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Supporting Children of Manual Scavengers and Bonded Labourers to Stay in School

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Madhya Pradesh

Supporting Children of Manual Scavengers and Bonded Labourers to Stay in School

What are the challenges?

Children from Manual Scavenger and Bonded Labourer castes often drop out of school early after facing overt and covert prejudice in the education system (including being made to sit and eat separately in class, being ignored by the teachers). Similarly, they rarely find the support they need in their family home environments to continue their studies, with parents commonly living in extreme poverty. In addition, recent years have seen a saddening increase in the number of cases of sexual violence against girls in these communities. 

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What is the aim of the project?

This project works to give children from the most marginalised castes the support they need to complete their education, overcome the various types of discrimination and abuse they face and receive career guidance. The project also seeks to advocate for child education and against discrimination in the wider communities. 

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What are the main activities?

  • Running six ‘dignity centres’ at village level where children can receive educational support and have a safe space to learn about and talk about experiences of discrimination
  • Creating village level “child parliaments” to encourage confidence and solidarity in the children
  • Forming parent groups to encourage support for children’s education, as well as providing assistance to access government schemes
  • Helping with enrollment drives and supporting re-enrollment of dropout children
  • Supporting legal representatives that can easily respond to reports of abuse
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