Teaching in Sahara

Teaching young people in Sahara Aalhad takes on a whole new meaning, besides school, imparting life skills is indispensable.
Often, children and young people come for residential care treatment and support to the Sahara Aalhad Care Home supported by KCA. Many of these children drop out of school owing to the lengthy treatment, others simply lose interest and do not want to go back to school, some of them fear returning due to the stigma and discrimination connected to their illness, a few are ashamed of falling behind in their studies but the majority of them are unable to go to school due to extreme poverty.
The Indian education system is particularly unforgiving. Pressure to excel is high and the competition is stifling. Schools seldom prepare children to cope with crisis situations- especially children debilitated by major illnesses, crippled by poverty, isolated by no care and support and absolutely helpless as they have no access to treatment and rights.
• However, when responding to children in extreme crisis services need to be highly sensitive to their situation. Many of them are orphaned at an early age, some have experienced the burden of caring for ailing parents and a few have been completely abandoned.
• The young adults are compelled to take whatever jobs are available and are generally exploited due to their high vulnerability often sending them into a spiral of depression.
Poonam Goyal a retired school principal teaches many of these children the basics of English and Mathematics, so that they are at least functionally literate. She also uses this opportunity to give a gamut of messages: self-respect, domestic budgeting, developing confidence, communication, family planning and other safer behaviors.
Then, there are other professionals who give their time and talent to the most in need youth of Sahara Aalhad ages between 18 to 22.
Sahara Aalhad manages to generate funds through different means in order to sponsor their school and college fees as well as books, study material, uniforms, tuition fees etc. Volunteers come every week to conduct small sessions focused on special areas of difficulty .Thematic art projects such as ‘Paint a Thought’; putting children behind the camera instead of in front of it etc. so as to encourage honest expression.
Sahara Aalhad’s partner organization ‘Saahasee’ offers training in computer and sewing classes and personality development. A young people’s self-help group provides financial management guidance and micro-enterprise schemes.
Goal setting has become a top priority and now these young adults have renewed aspirations.
A global organization ‘Sunshine’ whose primary focus is to support youth. It organizes monthly Google Hangout between India, Africa and America where young people, over Skype, discuss issues of relevance and are advocates in the making.