School at Village Alsund build by VDS

A nonformal education class for dropouts

A Group of parents and teachers with the resident children of the deprival sections at AVANI school
Environmental awareness campaign amoung students and the community at large.

We gave education a pride of place in the development process.

(i) To begin with, in 1971 we built school buildings for three primaries and a high school at Alsund. Skilled and unskilled labour worked on equal food wage. For they knew the building was for their sons’ and daughters’ education. (ii) In 1978-80 we operated 120 National Adult Education Programme (NAEP) centres in Sangli District. We produced teaching material of our own. We held monthly 5 day training workshops for the teachers, we used folk singers to carry the message of learning throughout the district. An amateur folk art ensemble performed throughout the two years. Three thousand adults learnt how to read and write. In 1980 we withdrew from NAEP because with change of government, bureaucracy became hostile. During 1981 to 1985 we operated nonformal education centres in 20 villages of Khanapur and Kavathe Mahankal Tehsils. Seminars and workshops on different topics has been a regular feature throughout these past 36 years. In 1985 a Primary School building for Vazar village was built at the cost of Rs.1,25,000=00.

From 1982 to 1997 Nonformal education of dropout children in the age group of 9 to 16 was continued in the villages of Malangaon and Hingangaon. Over the 15 year period the total number of children which took advantage of the facility came to 600. All these children acquired the skill to read and write. They became more aware about personal hygiene and generally developed regular habits. The girls from the group got to know the way to conduct themselves in puberty related problems.

In January - February 1995 at Alsund village 2 class rooms for the girls’ primary school with a sanitation block were built. The total built up area is 450 sq.ft. A vacant plot admeasuring 1600 sq.ft. was alloted for the purpose by the Village Panchayat. Alsund at that time had 342 girls enrolled but different class-rooms were not available. In construction of the class rooms the villagers contributed unskilled labour component and they provided water free of transportation cost. They helped also in digging the foundation. The school building cost Rs.1,15,500/-

AVANI, a community based organization (CBO) was formed in 1994. Its vice-chairperson Mrs.Anuradha Bhosale based in Kolhapur is its executive in-charge. It is an off-shoot of VDS. Its is formed as a separate entity to facilitate independent functioning in areas where VDS is not active. It has a General Body of 20 members and its executive consists of 7 activists. It is recognized by the government as a non-profit organization.
Since 2002 it is concentrating on the education of children in the 6-14 age group who are from the underprivileged sections and the first generation learners.

Sarva Shikshan Abhiyan (Education for All)
Under the joint auspicies of VDS and AVANI, which is an associate of VDS, nonformal education centres were started in Kolhapur for the 6-14 age group children. From 2002 to February, 2005, five hundred children were taught the study courses from I to IV standards. From the calendar year 2005 eleven centres are in operation in as many localities. In the years 2003 to 2004 the total number of children who passed the IV standard and joined the school mainstream was 144. For this project we get partial grants from government. and are supplemented handsomely by an NRI (Non Residencial Indian) group in USA and the local public also helps the activity, where need be.

AVANI operates at present 7 centres located in the shanties of Kolhapur town and its outskirts, where 140 children are given primary education with government help. After two years of teaching at these
centers they are expected to join the mainstream school system run by the authorities. Our experience has been that only 10 to 20 percent of these children continue in school. The rest become child labour. They have to work to survive. The school hours donot suit them. Further, the public school system’s teaching standard has gone abysmally low. It does not hold any attraction for them. And the fact is, the children these schools turn out are half-baked and ill-equipped to join the middle and high schools. They swell the army of drop-outs.
Residential schooling, where these children could be taught, fed and sheltered under one roof is the only viable solution. Therefore, from April 2005 AVANI has started a residential school where 25 children at present are accommodated. No official grants are accessible. The venture is sustained by public help. We are now mustering funds from individuals and institutions to build a residential school for these socially handicapped children. We have to go a long way. We hope to succeed with help from the people.
The problem of out-of-school children is of a staggering proportion. Nationally, 100 million children of 2-14 age group are deprived of their basic right to education, which is guaranteed by our country’s Constitution.
AVANI concentrates on child rights and when the economic situation improves, it is determined to admit more children to its residential schooling facility.

Environmental Education

Nature study camps for students is our regular activity. Since 1983 and upto 2004 we have given exposure to 840 students. Environment-related mobile exhibitions held for 15 years has attracted over 4000 viewers.
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