KISES India, a small NGO run by a husband and wife team from Vijayawada, has launched a mobile school programme aimed at preventing the misery of child labor for young rag-pickers in the dumps and slums of the city.
The mobile school, funded by volunteers from the UK, is at the forefront of a campaign to bring relief to marginalised children and families living and working on the Vijayawada dump. And as well as taking school lessons to the dump-dwelling children, the KISES India project will offer regular health camps and free medicines, plus vital clean drinking water and daily nutritious meals.
The charitable effort is the brainchild of bank worker Shoury Babu Rebba, who empathises with the uncared-for Dalit workers due to his own negative experiences of coming from a lower caste background.
Previous KISES ( Kiranmayi Socio Educational Society) projects saw Mr Rebba and wife Mrs RajaniSuram deliver a long line of relief programmes to coastal flood victims in the
Khammam and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh who lost their homes and livelihoods following a devastating tsunami.
"For nearly two decades Shourya and Rajani have devoted all their free time for the benefit of downtrodden people who often face daily battles for survival in modern-day India," said KISES UK volunteer Jem King, after cutting the ribbon at the mobile school's small inauguration ceremony.
"KISES is an unheralded charity which has brought, education, literacy programmes, health programmes, vocational training and disaster relief to thousands of vulnerable citizens.”
"Their dedication is admirable and I am proud to support their efforts, along with another volunteer in the UK, Meriel Woodward, who was also deeply touched by such devotion to the welfare of neglected and unrespected people."
The mobile school was made possible by the purchase of a sturdy off-road vehicle by KISES UK, able to cope with the treacherous, dusty roads leading to outlying areas like the Pathapadu dump.
"The children seem to be enjoying the lessons so far and keeping them off the dump has to be a priority," said Mr King. "But we will keep searching for corporate or foundation sponsors who can help us expand this project into the city slums, give back these kids their childhoods and educate them for a brighter future."
Other KISES projects already in the pipeline and awaiting funding are a Mobile Health Clinic providing medical care to impoverished rural villagers, an Animal Rescue Centre and a Residential Care Hostel for children of fishermen from coastal villages who are forced to spend long periods at sea.
For more information please visit www.kisesindia.com