February 25, 2019, New Delhi:
Social visionaries from different parts of India came together to brainstorm on education of migrant children at a National Consultation organized by the American India Foundation (AIF) and supported by Tarsadia Foundation-USA. AIF’s Learning and Migration Program (LAMP) is working to ensure safe access to quality education for children at-risk of migration in some of the poorest, remotest regions of India. Forced to migrate with their parents to hazardous sites such as saltpans, brick kilns, construction sites, and sugar plantations, migrant children end updropping out of schooland breaking ties with friends and communities. Many migrant children are often engaged in child labor and are at risk of abuse at these work sites.
The National Consultation, attended by representatives of institutions, NGOs, and Government officials, provided an opportunity to understand the context of rural migration, discuss strategies for education of migrant children, and also share evidence-based best practices. Professor Shantha Sinha, Padma Shri recipient and first Chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)delivered the Keynote Address. She said “Micro-stories and experiences from AIF’s LAMP are a mine of data for those in policy making. There are transformational changes that occur when migrant children are in school and not in labor workforce participation.”
Setting the context for the dialogue was Professor Amitabh Kundu who shared insights into the latest trends in migration, based on the latest data available according to the Index of Urban Concentration. “Overall migrating population to big cities is declining”, he said, “and so one has to redesign strategies for the education of migrant children.”
The consultation was also attended by representatives of Lokadrusti, Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (India), St. Xaviers’ Non-Formal Education Society, Swadeep Shikshan Vikas Sanstha, Swapath Trust, Unnati, Cohesion Foundation Trust, Lokmitra, Prayas, Samerth Charitable Trust, IGIDR, NIEPA , Mobile Creches, International Justice Mission, Government of Odisha, Aga Khan Foundation, and Agrasar.
Since its inception in 2004, LAMP has provided quality education to 468,502 children affected by seasonal migration in 1,873 villages across 12 states in India. LAMP has also trained more than 100,000 community members on various aspects of the RTE Act.