Delhi Community school provides free education to underprivileged students
A Delhi-based community school HOPE helps underprivileged children not having access to online education due to the COVID-19 pandemic to learn through mobile classrooms and provide free education to children along with free mid-day meals.
"We started this concept seven years ago. We aim to reach kids in underserved communities," said Marlo Philip, Founder, NGO, Tejas Asia.
Phillip further said, "Through the 'Hope Buses', we aim to go to places especially in an underserved community because we found out they don't have access to go to the schools. We want to take the schools to the students. That is been our dream. We have seen so many lives touched and impacted through this. We also give them a mid-day meal which is cooked in our Hope Kitchen in Tughlaqabad".
Phillip started the concept of taking education onto the wheel seven years ago. The community school has got four buses at the moment which go to eight locations in the capital to teach the students. The starting point of buses is Saket in Delhi. Then the buses go to different locations in Delhi. He has started a project in Gurugram as well.
The children are made to study for two hours and then provided with food. The children are taught basic educational skills like language and basic math skills, said Ebina, who manages the bus.
"After we see that there is some potential in a child, we enroll them on a government school," added Ebina.
One of the students on the mobile bus said, "I used to go to a nearby govt school. Since the schools are closed, I am coming here to study".
One of the student's fathers, who is a rag picker said, "I send my child to study on the bus so that they do a little better in their lives. Our lives can also be better through this. We are just trying to push our children"
Babli, another rag picker, who sends her child to the bus to study said, "we are not educated to make our children learn at home. Now, the bus services have resumed, so we have again started to send our children to the mobile bus".
Ebina, the manager at the bus explained the process by saying, "once we find a needy location where there are kids with no education, we do a survey and we find out how many kids are not going to school and what are the reasons behind it. If we find that there is a need, then we start a bus project in that locality".
On the functioning of the school in the lockdown initiated due to COVID-19, the founder said, "The pandemic was very tough. All the kids were asking when is the school bus going to come because this is their school. We had to wait for the government to permit us".
"Just in the last few days, we have started to go to a couple of locations and kids were happy to jump on the bus. The number of children has increased after COVID. I believe the Hope busses are bringing hope in their lives," added the founder.
"On the bus we provide, slates, colouring pens, and whatever we can in the little space", Marlo added.