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Nuns show how poor can go to school

Awareness course teaches disadvantaged kids they can get free education

Nuns show how poor can go to school
Child laborers and school dropouts attending the program reporter, Indore

April 12, 2011

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Some 150 children, mostly laborers, attended a program on the right to education organised by nuns in a central Indian city in collaboration with UNICEF. “I never knew that I could get free education. The program has given me new hope,” said Mona Rajesh, a 10-year-old domestic worker who attended the program in Indore on April 10. Rajesh, who dropped out of third grade, said she wants to study, but her parents have no money to send her to a school. Shivani Rawal, another school dropout, said the program helped her realize that free education is her fundamental right. “If I get free education, I will go back to school and continue my studies,” she added. Holy Spirit Sister Rosily Panjikaren, who directs Domestic Workers’ Solidarity, said her congregation organized the program since poor people are ignorant of the Right to Education Act that came into force a year ago, which stipulates that children in the 6-14 age group should be given eight years of free elementary education. “It is our responsibility to educate the poor about their rights,” said Sister Panjikaren . The nuns would persuade school dropouts and child labourers to benefit from the law. Jyoti Bhatia, local UNICEF consultant, lauded the nuns’ initiative. “Slum dwellers are the most deprived group and the Sisters have taken the right step at the right time,” she added. IC13928.1649
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