Ending the Cycle of Child Labor & Creating a Sustainable Future
India’s rural population approximates around 70% of the total population. Per statistics, the Indian literacy rate grew around 74% in 2011, however, it is well below the world average literacy rate of 84%. India has a dubious distinction of being home to the largest child labor force in the world, a report produced by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions- estimating that there is over 60 million child laborers in India.
Most of the children in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh, as well as in the majority of rural India, have been subjected to the unfair world of child labor. Generation after generation, these children spend their precious time and energy as laborers and are often seen working in factories, construction sites, as tea vendors, in hotels as cleaners, carpet weavers, firecracker units and the list just goes on . Some children are forced to work up to 18 hours a day, often never leaving the confines of the factory or loom sheds for just a mere few hundred rupees. Some children even work as much as 7 days a week. These children (aged 5-17) are forced to support their families instead of attending school, furthering their education, learning skills for their future, and also playing and having fun.
Free Schools~~Empowering Future Generations
Today, Sri Mathrudevi Vishwashanti Ashram (SMVA) Trust proudly runs two schools for local students at Rapur and Gonupalli villages (Andhra Pradesh, India), both the schools hosting around 300+ students each, providing education from classes I to X in both Telugu and English Medium. The trust has provided FREE education to these less privileged children of rural areas since the year 1994. The Trust also provides free stationary, text books, school uniforms and transport facility to the schools.
~~ Power of Education to Permanently Curb Poverty ~~
Social Equality for the Underpriviledged
Deeply concerned with the unique challenges and the indispensable need in the field of rural education, the SMVA Trust has been striving for years to bring free quality education to children. The children were even invited to the Penusila Ashram where education classes were held regularly in an open atmosphere while the vision was undergoing development. It is with this sheer passion and determination of the SMVA Trust volunteers that more and more people have opened their hearts to lend support to the self-less vision of providing free education. As a result, the SMVA Trust Schools have now grown into full-fledged operational schools with sound infrastructure and a dedicated Volunteer Teaching Staff.
Academics provide children with the ability to not only read extensively, but also to engage and participate in the social and cultural life of the communities.Most importantly, education assures people from all social backgrounds have equal opportunity to have their voices heard in any public sphere.
Beyond Academics ~ A Developing Society
Apart from having 100% success rates in their examinations, it is SMVA’s vision that the students also be given value based education. Volunteers from various cities regularly visit these schools and meet and interact with students, enhance their soft-skills and also conduct singing and dancing events, to bring out all the hidden talents in these students. The students are taught to participate in debates and essay writing,to show their skills and at the same time work with confidence. These activities are usually conducted on weekends not only to entertain the students, but also to educate and give them a firm conviction to face any challenge that the future may hold for them.With SMVA’s Philosophy in view, Education should be complete and well rounded, the students learn the traditional practices of yoga and meditation.
All students who graduate from a SMVA School will be eligible to attend one of SMVA's Degree College Programs, and will be assisted financially. At SMVA's College Programs, children will be able to earn degrees and learn valuable skills that they can then bring back to their villages in order to help their extended communities. In this way, the SMVA Schools will allow these children to become a force for transformation in the lives of so many. Today, as 100% of the seniors graduate, a few scoring among the top 5% in India and also are being awarded at the national level. These efforts have tremendously transformed the rural areas and their future lives for the better.
Keeping in view the "World Against Child Labour Day" SMVA Trust emphasizes on quality education for all children, not to just fend for themselves, or engage in a more economically-abundant society, but a society that produces children to explore their talents, supports their abilities, encourages equal opportunities for both girls and boys,teaching them to care about each other and in a diverse society, where everyone can freely participate in everything.