|NGOs >> REAP- FOOTPATH UNIVERSITY!|
REAP (Reach Education Action Programme)
Strange but true! Studying on the footpath! No roofs, no walls, no benches! A lamp post to hang charts, curious on-lookers, dirt all over, 25-30 children and an enthusiastic teacher complete the class!! 300 such classes span the length and breadth of Mumbai city, the suburbs and surrounding tribal areas upto Nashik. This makes up our Footpath University!! More than 7000 learners, from children to adults on its rolls and the number keep growing.
Aim: taking education to the marginalisied. The motto: Education on footpaths, creating new paths......."
REAP (Reach Education Action Programme) - a mini 'literacy movement' covering every street, pavement, slum, hilltop, tribal village to bring about social transformation. Its integrated approach involves alternative and innovative pedagogies such as of literacy, community development, capacity-building and networking with the Government system; each interrelated and geared to total development.
This non-formal (NFE), non-institutional education programme is designed to reach every out-of-school child, an attempt to wean them child labour and prevent others from falling into it. REAP believes that the place of a child is in school, not in work-places. A two-year NFE programme (65 centres) prepares the working child to enter Std V. Every year about 125-150 working children are mainstreamed into formal education. Prevention of potential child-laborers is done through a network of pre-schools/balwadis (240 centres). About 2000 children are enrolled in the Std I every year. Teaching them to fish is REAPs philosophy. For slum children in Municipal Schools support classes are conducted to prevent drop-outs.
Community development aims at a transformational, enlightened and aware leadership. Womens empowerment focuses on women as independent decision makers, economically and socially self-reliant. Womens potential for social change begins with adult literacy (leading in turn to education of the family), awareness programmes, ranging from leadership skills, personality development, legal awareness, government schemes, health, sex education, gender and population issues, AIDS awareness. Income generating programmes and Self-Help Groups (SHG's) are an integral part.
Our Capacity Building Department supports the large literacy and community development programmes. Four Teacher Training centres (six months Balwadi Teacher Training course) and one six month Para Professional Diploma Course trains and prepares balwadi teachers and grassroots community workers.
Apart from this, 15 skill training centres offer drop-out girls short-term courses in tailoring, beautician, fashion designing and even computers for self-employment.
No matter how much a private organization does, it still remains a drop in the ocean with regard to any educational or developmental issue. At best, it can create islands of excellence. Working with government is essential for ensuring quality delivery of services. REAP networks with the municipal school system focusing on education enhancement, all-round development, prevention of drop-outs, and motivation of parents.
Beyond footpaths, creating new paths. REAP started its first primary school last year for children of rap-pickers in the dumping grounds of Kalyan. This has been a challenge to create an oasis of learning in the midst of filth and squalor and give these children a chance at life again. The second primary school was started this year for slum children on the hills in Kalwa (East). These primary schools are a focal point for community development.
REAP's literacy movement today cover the length and breadth of Mumbai city and surrounding tribal areas upto
Trevor Miranda SJ
St. Xaviers Institute of Education,
Tel. 22075761 email email@example.com