School going children living in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh lead very difficult lives, especially if they come from impoverished families. In the target areas where RRHEDS works, the parents of these children earn only meagre income and they are mostly working as day laborers, rickshaw pullers, masonry workers, limestone quarry workers and house cleaners. However there exist many more professions where our target population is employed and where they are earning insufficient income.
Because of their parents having a low income, the children’s lives suffer immensely. They are unable to eat nutritious meals throughout the day and in many serious cases, they are discontinuing their education because their parents cannot afford it. In these cases, they are either idle at home, accompanying their parents for labour work or they are engaging in harmful and anti-social activities. All these problems cannot be solved at once in a big country like India, but it is useful in that regard to take small steps to help address this problem of children’s education in India.
Justification for proposal:
This brings us to the focus of this proposal which is the provision of bicycles to children coming from impoverished families. This proposal has the children’s welfare in mind because we want to make their school-going experience as pleasant as possible. In many cases the distance between the school and the village is too much. The children are spending a major portion of the day in travelling and by the time they get to school they are tired, both mentally and physically. As a result, they doze off in class or their attention span in class is severely affected. Due to the persistence of this continuous feeling of stress they are steadily dropping out of their schools and this applies for the primary and high schools and the intermediate students.
One of the ways in which we can support these children is with the provision of bicycles to those children that are living very far away from the school. The goal of this activity is to only focus on these children, and to focus on those children more that are coming from poor backgrounds; those that are unable to afford a bicycle in the first place. The provision of bicycles will serve as a motivation for the children to go to school on time and most importantly they will save a lot of their energy. The time and energy they previously spent on commuting back and forth can instead be used to pay attention in class. They will also have time for their after-school tuition. Additionally, at the end of the day they won’t feel as fatigued as they used to before when they had no bicycles.
The provision of bicycles is more important for the youths that are enrolled in higher educational institutions such as studying in different intermediate courses. These students are at a critical stage of their studies where they are consolidating their knowledge and learning more advanced topics in their fields which will eventually help them in finding suitable employment. They have already invested so much time and effort into their education that if they stopped now, it would be a truly distressing situation for themselves and their families. However, this is becoming likely for those children that are facing extreme difficulty in commuting to the higher educational institutions. Due to the great distances between their institutions and houses, they are unwilling to continue their studies. The daily commute is taking a toll on their mental well being. Considering these crucial facts it is important to provide them with bicycles so that they can continue their education till the very end and not stop mid-way.
The focus of this project is “Education” and the primary target group are children in the 6-18 age groups. The focus is education because the provision of bicycles contributes extensively towards supporting the education of children. Once they have bicycles they are able to commute to school easily and study over there with ease.
To a small extent this project works towards reducing the likelihood of youth unemployment in India. When the children start attending all their classes on time and prevent the occurrence of drop outs then there is a higher possibility that they will not remain idle once they are done with their studies. A continuous education will motivate them to pursue their higher studies and eventually apply for a job in a field of their interest. This way the influence of detrimental activities stays away from them and they progress in life with a positive state of mind.
The main objective of this project is to provide bicycles to children in the 6-18 age group and they form the main target group for this activity. We are only focusing on bicycles because there is a serious need for this component, especially in the rural areas of Andhra Pradesh. RRHEDS has experience in providing supportive assistance to children in terms of providing them with school-going material and paying for their after-school tuition fees. We have done sensitization campaigns that highlight these aspects thoroughly. Additionally, in previous years we have supported some children with bicycles. However, the need for bicycles is increasing especially in the rural areas where the children are living far away from their schools.
The secondary objective here is to ease the financial burden of the parents of these children. The parents are unable to afford bicycles which can at times be very costly. On their meagre income they are barely able to fend for themselves and their families. Considering this it is important to motivate the children by providing them with bicycles, so that they can continue their studies uninterrupted.
Main strategies and activities:
RRHEDS purchase committee will call for quotations and then make the right decision based on the cost-benefit ratio. RRHEDS already knows a bicycle dealer and the organization has worked with him for many years now. We can rest assured that we will be able to procure the best quality of bicycles that are both affordable and durable. After the order has been given for the bicycles, the wholesaler will procure the desired number of bicycles within a period of one or two months. Later these will be distributed to those areas where the necessary children have been identified. Only those children will be supported who are housed far away from their school.
The main outcome will be that the children will be able to commute to their schools with ease. They will no longer spend hours only for travelling purposes. With bicycles, they will reach school faster. Another effect to consider is that the children will be able to maintain good health. As is well known, cycling is one of the most beneficial exercises that is good for the human body. It is a good cardie related exercise. Hence after the children start using these bicycles, their health will be maintained because they will be travelling back and forth daily. If they are maintaining themselves well physically then they can also focus more on their work. The key here is the proper coordination between mind and body. Presently, all their energy is being spent in travelling long distances on foot or waiting for buses that arrive at odd hours of the morning and leave late at night.
The school drop-out rates will decrease because the children will start attending their classes on time. As attendance to the school increases, the reputation of the school will become better. When children start attending all their classes on time and are able to save energy for their classes, then naturally their performance in these classes will also be better and they will get high marks in their examinations. This will give them a sense of satisfaction and it will be an immense source of joy for their parents.
The area coordinator will be responsible for all aspects of this project. He/she will have to identify the children who are most in need of bicycles. Moreover, they will have to work in liaison with the head office and purchase committee to procure the necessary bicycles that are required for the progress of this project. They are also required to hold weekly meetings to discuss the action plan for the coming week and detailing the exact actions that will be taking place in relation to which target villages of RRHEDS are a priority and where the supply of bicycles must go first. They will send monthly updates to the head office in regard to the progress made or obstacles encountered. The head office staffs such as the director, projects head and project coordinator are responsible for sending the reports to the donors on time where the progress made on the supply of bicycles will be highlighted.
In this case the area coordinator and the different community organizers will be responsible for conducting the follow up house visits to those children who received the bicycles from RRHEDS. The main aim is to record their observations and to see how the children and their parents feel. We expect that the families will highlight to us that the lives of the children have improved, at least to a small extent. We don’t expect these to bring a big change in the lives of the children because there are several other problems that are faced by people that live below the poverty line. The parents’ opinions will also be heard to understand their observations on their children. Most importantly, the children’s thoughts will also be heard in mass meetings and house visits to honestly see if their school going situation has improved or not after the provision of the bicycles.
While the demand for bicycles from the children and their families of the cadre specified above is in hundreds from each of the operational area of RRHEDS, the budget for the provision of one bicycle is as follows:
Possible contribution from the child’s family 1,000 13.00
Required external support 4,500 58.43
Total 5,500 71,43
Exchange rate used is: 1 USD = 75 Indian Rupees
We can inscribe the name of the donor on the bicycle, if desired.
Total Number of Beneficiaries are 1000 School Childrens studying in Different Government Schools in Andhra Pradesh.