Empower through Education
N Madhavan  and  Aditya Govindaraj 15 December 2012

Udaan India Foundation believes in providing equal opportunity through education to children from disadvantaged backgrounds. N Madhavan and Aditya Govindaraj write about how the Foundation is making a difference

Did you know that 37% of global illiterates live in India? According to latest Global Monitoring Report, a whopping 2.3 million Indian children have never been to school. The future of the Indian economy hinges on our young population; most of them are poor and unskilled. They do not get what they deserve—their fundamental right to education; access to quality education remains a dream. Our country has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest school dropout rates and child labour levels in the world! Mumbai is no exception. Mamta Rangan, founder and trustee, Udaan India Foundation (UIF), followed her belief  that ‘education is key to change’ and set up Udaan in 2004 to help children of construction workers to enrol in mainstream schools.

Udaan, a project that started as an informal initiative, is now a registered trust with 800 students, 15 full-time teachers and over 25 volunteers under its wings. Most children who come to Udaan are from families with little or no formal education. Education is not a priority in such families; it is commonplace for children to drop out of school to contribute to the family income. Udaan is sensitive to the fact that the girl child is usually the worst victim of poverty and, often, forced to drop out of school. Hence, UIF pays special attention to the girl child—evident from the girl:boy ratio at their centres.

A child’s journey at UIF begins with the Kindergarten programme and continues through the learning years, steadily taking her/him towards employability and a better life.
Udaan’s learning centre lays the foundation of a child’s holistic development and imparts learning that ranges from the scholastic to the co-scholastic. Beyond this, children are guided, mentored and provided financial support on an equal opportunity basis, to meet his/her true potential. To open the world of books for children and supplement their language skills, UIF runs a community library that implements the ‘GROWBY’ reading programme of the Hippocampus Reading Foundation. Children are taken through a structured programme to become confident and eager readers. Under the guidance of qualified staff, the library brings relevant and meaningful literature within the reach of children who cannot afford to buy books. Udaan also has a computer centre that provides computer literacy to children. Through a defined curriculum, students from the eighth grade onwards undergo training in basic computer skills and learn the use of Internet which will equip them for skilled jobs. Udaan, through its work, hopes to see a perceptible change by way of increased enrolments in schools, decrease in school dropout rates and better job opportunities for the underprivileged. But, beyond that, Udaan aims to groom children to become confident young adults equipped to tackle various challenges in life.

Udaan welcomes volunteers to engage in a range of activities that include teaching, assisting the Saturday Club activities (such as art, music, drama and sports), managing events (like Annual Day, Sports Day), reading at the community library, organising health camps, field trips and fund raising. You can also be a part of a child’s journey by donating to Udaan. Your contributions wouenrld help Udaan-supported children realise their dream and help it reach out to many more children in need of quality education. All contributions to Udaan India Foundation are tax-exempt under Section 80G of the Income Tax Act. Payments can be made by cheque, favouring Udaan India Foundation or by remitting HDFC Bank account no. 02392000004643.

Udaan India Foundation
2202, Odyssey II Hiranandani Gardens, Powai
Mumbai - 400076 Phone: 022- 40000392
Email : [email protected]
Website: http://www.udaanindiafoundation.org

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