One of the major problems that we have been dealing with still today, even after a decade of successfully running our education program in 12 districts is that, a considerable number of the parents from our target group community, still show reluctance to send their young children to school.
Given the realistic socio-economic standpoint of these people irrespective of their varying professions, there lie a multiple factors associated with their having such a hostile mindset towards education. The extreme poverty can be said to be the major factor, since for a family with meager income, sending kids to avail formal education is an hopeless thought. Engaging them into physical labor to earn and financially contribute to the family is a far more unrealistic and only choice to them. In such an adverse situation, it became essential for us to generate awareness about the positive sides and benefits of getting their children educated with classroom education.
We designed and started implementing ‘Parental Counselling’ and created the positions ‘Community Officers’ to act as the bridge between JAAGO and the community to resolve this complex issue. Our trained community officers help them understand the importance of their children’s education and its future potential to help uplift their financial status out of the relentless poverty they have been into for generations.
We carefully select and recruit our community officers from the same locality where the school is located. Then, through rigorous training sessions they acquire the art of communication and gradually become motivational counsellors for the parents and surrounding neighborhood. They regularly sit with the parents, who come from varied professions: day-laborers, rickshaw/van-pullers, petty vendors, small farmers, domestic help, and in some extreme cases, chronic alcoholics and drug addicts.
The community officers arrange parents’ counselling meetings every month to motivate the parents and illustrate them on how JAAGO has been guiding their next generation to grow up as enlightened and financially empowered individuals, persons with dignity and self-respect, to bring a sustainable change in the socio-economic status of their respective families and the community as a whole.