HANNAH & AMELIA'S
Baljeet Nagar, India
Baljeet Nagar is an extremely deprived area of West Delhi, commonly described as Delhi’s largest slum. The slums of Delhi are home to about one million people, almost all of whom live in conditions of extreme poverty and deprivation. Many of its residents have left extreme poverty in other parts of India and travelled to Delhi, where they are struggling to survive. Baljeet Nagar itself has a population of approximately 100,000. According to a report from the Human Rights Law Network of India, approximately 80% of the people living in Baljeet Nagar are Dalits(also known as untouchables) and the area is gravely underserved in terms of health facilities and sewage systems. In 2011 it was the site of forced evictions and illegal demolitions connected with attempts to beautify Delhi by demolishing its worst slums.
India has one of the highest rates of illiteracy in the world; it is estimated that approximately 25% of its population are illiterate. Rates of illiteracy are much higher in slums. A 2009 study prepared for UNESCO reported that only about half of children living in Delhi’s slums attended school. A slum survey cited in that report found that the cost of schooling was one of the major obstacles in the retention and completion of schooling for slum children. Although, government schools are free, their standard of education is inconsistent and they are commonly regarded as second-rate. Furthermore, many families depend on their children's labour to provide money needed for the family to survive; children as young as two years old are working for a few rupees a day so their families can have food and shelter.
To fulfill its charitable purpose of advancing education for children in Baljeet Nagar, HAAF plans to build and operate an elementary school (the HAAF school) which will serve approximately 200 pupils. All those pupils will receive free education, accessible on a first-come first-serve basis to local children living in poverty.The HAAF School, which will be named “Hannah and Amelia’s Angels Foundation School”, will provide children with a basic education which would enable them to gain entry into government operated secondary schools and colleges. HAAF will work with a local intermediary to build the HAAF School, and will hire staff of a local educational charity to provide instruction.
The Founder of HAAF, Dina Basi, travelled to Delhi in February 2016 and visited Baljeet Nagar. She visited and volunteered with an Indian not-for-profit society called Thriveseed. Thriveseed provides free basic education for children in Baljeet Nagar. Its founder is a Social Worker and teacher from Nepal, Ms. Sonu Kaur, who began teaching children in her home in 2003. Thriveseed was incorporporated as a society in 2015.
Some of the children taught by Sonu Kaur and Thriveseed have graduated from high school and enrolled in college. Most of the teachers hired by Thriveseed are former Thriveseed pupils who now wish to help their community by providing education. One of the reasons Thriveseed has been successful in educating slum children is that it offers its classes in the afternoon, after many of the children have completed a full day of work. With very limited resources, Thriveseed provides its classes in three rented rooms. The rooms are very small, so only about 30 children can attend at a time. Because they are in different parts of Baljeet Nagar, school resources cannot be used as efficiently as they would be if the classes were in one building.
HAAF plans to build a school big enough to accommodate classes for approximately 200 pupils. Students now enrolled in Thriveseed’s classes would attend classes in the new building, and HAAF would engage Thriveseed (or, if appropriate, another local charity) to provide instruction to the pupils.
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