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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Academic dawn for coal town dropouts

Welcome lessons await Dhanbad’s needy children.

Forty dropouts, including child labourers of Panderpala at Wasseypur in Dhanbad, will resume studies at a learning centre, courtesy a group of youths working under different social outfits and NGOs.

Three organisations — Fight 4 Right, Iqra Foundation and Rashtriya Pragati Sangh — have joined hands to launch an education hub, just half a kilometre away from district headquarters.

Dhanbad MLA Mannan Mallik inaugurated the academic hub, still unnamed, on Saturday. Classes will start from Monday.

“The aim of the centre is to teach underprivileged children,” said Santosh Singh, a young lawyer and a member of Fight 4 Right that comprises educated youths, including lawyers and ISM students.

“So far, we have roped in two regular mentors to steer the cradle. Youths associated with Fight 4 Right, Iqra Foundation and Rashtriya Pragati Sangh will also take the onus of teaching,” said Muzaffar Alam president of Iqra Foundation, an NGO working among minority youngsters.

“On October 2, a survey was conducted among 60 children of Panderpala, after which we handpicked 40. Most of the children are school dropouts or working in cottage industry units that make incense sticks or bangles,” said another lawyer Shadab Ansari, associated with the education centre and Fight 4 Right.

He added that underprivileged but academically weak students in state-run schools were also selected for the centre.

“Free education will be imparted to students from Monday to Saturday. Classes will be held from 7.30am to 9.30am and from 6pm to 7pm. The evening session has been designed to facilitate attendance of children already enrolled in government schools,” said Alam. “We will also distribute books to children,” he added.

“Though initially children between ages of five and seven have been included in the enrolment list, those older will also be inducted later,” said Alam. He added that arrangements related to admission in government schools for dropouts associated with the learning centre would also made under Right to Education Act.

“We are also planning to start a free English medium school for underprivileged children, too,” said Alam. “We’re dreaming big on behalf of these kids.”

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