Unnati Sansthan believes that a good education is vital in ending the vicious cycle of poverty, and education has been Unnati’s principal focus since 2008. The early childhood years (0-6 years) are globally acknowledged to be the most critical years for lifelong development and many neuroscience research confirm that 90% of brain development takes place during this period. This is the period when several cognitive, social and psychomotor competencies are developed, which significantly contribute to learning in schools and later success in life.
In collaboration with UNICEF, Unnati undertook a survey in 2008-09 in eight Panchayats across Girwa, Sarada and Kherwara Blocks. This survey found that only 59% of children aged 6-14 were attending schools. Most children were dropping out early in order to enter child labour, get married or assist in household chores. Furthermore, the 2001 national census showed that literacy rates in the region were just 57%.
Since then, Unnati has undertaken a range of activities that invest in the capacities of local communities and create an education-friendly environment. The overall goal is to build a social structure that is able to support children, parents and teachers in order to make the existing education system work effectively. Unnati’s intervention and activities to promote pre-school and school education include the following:
- Capacity building of Front-line workers i.e. AWW, ASHA
- Encouraging Caregivers to create a learning environment at home
- Empowering School Management Committees
- Creating Child-Friendly Schools with the help of Child Cabinets
- Escorting Children in Difficult Areas