Recognizing education as the key driver of societal change and as this was a primary need articulated by the communities Krupa serves, Krupa established various projects to address this need.
In certain communities such as leprosy patients, gypsies, children of bonded labour etc, the children had little or no access to education and lacked appropriate role models to emulate. Such kids needed a safe secure nurturing ambience not available in their own communities. Initially Krupa placed such children in sympathetic residential institutions which offered free education , food and shelter. Over 1000 have completed school and gone onto gainful employment. Some with the right aspirations and aptitude have been helped to study further and are now nurses, physiotherapists, engineers, technicians and more.
Krupa also started a home for children of gypsies in 1997,as their life style and behavior was unacceptable in regular schools. Later, the home also sheltered children redscued from bonded labor, orphaned children and other such kids from the communities Krupa serves. About 50 kids now live in the one acre campus in two cottages with bunk beds in their dorms, adequate play areas, a separate dining area and kitchen. So far over 200 kids have passed through the Children’s home to become responsible self reliant adults.
Gypsies are communities at the lowest end of the social ladder, Krupa runs Day Care Centres at various Narikoravar (Gypsy) Colonies in and around Chennai for them. This community has no knowledge of personal or community hygiene, bathes rarely, lives in dirty and filthy colonies without protected water supply, sanitation, streets, lighting etc.. Children are part time wage earners collecting metal scrap using a magnetised hoop that they run across the roads. The community, including children, forages for food leftovers in restaurant refuse bins.
Though the parents, after much persuasion, agree to let children attend schools, schools refuse admission because of the lack of personal hygiene and basic social mores. Krupa’s Day Care Centres were established to be wean the children away from foraging in refuse bins and to provide them training in personal and community hygiene, social mores and the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic to get them ready for schools. The centres provide a hot meal to the children and mothers of the community. Change has been slow in coming and after overo 20 years of work, many children now attend school and two have even completed undergraduate courses in Chennai.
A survey of rural communities threw up an unusual need. Predominantly inhabited by illiterate daily wage earners, most are underemployed as they lack skills and work as casual construction labour. Desiring a better future, their children are sent to school, but drop out after grade 5 as parental tutorial support is not available for these first generation school goers leading to their entering into the vicious cycle of illiteracy, under employment and poverty.
Krupa set up education in these communities using educated local youth and adults as part time teachers, to help these children with their homework and to clarify doubts. Starting first at a community near Padappai, this program was very successful and has now been extended to 25 centres in communities Tiruvellore, Kanchipuram, Madurai and Sivagangai districts.
Rural young people find that school education is inadequate for a job. Higher education is beyond everyone’s reach. Krupa initiated an alternative, cost effective vocation based option that helped such people earn a short term university diploma which increased their employability by adding spoken English , Computer usage and life coping skills to their vocation based studies. The students need to pay only for their examination fees and their books which is a small fraction of what a year’s college education would cost. As even this was not meeting need of the community, Krupa’s Rural Training Institute offers short term courses in tailoring, retail shop management and e-billing, beauty care etc.
Portrait Mode, Please.