It is estimated that one out of three malnourished children* and one third of the world’s poor live in India*. India’s largest city, Mumbai, is home to the largest slum population in the country. Some of the city’s poorest and most desperate families end up here. These slums are also places of hope, where a small investment of resources can take a child out of crushing poverty and into a life he or she only could have hoped and dreamed for.
Financial means is not the only limited resource in a slum.
In developing economies, hard work is often not enough to guarantee success. To earn and scrape together the resources necessary for survival, parents have to work long and hard hours in low-paying menial jobs (the only jobs available for the illiterate and the poor), making it impossible for parents to invest the time and attention little growing minds require. When pairing this reality with poor nutrition, most children do not develop the mental capacity to function at the minimum level required to advance in elementary school. This virtually disqualifies them from competing for a seat in a public school, even if it is free.
It only takes a small investment at the right time in a child’s life, to change their entire destiny.
The Destiny India program strives to unlock the doors of opportunity for slum children so that they have a chance of escaping the trap of poverty by providing the keys to overcoming some of their greatest challenges, namely pre-school education, nutrition, medical care, and mentoring. The program offers practically free schooling for children between the ages of 3 and 6 in some of Mumbai’s worst slums. In these small pre-schools, children are instructed in the basics of reading, writing, and arithmetic. They receive uniforms, are fed a hot meal daily, undergo regular medical check-ups, are given the opportunity to learn, giving them hope and access to a bright future.
Abishek lives with his family in one of Asia’s largest slums. He is one of 1 million people crammed into 1 square mile of corridors, shanties and makeshift dwellings. Like most of the children growing up in Abishek’s slum, he was completely at the mercy of the circumstances he grew up in. There were no guarantees that he would even have access to the public education system. Life in Mumbai is hard and expensive. With thousands of migrants flooding into the city daily, competition for jobs and education is fierce. The only hope for families in Abishek’s slum, is if they can somehow break the generational cycle of poverty in which they live and function. Abishek was 4-years-old when he came into contact with our Destiny India schools.
In school, Abishek learns about the world around him. He is taught math, science, and how to read and write in two languages – English and Hindi. In contrast with most kids in Abishek’s slum, he eats a hot, nutritious meal every day. As his knowledge about the world grows, his knowledge of himself also grows. His favorite color is red.
Abishek excels in many areas in school. His favorite, however, is reading. He proudly stands before the class reading each sentence loud and clear.
Thanks to Destiny India schools, Abishek now has big dreams for his future. He is no longer locked to the low paying, daily labors that so many in his community cannot escape. When Abishek grows up he wants to be an engineer.
Without Destiny India schools Abishek’s future would be limited.
$20 a month provides a child – just like Abishek – with the opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and have a hope for their future. We can’t do it alone. Would you join us?
Interview date 7/09. To find out more please visit sowerofseeds.org/destiny
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