Education is the cornerstone of our society. It lays the groundwork for the future of a new generation of young people with the potential to shape the societies in which we live. It is the single greatest tool available to many poor and underprivileged children to break the cycle of poverty they were born into.
Access to education is a fundamental human right in 135 countries around the world. In India, the Right to Education Act (RTE) came into force in April 2010 making education a fundamental right of every child. The RTE Act describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 in India under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution.
But just because access to education is free doesn’t mean all children attend school. Many children from low-income and underprivileged families never see the inside of a classroom because they do not have the basic supplies needed to attend school. Their families are unable to afford uniforms, books, bags and school supplies. Even if the child is enthusiastic about learning, the lack of these basic necessities for school affects the morale of the child.
Sri Sathya Sai Vidya Mandir in Hyderabad is an orphanage and school for slum children in the Moosapet area. The school is maintained under the auspices of the Sri Sathya Sai Central Trust, which provides free tuition and board to needy students.
QNET partnered with the Lions Club of Hyderabad, Swarnapuri and identified 1200 deserving children from Grade 6 and above, whose social backgrounds did not allow them to afford basic school supplies. Under QNET’s We Care initiative, the company sponsored uniforms and eco-friendly school bags for these children so that they can start a new school year with confidence.
At a small function organized in the school on April 21, officials from QNET and Lions Club took the opportunity to present the children with the uniforms and bags personally.
While there are no formal studies conducted in India on the impact of distributing uniforms on children’s education, a study conducted in Kenya from 2001 to 2004 showed that distribution of school uniforms had a strong positive impact on student school participation. Absenteeism went down and the average test scores went up among the recipients.
This is just one of the projects implemented by QNET in India to help the education sector serving the underprivileged. QNET marked World Water Day recently by helping 800 students get access to drinking water at a government primary school.