Pencils & Paper & Lessons with Love

8 August 2014

Sainaj’s STORY.
Sainaj is 10 years old and has 6 siblings. Her father and eldest brother are the two earning members of the family and the collective income is limited. The main focus is to put food on the table, with no money available to send any of the children to school.

Vision Rescue started working in Khiderpur slum in June 2015. Since then, it has been a blessing to Sainaj and 52 other children living there. Sainaj and two of her siblings are coming to Vision Rescue bus and attend regularly. It is the first time that many of these children are receiving any form of education and the children are showing a lot of interest.

The 500 project has been a great blessing for more than 150 children living in the slums of Kolkata. This project has enabled children like Sainaj to access education, which was previously out of reach. Through the education and feeding program, many children have a new hope and joy in their hearts.

The NEED.
South Asia has the highest number (36.1 million) of primary and lower secondary school age children out-of-school globally – 9.8 million primary school age and 26.3 million lower secondary age.  The majority of out-of-school children in South Asia can be found in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan; these 3 countries account for as many as 27 million out-of-school children. School attendance is lower in slums and children from poor urban neighbourhoods are among the least likely to attend school. In India and Bangladesh, about 20 percent of students do not make the transition from primary to secondary education.

Barriers to accessing education include child labour, gender discrimination, conflict, language challenges, barriers related to disability, and the pervasive factor of household poverty.

Kolkata is one of the four biggest cities in India with a metropolitan population of over 15.3 million people and home to many street children. Children living on the street and in slums face multiple challenges attending school. They are vulnerable to trafficking, often have to work to survive, and face discrimination in the classroom. These children often lack confidence and belief that they have the ability to succeed in school.

The PROJECT.
The Vision Rescue non-formal education program is designed to teach children who are not enrolled in formal schooling in a fun and engaging way, encouraging them to learn and want to continue with their education. The program teaches the basics of literacy and numeracy in Hindi and English and builds their confidence. They are also fed a nutritious meal before they attend the class each day. Every week, over 1000 children are fed through the Vision Rescue project in Mumbai with food cooked in the ‘Sisterhood Kitchen’. For most of the kids, this is the only proper meal they have during the day.

The teachers also work with the children’s families to enrol the students into school. They also design assistance around the family’s needs to ensure that the children can stay in school and reduce drop out. The program has great success in transitioning children from the non-formal education on buses into formal education at schools, setting them up for a positive future.

Vision Rescue Kolkata grew from a very humble beginning, when a few staff members would teach children living under the highway overpasses in the city. Over time, curriculum and structure was developed and a temporary shed was constructed, as the number of children attending the lessons grew. Receiving the ‘Sisterhood bus’ was a great blessing that increased mobility, efficiency, and reach into the community. Vision Rescue were also able to setup a small kitchen, enabling provision of a nutritious cooked meal for the children every day. Vision Rescue Kolkata is currently feeding and educating more than 150 children each day (Monday-Friday). The journey has just begun and there is so much more that we can do together to do in the city of Kolkata.

Local Church AWARENESS.
If you are part of a local church please be mindful of your local church vision and be sure to graciously submit and share your heart with those in leadership in your life. We believe we should see this as an ‘above and beyond’ endeavour that has the capacity to reach out and build bridges into our unchurched communities and ultimately be a blessing.

Our RESPONSE.
PRAY
For the children to attend the buses regularly and transition well into school. Pray for families to be strong, healthy and safe environments for children to grow up in. Pray for volunteers to assist with follow-up and tuition for students enrolled in formal education. Pray for networking with the Government, NGO’s and community for further impact. Pray for the teachers and workers who are so committed to seeing these children succeed.

FUNDRAISE.
Check out our handy little tips on various ways to raise funds. Please see the financial guidelines document online for more practical information. Please note that if a project is completed we reserve the right to transfer any excess funds to another project.

THE DETAILS
$500 AUD can sponsor 1 child onto the “SISTERHOOD” bus in Calcutta for a year with non-formal education and a hot meal 5 days a week.

£500 can sponsor 2 children onto the “SISTERHOOD” bus in Calcutta for a year with non-formal education and a hot meal 5 days a week.

€500 can sponsor 1 children onto the “SISTERHOOD” bus in Calcutta for a year with non-formal education and a hot meal 5 days a week.

R500 will sponsor 1 child onto the “SISTERHOOD” bus in Calcutta for one month with non-formal education and a hot meal for 2 weeks.

$500 USD can sponsor 1 child onto the “SISTERHOOD” bus in Calcutta for a year with non-formal education and a hot meal 5 days a week.

TELL US YOUR STORY
Send us an email at coloursisterhood@hillsong.com as we would love to hear about how you did it!