The Telegraph (Date – 06.08.2010)
Migrant children turn a new chapter
– Khariar-based NGO Lokdristi intervenes to prevent school dropouts
Balangir, Sept. 5: Hetu Kata of Salebidi village in Nuapada district used to migrate with his father Khaga Kata to work in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh. As a child labourer, he used to help his father in brick making.
However in 2005, Hetu was asked to stay back in Salebidi to continue his study under the supervision and guidance of a residential care centre (RCC) of the Khariar-based non-government organisation (NGO) Lokdristi . And, this year Hetu passed the matriculation examination in the first division.
“I had never thought that I would ever go to school again. However, it happened and I passed the matriculation examination in the first division. It is like a dream come true for me,” Hetu said.
Like Hetu, Arati Majhi of Dabri village used to accompany her father Buloram to work in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh. But life changed for her after she came in touch with RCC. Arati, who dropped-out after class VII, is staying at an RCC facility for the past three years to continue her study. She too passed the matriculation exam this year. Arati’s father Buloram is elated and wants his daughter to complete graduation.
“I lost all hope about her education after she had to give up her study to accompany us to the brick kiln. Today, it’s hard to belief that our daughter has passed matriculation. I want her to complete her graduation,” said an exulted Buloram.
Siblings Durbal Tandy and Rajiv Tandy, who had stayed back to continue their study, too passed the matriculation examination. All the 106 children of migrant labourers, who passed matriculation this year, were recently felicitated at a function in Khariar of Nuapada district.
Khariar-based Lokdristi has been running an education programme to retain school dropouts owing to migration since 2004-05. This year, 66 students passed the matriculation examination.
Secretary of Lokadrusti Abani Mohan Panigrahi said the organisation had already taken care of more than 7,500 children through RCCs and bridge courses by creating an education-friendly atmosphere in the villages.
“During the initial years, we laid emphasis on two things. Our effort was to retain school dropouts when the their parents immigrated so that they can carry on with their education. Moreover, we made provision for bridge course for them. In this process, we have managed to bring to the mainstream 2,153 children,” said Panigrahi.
“We ensure that children study till secondary level through community participation across the migration-prone villages,” he added.
Lauding the effort, Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das said: “Such innovative programmes are needed for the poor and migrant people of area. The government should take proactive role in such programmes.”