India Scholarship Project
Our third project was stirred by the harsh conditions of children living in the slums of Mumbai. The educational resources and means of those children were funded by the “the difference is a pen” campaign.
India is considered one of the highest countries with educational deficiencies, comprising of a large number of illiterate people and constituting 35% of the world’s total illiteracy. The lack of educational resources results from the large population of people in India and the poor economic conditions forming the country.
According to a study conducted by UNESCO foundation on the life conditions and its implications on the education of the poor, the fragile shelter structures and overcrowding in the slums were noise pollution is at a high rate, all constitutes to a non-too supportive environment for education. People who live in the slums are subject to constant movement when their living quarters are being broken down. Therefore, constant movement from one place to another, leads to lack of attendance and or dropping out of school. Other life circumstances that prevent children from attending schools are health conditions.
Due to poverty, children are malnourished and physically unable to attend classes.
On the other hand, The National Sample Survey in 2004/05 showed that the most cited reason for never-attended school among 5 to 14 year-old children is “education is not considered as necessary” at national level. While parental perception is a dominant reason for never-attended in India as a whole, the cost of education is an obstacle to attending school in slum areas, followed by parental understanding for age for admission and for importance of education.
Another main reason for the decline in education in Mumbai, is the fact that Mumbai attracts a variety of people from different regions in India. People from different regions have different mother tongues; the already poor population is linguistically diverse. A typical school in India uses eight or more different languages which requires trained teachers and this takes up tremendous amount of financing and planning of which are unavailable for the most part. Consequently the latter obstacles constitutes the absence of adequate schools in the slum areas for children to attend.
NEST team visited India on an exploration trip in 2014 to study the conditions of Children in the slums of Mumbai and construct a project to fund the education of the needy. Subsequent to their return the “Indian Scholarship project” was launched with its aim to sponsor the education of 1,000 child. The project was funded by the “the difference is a pen campaign”.