Kadam Education Initiative

Project:  Kadam Education Initiative

Location: Gujarat, India

Grassroots Partner: Center for Development

Project Description:

The main goal of the project is to ameliorate the conditions of children from disadvantaged and marginalized communities in Ahmedabad and to work towards their fundamental rights.

Following the 2002 riots in Gujarat, thousands of muslim families migrated to the outskirts of Ahmedabad in fear of violence. The Bombay Hotel area (10Km south of the city) is now a large muslim ghetto consisting of around 20,000 families. Several infrastructure projects in the city including beautification of the Sabarmati riverfront and widening of roads to make way for the Ahmedabad bus rapid transit system (BRTS) have led to the eviction of a large number of families, ~1,500 of whom live in the Piplaj area that adjoins Bombay Hotel and ~1,000 living in the Khodiyar Nagar area next to Piplaj. People living in these two areas are mostly dalits and muslims.

The regions of Piplaj and Khodiyar Nagar were initially meant to be “Transit colonies” where people would temporarily be accommodated while permanent resettlement was worked out. However, families have been living in these areas for over 5 years now with no signs of alternate accommodation being providing. Furthermore, these regions lack basic amenities such as drinking water, functioning toilets, health care centres, ICDS centres or schools. Additionally, people who used to live within the city previously had livelihoods, as domestic help, working in nearby shops etc., however, currently there is no avenue for employment owing to the secluded nature of the area. Hence there is an impending problem of children being forced to work to contribute to the income of households and, in effect, missing out on getting a proper education. Moreover, there is only one school across the highway near Piplaj, which is understaffed and is unable to cater to the needs of the large number of children currently living in the area.

Kadam Education Initiative (KEI), a part of the Centre for Development (CfD), have established a series of education centres (ECs) that aim to fill in the gap in education of the people of the Bombay Hotel (5 ECs) and Piplaj areas (2 ECs). In these ECs, children are taught according to the Gujarat State Board syllabus, provided with a midday meal and also engage in various other activities including learning how to operate computers. A significant proportion of families in the community are aware of the need for education and do send their children to these centres. However, there is still an ongoing problem of children working as rag pickers and KEI is slowly expanding to try and reach out to as many families as possible within this marginalized community. Additionally, with assistance from CfD, KEI is also building advocacy groups with members of the community, educating them on their fundamental rights such as RTE and instructing them on how they could use tools such as RTI to fight for justice. These committees have also been involved in trying to involve the rest of the community in the battle for their rights, as well as approaching the administrative offices of the Ahmedabad Municipal Council to petition for basic needs such as functioning ICDS centres and schools.

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