Bachpan Bachao’s work with schools in and around Hyderabad can teach one a thing or two about social initiative

A meeting with the team of students behind Bachpan Bachao, an NGO focused on education and child welfare and you are not surprised that they have been selected to attend the United Nations Youth Assembly in New York to talk about their work.

Bachpan Bachao was conceived on the eve of children’s day when president Prashant Raj, then a first year student at Sreenidhi Institute of Science and Technology, noticed children begging and decided to do something about it. “I thought instead encouraging children to beg by giving them a rupee each, why not put all this money into a common fund and use it for something that will benefit children in the long run,” he says. What started out as a small donation drive in his classroom soon spread to the entire college. The organisation was officially founded on November 14, 2011. “Seeing that lack of education was the root cause of many problems, eradicating illiteracy became our motto,” adds Arun Kumar a core member. Today they have 400 active volunteers and more than 800 registered members.

What they do

“We mainly visit schools and talk to the staff and students about what they need and try to provide them with that. One school for instance did not have water supply so we raised money and installed RO (reverse osmosis) plants for them,” informs Chaitra Reddy, another member. “We also do small things, like replacing expired First Aid kits in schools,’ adds member Aditi Reddy. Bachpan Bachao relies only on small student donations. “Students donate Rs.1 everyday or Rs.30 every month. We are very transparent about our expenditure,” Chaitra points out. “We also get a lot of help, including transportation for our field visits from college.

Their work is divided into six different project heads. Project MTTV (Make a Team, Teach a village) involves conducting awareness campaigns for the entire village on new government schemes or issues like educating the girl child. Under Project Pustak, they collect books and set up small scale mobile libraries in government primary schools. Project Viksara provides access to potable water.

They also have Projects Talent and Health.

Volunteers of the organisation frequently visit the schools and respective villages to provide help in the classroom, conduct parent-teacher meetings along with school staff and the sarpanchto discuss their childrens’ education, hold motivational sessions for students who are preparing for examinations or simply spend time with the students.

Bachpan Bachao currently works with about 6-7 schools that are in and around their college.

“Our hope is that once we spread to other colleges, they too will start working with a small number of schools around them,” mentions Prashanth.

Bachpan Bachao’s selection to present their resolution project at the UNYA comes as a great opportunity for them.

“We are presenting a plan to implement e-learning schemes in Hyderabad’s government schools. If selected, we are planning to get in touch with the State government make this happen in 8-10 schools in each district,” says Prashanth. “There will be over 600 people from 198 countries present; it is a great opportunity for collaborations,” points out Chaitra, adding that representing India at the UN will also help them to gain more credibility as an organisation.

Bachpan Bachao is planning on recruiting students from all over Hyderabad this June. You can find out more about them at bachpanbachao.org or www.facebook.com/bachpanbachao.