The situation is particularly acute for girls who are married young or confined to domestic work. Many follow their mothers into the extremely noxious work of bidi-rolling (making Indian cigarettes). The children are often unhealthy and poorly fed.
By focusing on education this project engages the whole community. The emphasis is on changing attitudes and habits, so that children are encouraged to complete their education. Child Resource Centres educate, train and empower teachers, government officers, local leaders, youth leaders and parents who then organise village activities. There are also activity groups for children including ‘Child Parliaments’ which help to build the children’s confidence.
As well as setting up village education committees and parent-teacher associations this project has gained local government support. Empowering and educating children helps them become confident, informed and self-reliant and gives them a chance to break the cycle of poverty.