Access to Education for Children of Victims of Human Trafficking
The children of Victims of Human Trafficking run a high risk of sexual exploitation from a very early age. Frequently, mothers themselves push them towards this fate because they are unable to offer them an alternative for their future survival. Mumbai Smiles Foundation looks at education as an alternative to help them live a decent life.
Mumbai Smiles Foundation offers these children the opportunity to receive primary education at Wilson High School, by offering grants and educational material support.
The programme also promotes training sessions for the families and teachers and offers individual tutorial sessions to create pathways for each child to help them fully develop their skills.
Education is a powerful tool for children of Victims of Human Trafficking to improve their future prospects, and help them fight the bleak reality ahead of them, subjected to inequality and lack of opportunities. Mumbai Smiles Foundation has been committed from the beginning to promote education as a tool for change and empowerment in the communities where we work.
In 2010, grants and learning materials were distributed under the “Future Smiles” project, which later on was called “Higher Education”. This project works with secondary or university students from low socio-economic backgrounds, so that not a single student is deprived of the right to study for economic reasons. The project has reached more than 1,300 secondary and university students
In 2014, together with the previous project, the Girl Child Education project was launched. This initiative was aimed at facilitating improved access to primary education for young girls. More than 800 girls benefitted through this project, with access to grants and learning material. In 2018 the project “Girl Child Education”, served as an implementation reference for all our teaching actions.
As for the “Life Skills Empowerment” project, young students developed positive behaviour patterns to help them effectively confront the challenges and demands of daily life as well as obtain maximized performance levels. Over 350 students have benefitted from this project since its launch in 2014. The project does not exist independently, and has become a part of our teaching initiatives.
Our current specific action plan supports and provides education to the most deprived beneficiaries. Since 2018, we have been working with Wilson High School located in Khetwadi. During the 1st year the project supported 15 students and we aim to support 25 children during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Such students have received support through grants and learning materials. Likewise, they participate in life skills empowerment sessions, where they learn techniques, specific abilities and skills for their personal and academic development. Workshops and sessions organized address issues such as childhood rights, sexual abuse of minors, life skills and addictions, among others.