Background and Context:
In developing countries like India, about 80% of the population lives in villages with no or inadequate medical facilities with preference being given for the long term treatment at the premier cancer hospital in Mumbai due to low acceptance of facilities in other places. Patients need to travel from distant home towns and villages, at times accompanied by their young children, and live in low cost accommodations (Dharamshalas) for a long period for treatment. Resultantly, in a large number of cases, the children on treatment and those accompanying their parents who are on treatment are deprived of their elementary or primary education.
V Care Foundation has endeavoured to fill this void by imparting elementary or primary education on an informal platform to these youngsters in the age group of 3-18, so that -
i. they can be gainfully occupied; and
ii. they acquire elementary education skills
V Care started the project about 14 years ago to run an informal school called Hamaari Pathshala at one such Dharamshala. Children under-going treatment or accompanying their parents undergoing treatment come every evening to this school
V Care volunteers teach them basics of mathematics, languages and computer skills through simple and interesting project-based activities along with art, craft and fun activities like dance and music. Simultaneously, awareness is created about nutrition, hygiene and psycho-social issues thereby supplementing the line of treatment
Outcomes/What was learned:
Currently, about 25 to 30 children attend the school every evening. These children are extremely satisfied and happy to participate and learn. Some have got jobs due to the basic learning imbibed here. The parents are happy as the children are in supervised set up and the parents get some time to be on their own.