In Outreach Projects
APSA was one of the pioneer organizations in the country to take cognizance and highlight the issue of child labour. More than 3 decades of direct experience working with and understanding children has shown that the economic exploitation of children is framed in a vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy and child labour. While promoting education for street children, child labourers and school dropouts is a herculean task, it cannot be a solution in itself to address issues of child labour, which cannot be looked upon in isolation, but requires an integrated, comprehensive approach – mere physical removal of the child from the exploitative situation being inadequate to tackle this deep-rooted problem.
APSA has initiated unique projects that particularly address the root causes of child labour as we believe that every child in the urban slums of a city is a potential child labourer. For our interventions to be effective, it is essential to address issues not only of the child but also of the family and the community at large, with child participation central to any program’s success.
APSA’s programs to address child labour issues include:
- Sensitizing and assisting families and urban slum communities to child labour issues and encouraging people to become their own change agents through addressing issues pertaining to waste disposal, health and hygiene, sanitation, drinking water, day care for children, etc.
- Enrolment campaigns through awareness, door-to-door surveys and distribution of IEC material on the importance of schooling, thereby identifying school dropouts and enabling re-enrolment and follow-up to ensure retention, especially for girls
- Capacity building to parents, children, SDMC members, heads of schools as well as teaching staff on child rights, RTE, legal protection structures, roles and responsibilities of SDMC members, importance of community involvement in monitoring schools and transparency in school budgeting
- Working with children through Learning Centres in 15 government schools, enabling academic support for school-going and out-of-school children and slow learners through creative teaching methods
- Collectivizing and empowering children to demand their rights and entitlements from government duty-bearers and ensure their participation in child rights issues through establishment of Child Rights Clubs
- Providing non-formal bridge education and skill training for children and young people through APSA’s Dream School and Kaushalya Skill Training Centre
- Providing income generation programs for women in urban slums through self-help groups, thus reducing the cycle of poverty and economic exploitation by moneylenders and increasing quality of life for families and children
- Providing assistance through vocational skills and employment opportunities to youth members in the family
- Assisting slum communities in starting crèche facilities to relieve children, particularly girls, from caring for their younger siblings and encourage school-going
- Providing awareness and information on child labour, legal and medical support, counselling and repatriation support to families of children rescued from child labour
- Lobbying the government through presence on and involvement with various campaigns on the issue of child labour and advocate with government Departments of Labour, Education, Women & Child Development and Police (SJPU), among others, for more child-friendly policies at state and national levels