This is the story of Budhpura, a small village in Taleda Block in the Bundi District of Rajasthan. The main industry in this area is stone quarrying and the production of Sandstone setts. It’s estimated that 85% of the population in this area work in or rely on the natural stone industry for their livelihoods.
There are many yards in and around Budhpura involved in the production, grading and sorting of Sandstone setts, 25 of the largest yards came together to form the cobble traders union.
Before Manjari started to work in the area, the majority of children in Budhpura and the surrounding villages were out of school and working in the cobble yards. The sole objective of the Child Labour Free Zones Project is that all children have the right to an education and to enjoy childhood. Children were visibly working in the cobble yards around Budhpura, so engaging with the owners of the cobble yards became the prime focus for the Manjari project team.
There are many drivers that force children into work and it is not just about earning money for the family. A big issue in Budhpura is the quality of the education, or lack of it. Classrooms are overcrowded, teachers are poorly trained and teaching and learning materials are absent. This not exactly the best incentive for parents to send their children to school. The kids are better of working, this is the mentality of some parents.
From 25 to 30 January 2016, 9 Education Volunteers, who are supporting the school teachers in Budhpura, and 2 Community Facilitators, who motivate parents in Budhpura to send their children to school, attended a training on interactive and child-friendly teaching and learning methods. They observed the teaching and learning activities at a Residential Learning Camp for out of school children and participated in training sessions on activity based learning, child friendly behavior of teachers and using local materials in the learning process. The training was facilitated by Seva Mandir, a NGO, based in Udaipur, with long-term experience and knowledge in education. This capacity building event will help in creating a more child friendly education environment in the project area where Manjari is working towards ‘child labour free zones’.