Integrated Development Program for the Telegu Community in the Slums of Dhaka, Bangladesh  

Project location: BANGLADESH, Dhaka
Project start date: May 2012 - Project end date: December 2012
Project number: 2012-006
Beneficiary: Mani Tese

 

The main objective of the project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, is to safeguard the right to primary education of the children from some of Dhaka's slums, and to offer vocational training and financial support to women and girls from the same community to start income generating activities to improve the socioeconomic conditions of their families, to reduce poverty and the level of discrimination.
In particular, the specific objectives to be achieved are:
• Improve living conditions of 390 children, boys and girls from the slums of Dhaka (120 of whom belonging to the Telegu community) through primary and secondary education
• Ensure the socioeconomic development of 50 women (most of them mothers of the children involved in the project, helping them to start income generating activities
• Raise the awareness of mothers and children on health and sanitation related issues.

These aims will be achieved through the following activities:
1. Primary Education
If it's true that education is at the basis of a nation's growth, it is also true that not all children enjoy the same opportunities of attending school: most of the children living in precarious and disadvantaged conditions do not have any access to primary education. In the slums there are very few government schools, and the existing ones are not capable of dealing with the ever increasing number of children migrating with their families from rural areas. Often school fees and other related costs are too heavy on the tight families' budgets: parents that do not have a stable source of income or don't work everyday often cannot or are not willing to cover these expenses. Children remain thus illiterate and their only alternative is to start work at a very young age in order to help their families.
In order to break this circle of poverty and lack of education MCIWO has been active in its schools in the slums, supplying children with books, didactic material, school uniforms, schoolbags and snacks after school as a nutritional integration, but also to encourage children to attend regularly. Students are also supported financially at their annual exams (3 times a year according to the Bangladeshi school calendar), necessary to move on to the following year.
MCIWO's schools also offer children a pre/after school service in the morning and in the afternoon; the classes are around two hours and a half, five days a week, and the teachers use poems, songs, drawings, plays and traditional games and teaching instruments.
The classes have an average of 20-25 students. MCIWO offers support to the children more in need also after the school time, to ensure they have learnt the basics and in order to reduce the gap with other students. Attending MCIWO's schools over two years the children acquire a good habit to studying and they can later attend regularly public school.
The teachers (2 for each center) are qualified and trained with modern teaching techniques; they meet twice a year to collect comments and to share their experiences on the techniques adopted, in order to identify the most effective to supply an adequate and quality education to the project's beneficiaries. Thanks to these devoted teachers, children can now read and write correctly, they manage to follow the public school curriculum and have carried on with their studies.
All this has been possible also thanks to the awareness raising activity performed by the teachers on the children's parents, both in an initial phase to stress the importance of education, and later while the children attend MCIWO's centres and the public school. Twice a year MCIWO organises meetings during which parents can share information on their children, can discuss about problems encountered and try to solve them in a participated manner. At the end of the year there is a closing ceremony and awards are distributed to all the children.
The intended project will directly benefit 340 children in 4 centres (2 MCIWO's centres in Gabtali and Agargaon, and two rented centres in Mohammadpur and Bhatara), and 50 boys and girls from the Telegu community attending secondary education outside the slum (the children who successfully complete primary school are encouraged and assisted by the teachers to attend secondary schools).

 

Area / Descritption

Classes

Number of children

1.

Telegu settlement near Gabtali bus stop

From kindergarden to 1st standard

60

2.

Telegu settlement near Agargaon orthopaedic hospital

From kindergarden to 1st standard

60

3.

Mohammdpur Slum

From kindergarden to 5th standard

110

4.

Bhatara Slum

From kindergarden to 5th standard

110

 

Sub-total

 

340

5.

Economic support to 50 boys and girls from the Telegu community attending secondary school

 

50

 

Total

 

390

 

2. Income generating activities
The proposed action intends to involve 40 women, mothers of the most vulnerable children attending the centres, by offering them training courses to gain appropriate skills to improve the family income. The courses focus on sewing and on the production of greeting cards (Christmas cards).

 

Description

Beneficiaries

Duration

1

Sewing course

20 per year

4 months

2

Training course for the production of cards

20 per year

3 months

 

All necessary material will be purchased (such as fabric, scissors, paper, etc.), together with the coverage of expenses related to the trainer. Furthermore 10 Telegu women belonging to Self Help Groups (SHGs) previously started by MCIWO will receive a contribution from the project based on their financial capacities, in order to support them in the start of income generating activities such as a drugstore, the sale of clothes and saris, vegetables, batiks, etc. These SHGs implement a real policy of saving and credit, and the sums received will later be refunded to the group, so that they may rotate and benefit other members at an interest rate of 12%. The beneficiaries can thus start earning and better cope with the family expenses.

3. Raising awareness on basic health and personal hygiene
Over time it has emerged the importance of raising awareness among the population, and in particular among women, mothers and the children attending the schools in the slums, on issues related to personal hygiene and basic health in order to improve their living conditions. The courses are offered to 300 women and girls 2 times a year. The participants are divided in 10 groups of 30 people each; the 2 days courses are held by MCIWO's staff together with staff from other NGOs specialised on the subject. The training revolves mainly around the following subjects:
• Awareness and protection from HIV/AIDS
• Personal hygiene and hygiene of other family members
• Nutritious food for mothers and children
• Family planning
• Drinking water and use of latrines
• Keeping the house surroundings clean
• The dangers of the dependence to drugs and alcohol.

Once a week a doctor will take care of giving assistance and medicines to the children attending school and to the members of other groups, making full checkups of the children's health status every four months. MCIWO will supply basic medicines to the families more in need.

As a result of the project's activities, the overall socioeconomic and living conditions of the Telegu community will be improved, together with higher school attendance rates and education levels of the Telegu children. Furthermore also the overall integration of the community into society will be facilitated and sustained. 


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