Giving Tuesday is a wonderful day to give generously to AID. Your gift will be matched with invaluable commitment at the last mile, making it possible to break through seemingly intractable barriers to ensure people get a fair chance.
Consider the children of the Agariya community. From October to May, their families harvest salt in the Little Rann of Kutch, a desert in Gujarat. Though the Agariyas have lived and worked there for centuries, they have not had access to basic services such as water supply, electricty, health or education.
Continuity of education is difficult for any seasonal migrant family. Here moreover, in the monsoon months, this land itself turns into a lake. So where would one even build a school?
Since 2008-09, thanks to your support and an initiative by AID partner Janpath, the children have been attending classes in the desert, first in makeshift tents, and eventually in a mobile classroom made of a converted bus fitted with solar panels to harvest the desert sunshine. The community has convinced the government to replicate this model, called a Rann Shala or Desert School and also provide mid-day meals.
Today 26 Rann Shalas serve 850 children up to 5th standard. Janpath continues to provide engaging curriculum including digital learning modules, and trains teachers and facilitators. This collaboration over 15 years has helped ensure not only right to education for the Agariya children, but that school is a place where children feel welcome and the process of learning is joyful and enriching. Older children have started getting admission to residential schools in Surendranagar and Patan districts.
The journey of the Agariyas in securing rights to education and eventually to land and livelihood against all odds has been nothing short of incredible.
For a more comprehensive look at Janpath’s work please read:
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