Joyjeet das Memorial School
The “Little School”
This little school is located in a “slum” in the area of Tollyngung, Calcutta. In August 2009, it went through a difficult economic situation and even considered closing its doors. Should this have happened, 312 children between 2 and 16 years old would have been thrown back on the streets of the slums with all the dire risks this entails.
Amavida’s main targets with this school is primarily to remove the students from the inherent dangers of the streets. It also provides appropriate nutrition (70% of the children do not have access to at least one meal a day), meaningful education (ensuring their future) and sanitary care. Additionally, there is support for their families and the community, since we believe it does not make any sense to help the child if we don’t help the whole family. Growing consciousness in the community, especially among women, is very important as they are the greatest influence on their children, able to instil the concept of the possibility of change within their country
Also, we find it essential to teach these children some important and necessary hygienic norms. Sanitary conditions in the slums cause several diseases of which both the children and their families are unaware because of lack of information.
We also work to impart the concept of caring for the environment and for animals, an almost unknown concept for them when daily they can see almost universal disregard for the idea, and many instances of near atrocity. Through education we seek to raise the level of consciousness on these subjects.
The project also aims to provide medical checks and access to the vaccines of the major illnesses to the children, thus preventing instances of diseases such as Poliomyelitis, extinguished many years ago in the first world, but still affecting million of children in India. This country still has the second-highest infant death-rate in children under 5. Prevention of childhood deaths caused by avoidable illness is another of the project’s main targets.