The Child Labour Elimination and Effective Rehabilitation Society (CHEERS) added one more feather to its cap, when two rehabilitated child labourers recorded impressive performance in the Plus Two examinations.

T. Kumaresan, of Melur area in Srirangam scored 982 marks and topped the list while R. Janani of Melaseedevimangalam village scored 940 marks among the 11 students. Both the commerce group students were trained the Sengulipatti Special Training Centre run under the National Child Labour Project (NCLP).

Kumaresan dropped out of the school while studying class 5 and worked as farmhand. He was identified by the CHEERS volunteers in 2005 and was admitted to the Sengulipatti centre. After imparting special education, he brought to mainstream regular schooling at Government Boys Higher Secondary School, Manachanallur, in class 6 in 2007-08.

Janani, a class 4 dropout, lost her father at a young age, and her mother worked as a farm labour. Till a few years ago, Janani used to assist her mother in the farm , when she was identified by the volunteers who later prevailed upon elders in the family to admit her to the special school. She was mainstreamed and admitted to Government Girls HSS, Manachanallur, in class 9 in 2010-11.

S. Prabu, an education instructor at Sengulipatti centre, regularly monitored the progress of both the students.

Apart from them, two more girls secured above 800 and four students secured over 700 marks. Both Kumaresan and Janani prefer to pursue higher studies, provided they get sponsorship.

Kumaresan aims to become a police officer. It was the meticulous planning by the CHEERS and the instructors of 25 NCLP special centres that paved way for the success of these children.

The instructors visited the schools at regular intervals and monitored the progress of the children. They held discussion with the teachers for improving the performance of students and also for solving problems faced by them, says Pearlin Selvakumar, Project Director, CHEERS.

“We keep track of migrated students and try to re-admit them with the help of the authorities of the migrated areas,” said Ms. Selvakumar.

Referring to the assistance provided for higher studies, she said the government was providing stipend to the students. About 808 students are studying in 25 special schools run by CHEERS.

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