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“Ikram’s progress has been astounding. We realized the importance of parental involvement and actively participated in her education.” – S. Mubeena, Ikram’s mother.

Amidst the crowded Shankanipura Colony in Hoskota, Bengaluru Rural area, a tale of hope and transformation unfolded, starring the vibrant 5.7-year-old Ikram Anjum. Despite facing the trials of limited education and unawareness of the power of early childhood education, Ikram’s family embarked on a remarkable journey toward enlightenment.

Her father Yarub Pasha who is a waste-picker and mother S. Mubeena, a homemaker, somehow manages to make two ends meet. Ikram’s family struggled with meager income from waste picking and segregation, unaware of the profound impact education could have on their children’s lives. Despite enrolling Ikram in the local Anganwadi Centre (Supported by GSK) at the age of 3, irregular attendance persisted as Ikram preferred staying at home.

The turning point came with the intervention of dedicated AWC staff and Bal Raksha Bharat workers. Through counseling sessions, Ikram’s parents were gently guided towards understanding the transformative power of early education. Witnessing Ikram’s joyous engagement with learning materials at the nearby Anganwadi Center, they began to grasp the importance of her educational journey.

With tailored support from AWC educators, Ikram flourished. She quickly grasped foundational literacy and numeracy skills, showcasing a remarkable ability to identify letters, numbers, and objects. Her enthusiasm for learning extended beyond the classroom, as she eagerly borrowed toys from the library and shared her experiences at home with her parents. Coupled with this, sustained support to engage parents in ensuring learning continuity of toddlers like Ikram, too gave results. Her mother, S. Mubeena, who otherwise remained engaged in household chores, took interest in her kids learning support at home with available materials at home…and it worked wonder!

Ikram’s success story became an inspiration for the community. Her increased enrollment and consistent attendance inspired neighboring households to prioritize early childhood education. Through collaborative efforts between AWC educators and Ikram’s family, a positive ripple effect spread throughout Shankanipura Colony, illuminating the value of personalized approaches in unlocking every child’s educational potential.

Ikram’s journey epitomizes the transformative power of education, transcending socio-economic constraints to empower dreams and ignite a brighter future. Her story serves as a testament to the profound impact of collaborative efforts in nurturing the educational journey of every child.

“Visiting the Anganwadi center opened our eyes to the possibilities of education. We saw Ikram’s excitement and knew we had to be part of her journey.” – Yarub Pasha, Ikram’s father

The National Education Policy 2020, of Government of India (GoI), emphasizes that achieving universal foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) in primary school and beyond by 2025 is of utmost importance. It highlights that the remainder of the policy would be largely irrelevant for a significant portion of students if this fundamental learning, including reading, writing, and arithmetic at the foundational level, is not first attained. The vision is to create an enabling environment to ensure universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy, so that by 2026-27 every child achieves the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy.

Early childhood care and education provides a significant preparation to basic education and a lifelong learning journey. Early childhood education is important because it provides children with cognitive and social experiences, helping them develop positive attitudes toward learning, and ultimately, becoming more independent. To catalyse GoI’s aim to achieve FLN for children in primary schools and to ensure no child is left behind, Bal Raksha Bharat with the support from GSK, is ensuring equitable and safe access to quality education for all children from 25 Anganwadi Centers (AWCs) in rural Bengaluru, Karnataka.

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