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Surat slumchildren back ‘home’ on the streets

Over 750 rescued child labourers,rag pickers and destitutes,studying in schools run by non-governmental organisations under the National Child Labour Project,will soon be on the streets again.

Written by Kamran Sulaimani | Vadodara |
February 26, 2009 1:31:51 am

As Central fund dries up,NGO closes down 15 schools with over 750 kids

Over 750 rescued child labourers,rag pickers and destitutes,studying in schools run by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP),will soon be on the streets again.

Without monetary support from the Centre in the form of grants for almost a year,one of the NGOs under the project,Pratham,has closed down around 15 schools in Surat. The NGO runs about 34 schools in three districts viz Ahmedabad,Rajkot and Surat,under the project. This has left children with no option but to do what they did earlier— rag picking,begging and the like.

“We had a tough time paying staff salaries,rent for the school building and other recurring expenses without government funds. That is why over the last one month,we had to shutdown 15 schools. These children now have no option but to take up jobs they did earlier. They will be back on the streets again. Parents will send them to work,” said Chandrashekhar Deshmukh of Pratham. He said it is all due to a lack of sensitivity and careless approach by the government. “The government did not release funds even after we sent them all documents pertaining to the expenses and requirements.” Deshmukh added.

The Secretary,Labour and Employment Department in New Delhi,could not be contacted .

According to the survey done by Pratham in 2006 of the 4,500 households in the slums of Surat,there were around 3,500 child labourers. They were

either working in establishments or as domestic helps or rag pickers.

The NGO runs 15 schools in Surat,with around 50 children per school.

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