.
Each centre has a teacher who handles about 25 children. The teachers are those who ultimately determine the success of the NCLP. For, she identifies the children to be trained at her centre, motivates them to study and ensures they continue school. But what makes this project special is that a lot of its teachers haven’t gone to college themselves.
Vijaya Kumar, Project Director of NCLP, said that as many as 50 child labourers, who were rescued from waste paper and plastic godowns, tea shops, lathe works, two wheeler workshops, brick-kilns, factories and houses, have expressed desire to write the public examination and pursue collegiate education.
He said that seats were being secured through the District Collector at engineering, and arts and science colleges. For those choosing privately run colleges, corporates and business firms have come forward to sponsor a few. A few other colleges had themselves offered to provide free education, including food and stay.
Some of them got placements even while in college. Ruby, a rescued child labourer turned teacher expressed her gratitude to NCLP team for getting her admitted in a college. Now, she is a teacher at one of the special schools of NCLP. Besides imparting education, Ruby says that she creates awareness about the evils of child labour.
Rescued and rehabilitated child labourers after returning to their homes, make it a point to urge children who are working to give up and continue their education.
Meanwhile, NCLP Project Director said that counselling for parents was also being held in their respective areas to make them aware of the importance of education. As a result of effective steps taken by the field staff, the awareness level among parents and children has increased.
Children are being monitored regularly and all necessary help is being extended to ensure that they are self-employed if they fail to get any suitable jobs.