There are thousands of migrant labor families with their children working at brick kilns across Haryana. In the main, Indian governments do not go out of their way to identify children from poor families that have fallen through the cracks and are not going to school at all so we had to do something to bring this issue in front of the government.
Finding that these families were not actually averse to educating their children, rather, problems like, not being offered any social assistance as migrants living on the edges of traditional Indian villages and not having time and transport to ferry their children to school along dusty roads frequented by huge lorries transporting bricks and quarry material from the area, are the hurdles to education of their children.
We decided to provide buses to transport and ensure access to schools for as many of the children as possible. At first government school teachers and authorities resisted the idea but we made them enroll 400 children in the first year, 2010.
Every year maybe 75% of the children turnover and go back to their villages to stay. Proper implementation of MANREGA in villages of UP State has reduced the numbers of migrants as they can get a job at home and don’t have to bear the many costs of living away from home. Also, we have found that most of the children we enroll continue to attend school in their home villages. A virtuous cycle has begun in the lives of their families.
We enrolled around 250 children over the 2012-13 school year including 24 children of families that and did not migrate back to their home villages for the hot and wet seasons, May to October, rather they remained in school the entire school year.
We are always pressing the government to deliver RTE to all elementary school age children at least and children of brick kilns have a legal right to free and compulsory education but it takes pressure from civil society and NGOs like us to force the issue. We hope a State wide strategy will be implemented by GOH and recently we saw a report that more than 3000 children from brick kilns at Rohtak, are being provided transport but yet to confirm the extent or whether the program has been implemented at all.
If you wish to GET INVOLVED you can visit brick kiln or migrant labor families working in your area and make an assessment and contact us for advice about getting their children into schools.