While PRAKASHDEEP began its journey in May 2003, it got formally registered as a trust in 2006. Over the years, Prakash Deep has touched the lives of thousands of children belonging to the poorest of the poor- many of whom had to leave on account of their being part of the floating population. Many children have returned to find love and a sense of belonging to PrakashDeep. Parents that were reluctant to send their children - who they considered were earning hands for them now willingly send them to our Learning Centres.
Let us look at PrakashDeep's journey so far..........
The First Step
Prakashdeep’s founder, Dr. Savita Datt, began teaching seven students under the shade of an Arjun tree with a Hindi Alphabet Chart hung on its trunk in a dilapidated park in Sector 21 A, Faridabad, in the state of Haryana, India.
The number of students receiving basic preschool education grew to 40. On account of rains, operating classes in the open became impossible. We moved the children to the Market Verandah in Sector 21- A. Sita Pantha, our oldest student became the first teacher- teaching alphabets and numbers.
Prakashdeep was registered as a trust in 2006 and the number of students at that time was 120.
The school was reorganized into seven groups from Nursery to Class IV. The teachers were provided with a single set of books and the number of students increased to 180. Children continued to sit in separate class clusters under the trees in the main park located near the market of Sector 21 A.
RANDOM aCTS OF SERVICE
The School began the Random Act of Services Program wherein the students reciprocated the kindness bestowed upon them by performing acts of service to the society. Class V was added and all the children were provided with individual sets of books, stationery, colouring supplies, drawing pads and school bags.
pARTNERSHIP WITH NCLP
Prakash Deep Trust partnered with the National Child Labor Project ( NCLP), a central government funded project for the eradication of child labour in India The mid-day meal program was introduced, which was an added incentive. More children joined and the school started to operate from two different locations raising the number of our learning centres to two.
REACHING OUT TO THE SLUMS
25 Children from another slum that had sprung up opposite the cremation ground, were included and brought under the fold of pre-primary education adding to our strength. Thus, the number of children grew further. Many children on the street started to walk in by themselves too.
jOURNEY TO EXCELLENCE
13 students out of nearly 200 of our children were mainstreamed to Goldfield Public School near Sector 21-A. Their education upto the Senior Secondary level was made free of charge after negotiating with the Principal of the institution. The uniforms, books and other supplies for these children were funded by PrakashDeep Trust . Class VI was introduced into the existing “class group”.Children above the age of 14 were enrolled in the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) for the Secondary Course. They were helped by the staff to prepare for one subject at a time so they could clear all the subjects at their own pace while continuing to study in Class VI.
Barclays Capital and United Parcel Services (UPS) provided grants which made it possible for us to rent a shop in the market complex. We set up a library and a computer lab with internet facility there. Children could easily access it because of its close proximity to the market park where our classes were held. We named it as PrakashDeep Skill Development Center.
The shop where we were running our Skill Development Centre had to be vacated soon. We had to hire another place at an exorbitant rent. The new place however, provided us with more space for running the smart class and the computer class. More children were given access to these classes.
The number of students touched the six hundred mark in 2015. We had to hire yet another more spacious place to accommodate the students. House Number 441 in Sector 21- A was rented. This was right across the road from our park and children could easily walk to attend numerous classes like computers and smart class, tailoring and craft activities, which could not be carried out in the open air environment All the students from class one onwards got access to the smart class and students of class six and above were given access to computer learning inside the building. Other classes continued under the trees.
30 children from the nearby slum under the Badkhal flyover were incorporated into PrakashDeep. The new school was set up in the Green Belt adjoining the slum in Sector 21-C overlooking the Asian Hospital. The children could walk in themselves without any escorts. They were allowed to bring their little siblings with them so that their parents would allow them to attend school while they themselves went out to work and couldn’t take care of little babies.
National Child Labour Project (NCLP) withdrew all support to the NGOs working under its umbrella. This left Prakash Deep as well as many other NGOs struggling for survival. The salaries of the staff, the rent and expenses of books, uniforms and stationery which accounted for a large chunk of expenses became impossible to pay from the Trusts’ resources.