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Education for All
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Deccan Development Society has endeavored to provide educational opportunities to the most deprived Dalit Children in the Project Area. Since 1991 it has been regularly identifying out of school children and providing the first educational opportunity through the village night school.

Since Bonded child labour is widespread in the district due to poverty and non implementation of the law, the only opportunity for learning remains the night school. Identified working children are encouraged to join the local night school. After a year, when the children develop an interest in schooling, a summer school is organised. This Back to School programme creates an opportunity for children to go back to regular school.

At present approximately 1060 children are enrolled in 32 villages where the need is most. Over the last six years more than eight hundred (523 girls and 538 boys) children have come to the summer camp and enrolled in regular schools. Some of them (who keep in touch) have started earning decent livelihoods with their new skills.

In addition the effort of the Deccan Development Society school programme has led to enrollment of eligible children in their local government schools.

The night school teachers are local youth. They receive regular training and have successfully designed textbooks incorporating local language and systems of learning. They are linked up to the Pachasaale. A monthly newsletter is produced to provide additional teaching material to the teachers. In addition to literacy the children learned about different social issues related to child rights.

Influencing Government Policy

Working together with the District Collector and other NGOs we have been successful in transferring our learning to Government. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has taken up the Back to School Programme and enrolled 1,00,000 children in regular schools last summer.

Adult Education

DDS has promoted literacy for women sangam members over several years. The women come to workshops where they learn to read and write as well as discuss women's issues. Over a period of time we have developed a legal literacy booklet keeping in view the issues that have been taken up in the area. Due to this initiative most sanghas have members who can read and write. A couple of our night school teachers are women who have developed their literacy skills through our internal programme. This initiative has also made women very aware of the need to send all children to school. Approximately 500 women have participated in the programme. 25 workshops have been conducted over the last four years.

Legal Literacy

A small group of women leaders have emerged who can tackle most problems of violence in the family and property disputes within the family. In case of other forms of violence the women have reported the matter to local police and have bee able to bring culprits to justice. The women have campaigned against the police when necessary to take action for example in cases such as rape when the police may be slow to act.

Task Ahead

Many of the DDS supported boys & girls now studying in government hostels and high school will graduate this year. Since all of them belong to extremely poor families the sanghas have to work out a strategy to support their education in college.

Boys forced to work as bonded labour and girls chained to domestic chores are still prevented from going to school. They remain underfed with basic human rights denied. This year a quick survey in 20 villages shows 642 children still out of school. The organisation will reach out to these children.

Support for the Education Programme has been received from :

  • Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development
  • Christian Aid, U.K.
  • EZE, Germany
  • HHE, Netherlands
  • Government of Andhra Pradesh, Department of Social Welfare