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  • Provide Formal and non-formal education to the children of sex workers
  • Help the sex workers children to enrol in the main stream school
  • Runs a special study centre in collaboration with IGNOU
  • Runs a non-formal school named ‘Berabhenge’ for the children of tribal community
  • Runs a residential home for the children of sex workers and other marginalized communities

The children of sex workers are in a situation of exclusion where they are denied of even the most basic human rights. Education is one of the basic human rights and the children of sex workers are often deprived of theirright to education. Their identity makes it stressful for them to continue going to school and that is why through advocacy and different education programs Durbar tried to break the vicious circle of exploitation.

Formal and non-formal education program for the sex workers’ children

The socially imposed stigma and discrimination often encountered by the children of sex workers is a major challenge for them in accessing schooling and social entitlements. Being socially outcast, children of sex workers can’t access education and career building opportunities neither from the Govt. institutions nor from other social or corporate run service delivery program.

Durbar took the initiative as early as 1998 to help enrol children of sex workers in public schools. Additionally, Durbar developed a strategy to impart formal and informal education to the sex workers’ children.

Durbar’s primary strategy was to address childcare and develop a range of programs that support children’s education at different stages – with the aim of mainstreaming the children within local school system rather than sending them away to residential homes. The effort was to strengthen the relationship between the children and their mothers as they learn to accept their mother’s profession and thereby challenge social discriminatory practice.

Durbar convinced the mothers that they had to overcome three hurdles – 1) the child’s attitude and ignorance 2) the discriminatory practices of schools / institutions system 3) Enhancement of their self-esteem and coverage to deal with socially imposed value system. Durbar advocated with heads of institutions for dropout, and convinced them that sex workers were an underprivileged class of occupation and their children should not be deprived of educational opportunities. Based on feedbacks from principals or headmasters it was revealed that teachers who were once reluctant or initially denied admission to sex workers’ children, later expressed satisfaction on their performance in school.

DMSC in collaboration with IGNOU runs a special study centre in Kolkata. Initially it was meant only for the sex workers and their children who were ‘Drop outs’ but with times the curriculum was not limited only to the ‘Drop Outs’. 

Residential Home for the children of sex workers

Durbar runs residential home for the children of sex workers at Baruipur named RAHUL VIDYA NIKETAN, located in the southern suburbs of the city. The program has developed some highly innovative teaching methods to re-capture the enthusiasm of children disillusioned with learning. A key aim of the entire program is to start and maintain constant interaction with ‘mainstream’ children’s activities by encouraging sex workers’ children to participate in ‘sit and draw’ contests, sports or quizzes and cultural programs organized during festivals and tagging with various social events. Teachers from mainstream schools and members of other local bodies  are invited to initiate dialogue and interaction with sex workers’ children.

Presently more than 40 sex workers’ children are staying in Rahul Vidya Niketan

Rahul Vidya Niketan presently houses about 40 children in the age group of 6-18 years. All boarders of Rahul Vidya Niketan have enrolled in local mainstream schools. In order to improve the children’s access to books, a library has already been opened at Rahul Vidya Niketan. We offer opportunity for extra curriculum activities for the hostel inmates namely dance, music, painting, sports etc. as part of our education program. A computer centre was also established in the hostel premises with an objective to spread computer literacy among the children. The residential infrastructure has been expanded in the recent past (2015) to accommodate 80 kids. The campus of Durbar Sports Academy is also located adjacent to the residential home.

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