Better together: Education for all the family
From the slums of Madurai to the hillside villages of Kodaikanal, Dalit and Tribal children are proudly teaching their parents how to write their own names in a remarkable new UnionAID project.
A total of 237 boys and girls have enrolled in evening classes at six education centres established by the Tamil Nadu Labour Union (TNLU) and generously funded by the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI).
These children, whose parents belong to unions and cooperatives already established by UnionAID, often face a lack of resources at school and discrimination due to their caste.
The children are not only learning to read and write; they are drawing, writing poetry and stories, and taking trips to learn about the environment.
With indebtedness high in many of the households, the parents and children are also encouraged to make regular savings.
Parents have established credit unions while the children are each saving 10 Rupees a month.
Like all TNLU projects, this initiative has an inclusive approach, which starts from community needs. Feedback has been positive: no children have dropped out of school and the children themselves said they enjoyed attending classes.
Both children and parents are interested in higher education, which for many of these families means sacrificing an extra household income.