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How HWCT India is spreading the light of education among children at Naigaon near Mumbai

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Children coming from underprivileged families where parents work as domestic help, daily wage workers, contractual labourers and several blue collar jobs are not only getting to study, but are also getting exposure to digital literacy. This is not all, with learning, comes nutritious mid-day meal at their school! All this has been made possible by a non-profit organisation at Naigaon, near Mumbai.
Established in 2014, HWCT India Foundation (Human Welfare Charitable Trust) is a public charitable trust, non-profit, charitable organization working with the primary goal of reaching out to support the weaker economic sections of the society. Accredited with the consultative status from the United Nations Global Compact program, HWCT is working to spread the light of education among underprivileged children in Naigaon, a suburb located in Palghar district of Maharashtra among other projects.
In an exclusive interaction with The CSR Journal, Kalpesh Kabra, Founder & Board Member, HWCT India Foundation talks about their journey of educating the children of blue collar workers at Naigaon near Mumbai. HWCT is operating a school facility for the underserved children at Naigaon, which benefits underprivileged children and communities from rural areas, tribal and migrant labourers.

Background of the students

Talking about their beneficiaries and Naigaon where they operate, Mr Kabra said, “Education is not easy for all children and in Maharashtra many receive little or no education. One of HWCT’s aims is to help make schooling available to as many children as possible, enabling them to fulfil their potential goals and in turn, help their communities to become sustainable.
Kalpesh Kabra, Founder and Board Member, HWCT India Foundation with his students
Naigaon is a distant suburb of Mumbai and is also the most neglected. The place is occupied with 20% native population, 15% tribal people and 65% migrants mostly coming from North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Most of these families are traditional where the women work and the men have blue collar jobs, where the average payment is Rs 8000 to 10000 per month. It’s extremely difficult to bear the expense of big families with this single hand income. Thus education of the children is mostly compromised and most of the children do not even get a chance to see the school during their crucial time.”

Their purpose

“Our centre is providing just the required solution for such children. We are developing links between children and parents in local communities in Naigaon to get these children admitted to our school and continue education. Our ambition is to help forge direct, long-term links between such children and foster to generate opportunities for them and the brighter future,” he added.
The school currently has 105 children along with seven teaching staff and volunteers

About the school

In collaboration with Diviniti schools, HWCT has started this free/low cost school at Naigaon for children studying in classes 1 to 7. Education is imparted following the curriculum of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE). The school currently has 105 children along with seven teaching staff and volunteers.
Shanti Niketan School is one of the three schools, where HWCT works with its volunteers and supporters to ensure that the schools remain operational with quality learning for the children.

Inspiration

Sharing his inspiration behind starting this school, the Founder said, “Our enthusiasm and support for Shanti Niketan School in Chandrapada, Naigaon was initiated by the determined approach we received from the principal Mr. Prem Lal. He invited us to visit the school where he also heads as one of the school faculty. He had established the school for a group of children in the deep slums and in a single room, where he was trying to educate the children from several grades into a single class. We were captivated by his energy and ability to get things done.”

Nutritious food – CSR of Zomato

Working with the local community and with support from various donors, the children are receiving quality education along with nutritious food cooked at the school. Feeding India by Zomato is a not for profit organization, designing interventions to reduce hunger among underserved communities in India, which is supporting them in this cause.
Children get nutritious meal at school everyday
Throwing light on the same, Mr Kabra said, “HWCT is doing its bit to help the underserved children to have nutritious meals with its timely interventions. We have been providing food which includes breakfast and lunch to the children at our centre at Naigaon.  HWCT is serving meals to almost 180 children daily, out of which approximately 72 children have been shortlisted for the food program from the community. The program is supported by Zomato’s Feeding India Program.”
“HWCT in the past has also been the part of mass distribution programs with the support of their mobilizers and social workers which has further extended the support program drives to over 1800 families in Mumbai and Palghar Area. HWCT has taken a step forward by not just providing mid- day meals to combat hunger and deprivation but offers nutritious, tasty and wholesome meals under the Project Poshan keeping in mind the requirements of a growing child,” he further said.

CSR of Sunteck Realty and SGS

Other companies helping HWCT with CSR support include Sunteck Realty which funds their medical camps and Swiss multinational company SGS which has supported for the restoration and repair works of the school building.
Children waiting for their class to begin

Seeking support

Seeking support for further repair work of the school building, the Founder urged, “There is more to be done. There is a requirement of the tiling on the roof and repairs to the dilapidated building to keep it operational during the monsoons. Recently, repairs for eight classrooms were completed with support; HWCT is seeking support to expand the school in order to accommodate additional students.”

Other projects

Apart from running the school, education and skill development amongst children, youth and women are some of the core areas HWCT is focusing upon. With an aim to reduce the existing gap in education, nutrition and other areas, the non-profit organisation is focusing on digital education, nutrition Building and skills development programs, enabling the children to lay their foundation of a progressive future through its 3 variant projects namely ‘Magic Box’, ‘Poshan’ and ‘Kartavya’.
The Magic Box programme aims to educate children with digital knowledge, mobile apps and e-banking in more efficient ways. HWCT presently has 120 students from various age groups registered for digital learning under this flagship project.
Poshan: Nutritional Meals School Programme focuses on creating a conducive food and nutritional model in the schools by building capacities of students in primary grades and impeding the numbers of dropouts in the early stages.
Kartavya: Skills & Livelihood Programme focuses to train youths, women, and low-income groups planning for better income generation.

 

 

 

Ahana Bhattacharya can be reached at ahana@thecsrjournal.in