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Noida police launched five more mobile education vans for underprivileged children

Twelve-year-old Sonam Kumari, whose mother died in childbirth and father sells vegetables in Sector 71, has never been to a school. But for the last two years, she has been learning fourth-standard English, mathematics and science for two-and-a-half hours daily at a mobile education van, which comes to her temporary settlement colony in Sector 70.

“I used to stay at home, carry out household chores and cook food. But in May 2021, I got enrolled in a mobile van school with my father’s permission. At first, I was not interested in studying but after speaking to the teachers, I now have ambitions to become a teacher as well,” says Sonam.

She is one of the 2,124 out-of-school children across Gautam Budh Nagar who have been provided an alternative education system by ‘Nanhe Parinde’, an initiative of Gautam Budh Nagar police in collaboration with HCL Foundation and Chetna NGO, said officials.

Under the initiative, multidimensional mobile classrooms offer academic support to underprivileged children in mathematics and science, English language skills, art lessons and digital literacy. They also provide children with sports and recreational opportunities to help reduce school dropout rates and juvenile crime rates.

The mobile classrooms are equipped with LCD screens, sound systems, CCTV cameras, GPS and educational materials to offer students access to education and exposure.

The initiative, which was launched in the district in January 2021, has five vans operating in various temporary settlements. On Tuesday, Bharti Singh, additional commissioner of police (headquarters), Gautam Budh Nagar Police commissionerate, flagged off five more vans in the district from Police Lines, Surajpur and Greater Noida.

“Delivering comprehensive life skills-based education and instigating collective social action will help empower young people from marginalized communities. It is our responsibility to help young talent advance so they can contribute to the nation,” says Singh.

According to official data from program coordinators at HCL, since January 2021, 2,124 children have received ‘bridge schooling’ through mobile vans and have received 64,826 nutritious meals through the program.

“With support from the local police station, each van reaches out to 50-60 children daily. The vans stay at one temporary settlement for around two-and-a-half hours and then move on to their next destination. Since this is ‘bridge schooling’, our aim is to get these children integrated into schools,” says Dr Nidhi Pundhir, vice president, global corporate social responsibility, HCL Foundation.

According to officials, 339 out-of-school children have been integrated into the formal education system since the launch of the initiative in the district, while 259 homeless children have been enrolled in schools.

Sonam, too, plans to get enrolled in a government school near her locality in her sixth standard.


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