UCD volunteers a beacon of hope for deprived children

Bangalore, March 27, 2013, DHNS:

Vinayak,13, from Davangare ran away from his home and came to the City last year after a tiff with school friends. All alone, he ended up at a tea stall near Majestic working for a pittance.

“I used to get Rs 5-10 per day and did not get proper food to eat,” said Vinayak.
Resigned to a life of drudgery, Vinayak was spotted by Urban Deprived Children (UCD) volunteers and taken to the Chamarajpet centre where he has been receiving care and informal education for the past nine months.

UDCs started under Chinnara Tangudhama Scheme — transit homes for deprived children in urban centres under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) have managed to rehabilitate and send to school nearly 1,688 children in 46 centres across the State according to department figures in 2012-13. These include children who were runaways, child labourers, juvenile  offenders, child beggars or substance addicts.

According to Akshitha, counsellor at the UCD Centre in Bosco Yuvodaya at Chamarajpet, the aim is to train such children so that they are able to get into the mainstream. The period of training may last from three to 12 months. Depending on the age and competency, a separate plan for education is made and imparted.
“A child interested in training and shows signs of progress will be placed in regular schools after completion of training, whereas those with low IQ levels who still need more time to catch up with learning are sent to special schools where they undergo further training,” she added.

Vinayak, who has already been to school before, has shown keen interest in re-learning.

His friend, Eranna, from Belgaum, who has shown great progress during his one year at the centre, will be enrolled in a normal school. Eranna ran away from his home in Belgaum as he had been regularly caught stealing.

Around 20 kids from this UDC centre will be enrolled in regular schools this coming June. Executive Director Fr George P S says support by SSA has been laudable, however, more needs to be done. “The finances have considerably come down from Rs 16 lakh we used to get last year to Rs 10 lakh at present and this has made it difficult to maintain the quality of the centre” he said.

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