Bringing Migrant Labourers Children Back to School
Nine-year-old, Sakshi Chauthmal from Jalna district in Maharashtra never got to attend school for the first five years of her life. Her parents used to migrate with the children to sugarcane farms near the Andhra Pradesh border in search of work.
Nine-year-old, Sakshi Chauthmal lives with her parents, Dilip Chauthmal and Alka , and her younger brother, Sangharsh, in Kolegaon village in Bhokardan block of Jalna district. Sakshi never attended school for the first five years of her life as her parents used to migrate in search of work taking the children with them to sugarcane farms near the Andhra Pradesh border
Dilip Chauthmal, Sakshi’s father, applied for a job card in 2010 under the Maharashtra Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MREGS) with the help of the Gram Panchaya
MREGS is one among many of the government social protection schemes with an aim is to address rural poverty by giving a legal guarantee to provide one hundred days of wage employment in a financial year to adult members of a rural household.
Linking vulnerable families to government schemes has proved to be a norm-changing exercise. Education is now being viewed as an asset with families actively demand and availing of the benefits (income security and stability) of such schemes so that their children can return to school.
What does this linkage mean to them? “Security and savings,” says Santosh, holding up his MREGS job card. Being constantly on the move in search of employment had caused frequent breaks in their children’s education, so when the chance to settle down once and for all in Kolegaon came in the form of the MREGS, the Chauthmals grabbed it
Another MREGS beneficiary is Mangalabai Sonane in Dhakephal village in Ghansawangi block of Jalna district. “My family had been on the move for work as long as I can remember. Our eldest child,
Mangala’s oldest daughter, 11-year-old Vaishali, holds up the families’ MREGS card. In February 2013 five adult members of the Sonane family were linked to MREGS The entire family now stays and works permanently in Dhakephal. Both Vaishali and Gauri (not in picture) now attend school regularly
Yadav Gadave (left) a member of a local NGO helped the Sonanes get linked to MREGS. UNICEF, through a network of local NGOs, helps vulnerable families gain vital information about relevant government schemes. It also trains gram sabhas (village assemblies) to help migrant labourers with the job card application process.
Nine-year-old, Sakshi Chauthmal from Jalna district in Maharashtra never got to attend school for the first five years of her life. Her parents used to migrate with the children to sugarcane farms near the Andhra Pradesh border in search of work.
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