Child Care Centers
Children in the slum areas do not possess proper resources to get education. SHARP had established a school for refugees in I-11 area which continued till demolish of the refugees settlement in the year 2005.
SHARP during the partnership with ISCOS forwarded idea of informal education centers for the street children and those involved in labor since early age. Almost all these children are from workers and laborers families who help families by getting into hardships despite willingness to get education. The centers were designed to offer them informal education with the object not to disturb their financial resources.
SHARP, joined hands with ISCOS (Trade Union Institute for Development Co-operation) an Italian NGO, to have a similar opportunity for children in slum area.
Rather roaming aimlessly on the streets or working, they will be encouraged to attend school and besides, basic education, the children are also going to be provided with other healthy activities with the sense of cleanliness by places emphasizes on hygiene.
SHARP and ISCOS launched this project in January 2006, where schools were opened in Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Attock, & Mianwali. SHARP envisages a better and a brighter future for the future generation, as SHARP believes in securing and protecting the upcoming generation as it not only holds their future, but rather the future of the whole Pakistan.
The project is currently working in Shakrial, Mianwali and Attock. These are the backward areas of Punjab and mostly people depend upon labour and agriculture. So we are providing them with the technical vocational education and formal education to children.
It could be rightly said that the Childcare Centers project of SHARP has gained momentum and the response from the community is very positive and encouraging both for the project team and for SHARP. This has been made possible with tough and tireless efforts of the team at SHARP. In the beginning of the project, SHARP highlighted the following fears and risks towards project success and growth:
• Due to increased pressure of poverty, the parents might show hesitation in sending their children to the centers at the initial level.
• In order to achieve results on schedule proper and constant sensitization of parents as well as children.
• Sensitization of stakeholders including the employers of the children with an indirect approach.
However, during the year of implementation SHARP has been able to counter these project risks with effective strategy and hard work. The parents of the children did show hesitation in the beginning however this was dealt with professionalism of the organization and tireless efforts of the Outreach Workers in particular and that of the whole of the project team in general. Therefore appropriate sensitization of the parents and that of the community at large was done, which yielded positive results. SHARP did face a hard time in terms of convincing and negotiating with the employers of the children however with efforts, convincing and motivation by fostering a national spirit of responsibility towards the youth of this country, SHARP has been able to bring about a positive change in the minds of these people. We, at SHARP believe, that more needs to be done in this regard in order to improve this situation and efforts are still being made to involve the community fully in order to create more and more positive supporters of the project thereby working in the overall elimination of Child Labor from the country, which is the overall aim and objective of this project.
All the four project sites are fully functional and are getting a positive response from the community. In the reporting period, steps have been taken to implement the project in all the areas of operations with a professional approach keeping in view the nature of the programme.
In order to cater for gender equality, the centre in Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Mianwali, are focusing on female children. Inasmuch as the technical education is concerned, the centre in Rawalpindi is also catering to impart basic sewing, cutting and embroidery skills to the female children.
The centre in Islamabad is mostly occupied by the children of the nearby brick kiln workers therefore it is stated that the centre in Islamabad is catering not only for the children who are victims of child labor but is also serving as a ray of hope for the people of the community working under bondage as bonded laborers. Hence it is dynamic in a sense that it is helping to eradicate Child Labor as well as Bonded Labor from the society.
According to amendments made in 24th and 25th meeting in LFA the numbers of beneficiaries were decided 500 in which 400 street working children and 100 female domestic laborers will get training till the end of 2008. SHARP trained 430 students till the end of 2007 and near to complete the target till the month of February 2008.
There were some important issues in the year 2007 which were duly addressed by SHARP. Among these issues some are as follows:
• Reasons of fluctuation in students’ attendance.
• Division of students in junior and senior level.
• Difficulties in motivational campaign and techniques of outreach worker.
• Enrollment of female student and maintenance.
Annual prize distribution ceremony at Shakrial and Attock was done to encourage the children. Capacity building workshop was organized for the teachers. A Seminar on child rights and role of society was conducted on 2nd august, 2007. Seminar on violation and abuse with children held was held at Mianwallion10th, Sep, 2007. Training on “awareness of health and hygiene” was conducted on 6th, December, 2007.
SHARP is not only providing formal, informal and technical education but also developed a link with their families through outreach workers visit parents, teachers meeting and other community based programmes. The students of CCC are getting high quality of education and vocational component is also supporting CCC program.