In India, the number of children who are not in school remains high despite a major improvement in literacy rates during the 1990s. Gender disparities in education persist: far more girls than boys fail to complete primary school. The literacy rate jumped from 52 per cent in 1991 to 65 per cent in 2001. Ninety million females in India are non-literate but 20 per cent of children aged 6 to 14 are still not in school and millions of women remain non-literate despite the spurt in female literacy in the 1990s.
Several problems persist for this cause: issues of ‘social’ distance – arising out of caste, class and gender differences – deny children equal opportunities. Child labour in some parts of the country and resistance to sending girls to school remain as real concerns.
We, therefore, identified children who were school drop outs and those indulged in child labour in and around Chennai in order to provide educational support and assistance to continue their education. Such program for children paved the way for the Bala Vidya project. In this project, school dropouts, children of single parent, and children of the urban poor were supported to complete school education.
The main objective of Bala Vidya project is to provide educational support and holistic development to children who belong to the urban poor.
Initially, Aruwe carried out a base line survey to identify deserving children and they are given supplementary education, counselling, school uniforms, books, stationeries and related assistance to all the children from standard one to twelfth.
Aruwe does concurrent monitoring and evaluation of the project.