Superpower in Small Hands!
“What can we do, we want clean water?”, Jyothi (name changed) suddenly stood up in the class and asked the teacher. “We get dirty drinking water with a foul smell, I hate drinking water.” Another student shared, “Teacher, I know that dirty water cause diseases. I can see people getting sick around me. I don’t want to get sick” The children were sharing their concerns during a session on the environment conducted in the remedial class located in Perumbakkam, Chennai for the children of migrant labours.
Eager to change the condition, the children continued the discussion to seek solutions. The teacher facilitated and suggested a few options. The children finally decided and wrote a letter about their concerns to the local leader. Along with their teacher, they met the local leader with a request for clean water.
Students from KP park meeting the local leader
Children’s initiative yielded results. 16 Water tanks were cleaned by the authorities, benefitting 5,900 individuals in that area.
“I love going to the remedial classes. Apart from studies, we can share our happiness and our problems with the teacher. When we raised the issue of dirty drinking water, the teacher encouraged us to do something about it. This is our first time meeting any officer, but I and my friend told them about our problem. After a few days, the official came to our building and cleaned the tank. We won’t feel scared to talk to authorities now because we know our problem will be solved if only, we dare to speak”. Jyothi, a 12-year-old student, at Remedial Centre, Perumbukam, Chennai shared her happiness.
Excited by the success, the children decided to take action to change the sad status of classrooms in their school. “How can we study in a class with broken blackboard, floors and no benches? Their plea was heard by the authorities. The old and damaged blackboard was repaired immediately. Renovation work for the floor and arrangement of benches is being undertaken by the school authorities.
Discussions on social and environmental issues are an integral part of education in remedial classes. Children are encouraged to analyse and share their reflections on the situation. These discussions have resulted in a few actions led by the children.
In another instance, children from the K P Park remedial centre in Chennai decided to solve the water problem in their area. In the KP Park area, water supply is restricted to 2 hours, every alternative day. The students came up with an idea! They along with their teacher approached the local leaders and explained the issue with their drawings.
Govt authorities inspacting water tanks in Perubakkam
Based on the representation from the children, Tamil Nadu Urban Habitat Development Board (TNUHDB) took measures to provide adequate water supply for every household. A pilot has been initiated for providing a separate pipeline connection to each floor. If the pilot is feasible, it will be implemented in other blocks too.
Community Transformation Hub is a joint initiative of Life Insurance Corporation-Housing Finance Limited (LIC-HFL) and Indo-Global Social Service Society (IGSSS), with support from 3 implementing partners. Under this project, we are creating opportunities for 1050 children of migrant labourers to excel in education through 30 remedial classes in Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. The classes are not only based on regular topics from the book but also cover life skill education through fun learning methods. The Child Safeguarding mechanism is being strictly followed. The classes encourage child participation and decision-making. The voice of every child is respected and heard. The programme in Chennai is being implemented by Information and Resources Centre for Deprived Urban Communities(IRCDUC).