School for Migrant Workers Children DiyaGhar Mission with Passion by BITS Pilani Alumnus Saraswathi Padmanabhan
Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December - the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - UDHR. Millions of people who are earning their living, or are looking for paid employment, are not nationals of the State where they reside. Migrant workers often have no protection or safety and are vulnerable to discrimination, poverty, and social and cultural handicaps. Special attention is indeed required to protect migrant workers.
School for Migrant Workers Children DiyaGhar Mission with Passion by BITS Pilani Alumnus Saraswathi Padmanabhan
All persons, regardless of their nationality, race, legal or other status, are entitled to fundamental human rights and basic labor protections, including migrant workers and their families. Migrants are also entitled to certain human rights and protections specifically linked to their vulnerable status. Migrant workers rights include the human right of their children to education. In India, a whopping 100 million migrants work seasonally and circulate between their rural homes and faraway work sites for a part of the year.
It is said that over 3 lakh migrant workers left Bangalore city in June 2020 when the COVID-19 Pandemic strangled the nation at large. With no work and no way to feed themselves, removed from family support, millions had no choice but to defy the lockdown and return to their villages. One after another, they marched, carrying their belongings and children, walking thousands of kilometres, determined to find a way home, highlighted by media capturing the imagination of the world.
DiyaGhar is an NGO with a heart for the migrant community. Long before India’s labourers became a news item because of the national lockdown, DiyaGhar team was working to give this community a leg up through the power of education. DiyaGhar started in 2016 with a vision for all children, irrespective of their economic status, to have access to stimulating and nurturing pre-school education. Their mission was to set up pre-schools and daycare centers for children of migrant workers (specifically those living in blue tent settlements) in the city of Bangalore and expand to other cities in India.
With focus on preschool education, nutrition and community development, until March 2020, DiyaGhar ran 3 Preschool and Day Care centres at Bangalore serving 135 children. DiyaGhar van would pick up the children in the morning from their blue tent communities to impart education. The children learnt English, Kannada and Math using the Montessori Method. They were also given lunch and 2 nutritious snacks before being dropped back in the evenings. So far DiyaGhar has impacted over 400 children and 50 children have graduated and enrolled in Primary schools.
Today, the pandemic has changed the method of delivery - but not Diya Ghar’s heart for this community. For Early Childhood Education, they have started classes in the community itself. They identify and train community champions (young women who live in the community) to teach the children. Team DiyaGhar also records videos for these migrant children to watch in their homes. Each child is provided learning resources which include lap-desks, mats and learning kits so that learning can continue seamlessly.
DiyaGhar is providing nutritional supplements which include milk, eggs and porridge mix for the children in our preschool program and their siblings. For Parent Empowerment, through a curriculum of weekly video sessions, Team DiyaGhar is teaching parenting skills and follows up with calls and community visits. DiyaGhar also partners with other NGOs to connect migrant communities to livelihood projects. For Education of older children DiyaGhar partners with another NGO for implementing their online program for older children in migrant communities.
It is indeed a matter of great pride that Saraswathi Padmanabhan Founder Director of DiyaGhar is a Proud alumnus of institution of eminence Birla Institute of Technology and Science BITS Pilani from where she did a Masters in Finance during 1995 -1999. She did her MBA Accounting at California State University East Bay USA. Team DiyaGhar includes her life partner Shyamal who is also an alumnus of BITS Pilani – BE (Hons) EEE 1995-1999 extending whole hearted support for the mission.
Passionate about investing in the lives of children, Saraswathi embarked on this journey in the beginning of 2016. Driven by a vision to make a difference in educating underprivileged children, she started building DIYAGHAR as an institution faithful to God's calling. A trained Montessori teacher and Counsellor, Saraswathi has a deep understanding of child development. Currently, Diya Ghar serves 150 preschool children and 300 siblings. We are working towards reaching 500 preschool aged children and 800 siblings by March 2021.
In the light of 2020 Theme: Recover Better - Stand Up for Human Rights, to know more details about DiyaGhar and collaborate - contribute for a valuable cause click https://www.diyaghar.org/
Ms Saraswathi Padmanabhan
Diya Ghar (first centre)
63, 2nd Floor, Kalkere Main Road, Horamavu, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Phone +91-6360709332, +91 99450 32484
About BITSAA: BITS Alumni Association (BITSAA) has emerged as one of the strongest alumni networks of any university. BITSAA International engages in charitable and educational activities by raising funds for setting up endowments, creating scholarships, rewarding teaching and research and generally promoting the development of resources at Birla Institute of Technology and Science at Pilani, Dubai, Goa & Hyderabad campuses. BITSAA International also aims to strengthen the ties, friendship and communication amongst former students, alumni faculty and friends of the Institute. BITSAA International provides a number of channels for people to stay connected with each other and with Birla Institute of Technology & Science. Notable other alumni initiatives for BITS Pilani include Prof SSR Memorial Teaching Excellence Award, multi crore Pilani AtmaNirbhar Resource Centre PARC by 75-80 batch alumni, Prashant Anuradha Palakurthi Research Endowment and many more. For more on BITSAA see https://www.bitsaa.org/
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