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Continuing education among children of migrant families

Development of local systems where state actors collaborate with families to insure children of migrating families continue education

Photo of Vinodkumar  Rao
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What problem does the idea help to solve and how does your solution work? (2,000 characters maximum)

In India, most rural residents are engaged in agriculture. The work is seasonal, and when landless labourers do not have local work, they migrate to nearby towns or closer areas to work in brick kilns or other similar informal jobs. The children of such families, migrate with the parents and when they are back, they have missed several weeks of schooling, do not feel confident to join back and eventually drop out. As they also reach the legal age of working, they finally drop school completely and get to working. Children engaged into labor is a well known problem and while both prevention of child labor as well as their right to education is guaranteed by law, the intersection of poverty, lack of adequate local livelihoods, precarious family conditions and other socio economic challenges such as caste discrimination all conspire and produce an environment that is non conducive to insure continued education of vulnerable adolescent children. The cause and effect relationship between continued quality education and child development is well known and therefore local measures are required to alleviate the problem. The idea promotes developing local systems where both state authorities partner with the resident communities in insuring that children of the migrating families can continue education. While nuances of the overall approach needs to accommodate local conditions, a general enabling framework is advised. One successful approach is when the loss of schooling due to migration or engagement in labor is compensated with remedial education. The families are encouraged to reduce the number of hours their children are engaged in labor and instead attend remedial classes run by the local school with flexible timings at convenient locations. When families migrate, they are encouraged and facilitated to make arrangements with their neighbours or relatives to leave their children behind so they don’t miss school and eventually dropped off.

Geography of focus (500 characters)

The idea is focussed around 3 districts - Gaya, Patna in Bihar state and North 24 Paraganas in West Bengal state in India. These districts are majorly rural and peri urban, and have high incidence of poverty making the children from such families very vulnerable to dropping education for labor. The poverty in these districts push families to migrate for labor and a high incidence of both inward and outward migration is evident in these districts.

Building Bridges: What bridge does your idea build between people on the move and neighbors towards a shared future of stability and promise? (500 characters)

The idea is focussed on continuing education for the children of migrating families and uses methods where authorities such as schools and district administration work with resident communities in insuring such vulnerable children continue education. Though involving complex negotiations, the families on the move are encouraged to leave their children with neighbours and relatives so that they don’t miss school. This cohesive and collective support to migrating families is the core of the idea.

What human need is your idea solving for? (1,000 characters)

In our work with child protection, one of the most common forms of harm we see is children being pushed into labor and therefore we strongly endeavour developing systems to prevent this. It is well researched that children in labor and children dropping school are directly linked and work in a negative cycle. Therefore stepping up efforts to insure children remain in school is key to prevent them from being harmed, and therefore allow them to access rightful development which their family’s vulnerability deprives them of. Accessing good and continued education is one of the basic rights of any child and no child enjoys working. A child needs to be able to get education, spend time with friends and playing and be hopeful about his/her future. All this is deprived if the child is pushed into labor, preventing which is the core goal of this idea.

What will be different within the community of focus as a result of implementing your idea? (1,000 characters)

The simple and immediate impact that will be visible is number of children at the risk of dropping school, averted from this risk and therefore continue in school. The change in the enrolment and attendance will be evident from the school’s records and since the school authorities and district administration gets directly and actively involved in insuring the challenge is addressed, the change measurement feeds directly into the state systems that keeps them motivated to strengthen efforts. Change in the perception of the stakeholders is an important indicator of the local results. The children’s perception about continuing education and making future plans, the families’ perception on the importance of education of their children for their improved futures, the perception of neighbours and extended family on extending protective support to children of migrating families, and perception of school and other state actors around insuring children are supported to continue education.

