Basic education for social and environmental change
New Delhi, India's capital, is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Rivers and underground water sources are contaminated by sewage coming from habitations and local businesses. During the winter season, the air pollution becomes so high that the thick smog results in major air and rail traffic disruptions. Pollution in Delhi is not only degrading the environment, it is also one of the main causes of poor health for the people living in and around the city. Each year, respiratory diseases affect more and more children for whom it has become unsafe to even play outside. In India as a whole, almost 800 million people lack access to basic sanitation; through disease and missed schooling, it is the children who pay the heaviest price for these life conditions. This problem is made especially tragic by the fact that it is the children themselves who, through access to proper education, can hold the key to improved economic and environmental prospects for their society.
Asha (Action for Securing Health for All), which also means hope in Hindi, is a Delhi-based organisation which supports projects empowering children and young people through access to education. In the slum areas of New Delhi, Asha allows children from underprivileged socioeconomic backgrounds to go to school, and makes whole communities aware of the value of education. Asha provides resource centres where poor children have much-needed opportunities to play, read and learn. The organisation also organises public meetings, training sessions and visits by staff and community volunteers to create community-wide awareness of the benefits of education.
In the winter 2016-2017, Slow Motion Projects worked together with Pardarshita, a local partner NGO of Asha, to implement the 25% clause regarding admission of underprivileged children in private schools, according to the Right To Education Act enacted by the Indian parliament in 2009. We believe that it is through these measures, focussing on forward-looking overall social and economic development, that today's children will become tomorrow's agents of change and raise awareness of the importance of individual actions to limit pollution, encourage sustainable growth, and improve the lives of the people of India.
Thanks to your support, we:
- Allowed New Delhi street kids, children of hawkers, rag pickers, and daily wage earners to be admitted to private schools
- Helped the parents of the 3000 children already admitted through Pardarshita's action in offering them tuition and nurturing their children's ambitions
- Supported the children in developing social consciousness and environmental awareness, which radiates to all levels and creates long-term societal value.