A couple of years ago, most slum children in Vinay Nagar were school drop-outs. Today, things have changed because of a group of 20 fellow slum dwellers who have motivated them to enroll again in schools.
Now, most of the children of the slums are back in school. The children, all below 15 years, have also prepared street plays, which they perform every week in neighbouring slums to persuade drop-outs to attend schools.
There are more than 120 households in Vinay Nagar with a population of more 1,500 people including 250 children. Most of the residents of the slum are displaced from nearby districts and are from the Banjara community.
They have been living in the slum for the past 30 years. A couple of years ago most of the children left school and started working as daily wage earners along with their parents.
The turn-around came after two social activists, Sapna and Mukesh, working with a not-for-profit organisation Deenbandhu Samajik Sansthan, decided to work in the children.
The duo formed a 'Baal Samuh' amongst the children, who were in school and gave them the responsibility to persuade school drop-outs in the locality to attend school.
“The idea worked and now about 70 percent of the children of the locality are back in school,” said Chhaya, a student of class 8 and the member of the group.
Chhaya, herself had to drop-out of school to help her family and work as a domestic maid, but later joined school. "We teach them and motive them."
"We also used to meet the kid's parents and urge them to send the kid to school. In most of the cases, we succeeded after few days, but still some drop-outs are here and we are working on them," she said.
"I have my dreams now. I want to join police," she added.
"My 12-year-old daughter Maya was school drop-out. The group had convinced us and I enrolled my daughter in the school again. These kids are pride of this locality," said Maya’s mother Bhagwati.
The children’s group have approached the Indore civic authorities and submitted a memorandum for proper civic amenities.
"We have demanded proper electricity supply and clean drinking water supply in the locality and the commissioner had assured us," said Simran, a member of the group.