What is the inspiration behind your idea? (1,000 characters)

Aangan has close to 2 decades of working in child protection and child trafficking for labor continues to be the top reason for child harm. Our work with vulnerable communities and children taught us that when children are in school, they are safe and less likely to be drawn into labor work and therefore harm. We have also learned that the root cause of children being pushed into labor and dropping out of school are many and intersecting which require multi pronged approaches. Our explorations have always driven us to look at what local knowledge exists, and what solutions can local residents develop to address the issues concerning their children. This idea which proposes to use local support to remediate children dropping out of school aligns with this belief, and a lot of micro approaches that sum up to the overall idea have been built through local experience and conversations. Our working relationships with the local residents is the top inspiration behind the proposed idea.

Describe the dynamics of the community in which the idea is to be implemented. (1,000 characters)

We are looking at communities where a large number of families live precarious lives, are involved in marginal labor work, and mostly migrating to nearby towns and places seasonally. General poverty and socio economic marginality means their children are forced to drop school and get engaged in labor. Livelihood is seasonal and therefore, families that live on daily wage to support their families migrate when adequate opportunities are not available. Relationships between resident communities and government institutions are not necessarily strong and active, and a range of socio economic disparities can mean low engagement between the two entities. Given these challenges, there is also great local capacity and knowledge which can be invigorated by a simple catalyst. External support in the form of tools that support the local communities can be that catalyst. The stakeholders interact with each other on a casual basis, the idea calls for making this interaction stronger.

How does your idea leverage and empower community strengths and assets to help create an environment for success? (1,000 characters)

Our biggest asset is that the work on the ground which involves deep negotiations and addressing case by case challenges is led by locally resident women. These women are given the necessary tools and support and they volunteer their time to develop the cohesive local action after applying their local knowledge. For example, the idea involves negotiation with migrating families to leave their children with other safe families residing behind and this negotiation is very nuanced on a case by case basis. With the general understanding of the idea, and equipped with tools, the volunteer women use their local knowledge, relationships with the families and their own understanding of the situation to develop remediation to children accompanying their parents during migration. The idea requires joint community action and therefore the success of the idea much depends on the local adaptation and collaborative community action, where leveraging of their core capacities is the key.

What other partners or stakeholders will work alongside you in implementing the idea, if any? (1,000 characters)

In West Bengal, we will work with 2 local partners registered as “Sristi for Human Society” and “ASHA”. Our main partners working on the ground are the resident women who will be recruited as volunteers to get equipped with the tools and methods we have developed. The women will be encouraged to utilise them in the local context and apply their local knowledge and interpersonal skills to apply them locally. The nuances of the local solutions is a clear reflection of the local knowledge, and the volunteer women play a significant role in it.

What part of the displacement journey is your solution addressing

  • Other

Tell us how you'd describe the type of innovation you are proposing

  • Other

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Pilot: We have started to implement the idea as a whole with a first set of real users. The feasibility of an innovation is tested in a small-scale and real world application (i.e. 3-15% of the target population)

Group or Organization Name

The Aangan Trust

Tell us more about your group or organization [or lived experience as a displaced person?] (1000 characters)

Aangan started working in rescue homes where children primarily rescued from labor and other trafficked situations are kept under protection. This work led the founders to understand the core reasons that result into children ending up in trafficked situations and explore viable solutions. This led to the development of locally developed, adopted and nurtured solutions and it was realised that local women are the most valuable resource. Therefore, we began developing tools and methods that gave the necessary support to local women to carry out the work of child protection. The methods revolve around developing cohesive networks between Government authorities, families and local community members, where everyone plays a role, and together they produce safety networks that prevent children from being harmed - that is trafficked and pushed into labor, dropped from school, married early and/or facing violence. In this pursuit, we constantly develop new ideas which the residents teach us!

Website URL:

http://aanganindia.org

Type of submitter

  • We are a registered Non-Profit Organization

Organization Headquarters: Country

India

Organization Headquarters: City / State

Mumbai, Maharashtra

2 comments

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Photo of lucien kilonda
Team

Hi Vinodkumar,
this sounds like a great project. Please take a moment to read my idea on “Demistifying Epilepsy”. I work with an organization that hopes to bring healthcare education to people with limited access. I hope we can work together in the future.

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