Don Bosco Child labour Mission Davangere is engaged in the rehabilitation and education of child labourers and school dropouts.
1. Special school for Child labourers and Street Children
Every year, Don Bosco Child Labour Mission Davangere readmits more than 150 child labourers to the mainstream school after the rehabilitation programme through the residential bridge course which lasts one year. We have two centers for this purpose of which one centre is for the education of the girl child. We have children mostly from the agricultural sector. As soon as a child arrives in our centre, a case study is made and a detailed file is maintained. After a test, he or she is admitted to a class according to his or her aptitude and intelligence. We have also been able to admit more than 50 street children to our special schools. With constant follow-up and assigning of special staff, we have been successful in retaining this group.
2. Awareness Programmes
Awareness programmes, rallies with an aim at awareness-building among the people regarding child issues. Training is given to the different sections of the community from where child labourers are identified. We believe that to a great extent, the society itself should take responsibility for the problem of child labour.
3. School Adoption
Adopting Government schools has been a project of DBCLM for the past years. We have found it effective in preventing child labour and school dropouts in the particular area or the village in which the school is situated. We have adopted two schools – one in a slum area called “Hosa Camp” and another in a very poor backward village called Alurhatty and also a residential government school about 50 kms from the centre at Davangere.
In these government schools a teacher is appointed by DBCLM to be a link between the child, school, village and the organization. Visits to the homes of the children, meeting with the School Development Monitoring Committee and working with the teachers in the school to make learning attractive for children has reduced the number of drop outs and increased the attendance of the children.
We can say that we now have about 98% attendance in the schools due to this programme.
4. Supplementary Education Programme
DBCLM caters to more than 500 school going children in 10 centres through tuition programmes as a preventive measure to reduce school dropouts and child labour. We aim to improve the learning ability of the students, improve their performance in the school and thus encourage the poor students who cannot afford private tuition. The children will get an opportunity to study their lessons and do their ‘homework’ here. The appointed teacher also acts as a liaison between the child, the parents and the community.
The parents are given sensitization and awareness regarding the importance of education at the beginning of the programme and they help by ensuring that their children are regular to the tuition classes in the evening. The community is given awareness through the youth groups and the Gram Panchayat members. The youth help by visiting houses and following up the children.
5. Higher Education
In May 2006, there were 15 students who passed their SSLC (Class X) Examinations. All of them were supported to continue their education. 14 of them are doing their Pre University Course, while one is doing technical training (ITI). This year, few students have finished their Pre University Course and have gone on to do their graduation, Diploma in Education (2 students) and Nursing. There will be 45 students who would finish their Class X in May 2007.
6. Follow Up
The responsibility of Don Bosco Child Labour Mission does not end with the mere preparation of the child labourers and their readmission at the end of the rehabilitation programme. Don Bosco Child Labour Mission has readmitted more than 1200 children to mainstream education. We need to be constantly in touch with the children, support them, and follow up their on going education.The Director and the other social workers follow up the children who are admitted to the mainstream schools. These children are visited in their schools, hostels and homes periodically to assess their well-being and the progress in their studies.