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Padampura

"I really like going to night school because I have friends here and I can play."

I am Ganesh
I am 6 years old.

I have to get up early, at 5am. I go to work at the salt lake with my parents. We mine salt all day long. In the evening, when we're done and come home, I attend school. I look forward to that part.

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My everyday life in Padampura.

When my day at the salt lake is over, I go to school with my friends. We play here before class begins. Then we learn to read and write and do arithmetic. We laugh and sing together. It gets dark quickly and we are often tired. But we're together until school gets over. That is beautiful.

What comes after night school?

If it is possible and if the parents allow it, the children can go to the school in Singla. The school in Singla is a boarding school, it accepts the children for 1 year at a time. Here they receive a comprehensive education and care. After a successful year, there is the opportunity to switch to a state school or to do vocational training.

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The night schools in India

What is a night school?

Night schools open around 6 p.m., classes start around 7 p.m. and go on for two hours. It gets dark around this time - hence the name 'night school'. These schools are targeted to children who have to work with their parents during the day to ensure their daily survival. Here, for two hours in the evening, children can simply be children – and learn something.

Despite the hard daily work, the night schools give the children a minimum education, catch-up on basic knowledge, as a prerequisite for a self-determined life. They learn everyday skills, social skills and about self-esteem. The aim is also to curb the existing rural exodus. This is big. Many young people dream of a better life in the cities. This flight often leads to a life in the city slums, without work and without perspective.

Philosophy & Mission statement of the night schools

Night schools are usually located in villages that are far away from other schools. After a busy hard day, regular schools would also not be accessible for these children. Night schools adapt to the living conditions of the families, especially the children. Friends for Hope e. V. and Barefoot College are closely involved in these night schools.

 

There are 108 night schools in this area of India. And over 3,500 children of the poorest of the poor learn there. Each school teaches about 30 children. The schools are co-initiated and supported by the village communities. Friends-for-Hope e. V. and Barefoot College support through management and capacity building. For easily an accessible and worthy education that is close to the everyday life of people and children.

Who attends the nights schools?

The children who are taught here come primarily from families of migrant workers who work as day labourers. For example, they work in salt production or in marble works. As do the children. Or they wander, living on the side of the road or in slums in search of employment. The children often beg, collect rubbish or have to work in other households. They often belong to the lowest caste, that of the 'untouchables'.

 

There is a lack of regular nutrition, clean water and medical care. There is uncertainty and fear. Without appropriate preparation, the children have no chance of attending a state school.

What does a class look like?

The children attend night schools six days a week. There are five groups of different ages and literacy levels. The little ones are around five to eight years old, the older nine to twelve. They learn the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic, but also things like biology – i.e. everyday knowledge, for example about animal health or the importance of clean water. This is practical and tailored to people's needs. In addition to this, Hindi is taught, since many children only speak the regional dialects.

There are many shepherds, so they learn a lot about goats and cattle. What keeps them healthy, how best to feed them. Night schools are not only a place of education, they are also a place of play. Before class, the children play and let off steam.

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