Across India, approximately 139 million people migrate from their villages in remote rural areas every year in search of labor, uprooting entire families for up to eight months at a time in hazardous work sites like salt pans, brick kilns, and sugar plantations. All too often, children are forced to migrate with their parents, leaving behind their schools, friends, and communities. Many migrant children, due in part to a lack of education of their parents, never enter school at all.
For those who do, migration often results in these children dropping out of school at a very young age and forcing them into work in areas that lack access to basic services like education and healthcare, and where nutritional, health, and hygiene standards are extremely poor. Children who are lucky enough to be enrolled in schools are pulled out of class in the middle of the school year when migration season begins. When they return home months later, they are drastically behind grade level and must repeat the same grade. This educational gap continues to grow wider as the child struggles to learn — contributing to India’s dropout epidemic.