PBET is vehemently involved in different activities to protect child rights. It has been trying hard to safeguard child rights through proper coordination with different state agencies and support systems available under different legislations or schemes. A girl child labor was rescued and given proper nurture, legal support and education. PBET constantly engage with Sarba Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) for rehabilitation child labour and children victim of domestic violence. There are three children studying in the bridge school under SSA.
PBET has been intervening with several incidences of sexual violence where victims are minor. Legal support, counseling, reparations, safe shelters are arranged for them. Proper documentation and reporting to different human rights institutions at the national and international levels are integral part of PBET's programme.
PBET has a non formal education centre in the 24 line of Gatonga Tea Estate since 2011. While working under NRHM project it was observed that school dropout rate is high in that area. The parents work in the tea garden and the younger siblings are taken care of by the elder ones. To cater the child care need of the children from 1 to 6 year old children, the centre was started. In the centre children are prepared and then integrated to the formal school after 6 years. This is a community owned process and the land was given by the community to construct the centre.
SHISHU SHUNJOY- A CARE CENTRE FOR CHILDREN
"Shishu Shunjoy" is a centre specially designed to function as crèche and also a bridge school for the children of the workers of Gatoonga Tea Estate, Jorhat. Gatoonga tea estate is situated at the outskirts of Jorhat and covered an area of 26197 hectares. Since the tea garden covers a very large area the children from 24 no and 3 no lines cannot go to the Anganwadi Centres or the primary schools or the creche of the garden which is situated around 4 km away. Moreover to reach those places children has to cross Gatonga River, which is again a big hurdle during monsoon. Tea garden workers cannot send their children to the crèche. As a result elder children drop out of the schools to take care of their young brothers and sisters when their parents are at work. Thus, the dropout rate is high.
With the objective of taking care of the younger children and preparing the dropout students to integrate them with the formal education Purva Bharati Educational Trust (PBET) started the "Shishu Shunjoy" in 2011. PBET has been working in the Gootonga TE since 2008 on reproductive child health under NRHM project as field NGO. It is while working on the health issues, we identified that children from 24 no and 3 no line has stopped going to school and dropped out of the formal education. Many times parents expressed their willingness to start a centre in the line itself so that they do not need to send their younger children to the Anganwadi Centre that is situated at the far flung area and also their elder children do not need to leave their school. After completing the NRHM project PBET did not stop their work in the Gootonga TE and continued their programme without financial support.
It was challenge for PBET to find a place to run the centre. In the beginning, PBET volunteers went door to door to talk with the parents to discuss the solution for the problems so that they can send their children to the centre. The parents and guardians were sensitized on the importance of education. PBET conducted series of meetings in the 24 no and 3 no lines and motivated the community to engage in the process. Initially the centre was run in one of the workers house, and then a parent gave a plot of land to construct a centre for "Shishu Shunjoy". Community donated bamboos and PBET mobilized some support to construct a bamboo structure. "Shishu Shunjoy" is now a community owned process.
Since 2011, Shishu Shunjoy has enrolled 130 dropout children along with their younger siblings and mainstreamed them in their respective standard of class and 126 children have given primary level of education in the centre (who are above 3 years). Around 30 to 40 children are regularly coming to the centre.