DIKSHA A PROGRAM INITIATED BY THE RCDSSS IN 2012 AIMS TO PROVIDE PRIVATE EDUCATION TO VULNERABLE CHILDREN WHO HAVE BEEN BORN INTO A LIFE OF TRAUMA, WHETHER IT BE THROUGH ECONOMIC SUFFERING, DISCRIMINATION & STIGMATIZATION, MARGINALIZATION, FAMILY LOSS, DISEASE OR DISABILITY.
Why private education? Although government education is free for all, it’s ability to promote educational equality & successful literacy development is a systematic failure. Over 100 million children in India are two or more years behind their recommended literacy level, in some cases children as old as 13 have been attending school for 4-5 years are still unable to read. Private education ensures that even those children who are falling behind are catered for, equality is essential & discrimination ceases to exist.
EDUCATION DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
Diksha means receiving education as a gift. Diksha is a program based on individual sponsorship and was initiated by the RCDSSS in November 2012 with our full time German volunteer. It started with 18 kids in order to provide quality education to the most needy and vulnerable children. Nearly 400 children have been benefitted so far from the project.
Amongst all this turmoil are the children. Once children fall prey to poverty it is very hard to rescue them. THE SOLUTION IS EDUCATION.
To be deemed eligible for sponsorship one or more life-changing factors must be present in the child’s life & preventing the child’s development. These factors include:
- Orphan, single parented
- Socially excluded (lowest castes)
- Economically backward or below poverty line
- Disability, illness of the child or a family member
- HIV – positive
- Child's willingness & capacity to learn.
“I came in contact with a broken hot wire fallen from an electric pole and suffered a severe injury. My wife left me leaving two girl-children to my care. My elder girl is physically challenged. Quality education for my children has been my dream. I had lost all my hope, but today I’m a happy dad because my kids are in a private school through the support of diksha”
HOW WE IDENTIFY OUR CHILDREN
Our organization RCDSSS conducts a multitude of different programs in rural districts of Rajasthan; Ajmer & Barmer. Our development officers of the other projects are working with villagers on a daily basis and meet the families of all socio-economic status. When they meet a family that falls into diksha’s eligibility criteria they contact the diksha team, who then will meet the child/ family & document the case. After verifying the facts the child will then be placed in the waiting list until a sponsor is found.
No retirement for this grandfather as he has to work hard to provide basic education to 4 grandchildren who lost their father and whose mother who is psychologically disturbed at the loss of her husband…
OUR FIRST ENCOUNTER
In most cases the first contact with a child is made during the assessment of the child. The child is accompanied by a parent, relative or neighbor and often the child’s caretaker has no understanding of the importance of education. The first half of the meeting is nearly always based around the diksha team trying to break down the culture barrier and persuade the family that education is more beneficial than work or marriage. Once this has been accomplished other issues begin to arise:
- Travel - Living more than 3 kms away can pose many risks for vulnerable young children.
- Caste - Although legislatively banned in Rajasthan, casteism is still deeply rooted and existing in rural culture.
- Trust - Many families do not trust the diksha team and believe that after 12 months diksha will stop providing for their child.
- Jealous family members
The children are often in a state of shock sitting in a room with all eyes fixed on them and a loving German lady assessing them is not something they have ever experienced, and they are shy and nervous. On initial contact the child’s reading skill is tested. For the children that have attended government schools their reading ability is often very low and they will have to re-sit those same years when they begin private school.
WHAT PRIVATE EDUCATION DOES FOR THE CHILD:
- Lifts them off the ground
- Gives them opportunity
- Provides hope
- Ends generations of family suffering
- Gives children confidence & promotes equality & status
- Ensures that there will be one less person in the next national poverty survey
IN SOME SPECIAL CASES THE CHILD NEEDS TO GET ADMITTED IN A HOSTEL WHICH
- Keeps the child sheltered from the problems at home
- Protects the child from abuse & neglect
- Assists growth & development through compassion, care, love & support
- Provides supportive services such as counseling, homework supervision and other ones as per need.
HOW DO WE USE THE DIKSHA DONATIONS?
- High quality school education
- College / university
- Tuition classes in some cases
- Books and uniforms
- Surgeries, hospitalization and medicines for children and family members in severe cases
- Regular medical check-ups by specialists for HIV-positive and other needy children
- Nurse for HIV orphanage
3. FURTHER SUPPORT
- Basic groceries
- Necessary clothes
- Construction of sanitary facilities and home repairs
- Provision of safe water supply