To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Monsoon Accessorize Trust, we’re looking back at some of our key charity projects and finding out how they’ve changed the lives of communities and individuals across India and the UK. Next up, we’re finding out about the Phia Foundation, a public trust which aims to help end poverty in India, and how they’ve brought education to an urban slum near Delhi.
Located on the outskirts of Delhi, Bhowapur’s rag-picking slum is inhabited by an estimated 5,000 people, with families living in extreme poverty. The area lacks basic amenities such as housing, electricity, water, sanitation and healthcare, and children also have no access to education.
Through their partnership with Christian Aid, the Monsoon Accessorize Trust have been able to support the Phia Foundation with a grant to help set up ‘bridge schools’ – small-scale education initiatives for children aged three to 14 years. Run by trained community leaders, these centres provide pupils with basic education, as well as clean water and nutritional support (such as fresh fruit) to ensure children are fed and therefore more able to concentrate in their lessons. Children are also encouraged to explore their creativity with song, dance and art classes, and are often taken out for educational and recreational trips.
So far, 67 children have been enrolled back into mainstream education and the Phia Foundation continue to monitor their progress and support them further with extra classes. It’s hoped that the initiative will help break the cycle of poverty and transform the lives of thousands of poor children.
Twelve-year-old Rakhi lives in the Bhowapur slum with her five siblings and mother, who works as a maid in the local area. She has enrolled in the nearby municipal school in Ghazipur, thanks to her focus and hard work, as well as the efforts of her teachers at the bridge school. She enjoys her lessons and is doing well in the curriculum, having scored 85% in the annual exam.
Once she returns home, Rakhi has extra classes at the bridge school to help support her education. This has helped improve her confidence and she regularly takes part in extra-curricular activities and school-level contests such as essay-writing competitions.
In her spare time, Rakhi enjoys singing, dancing and drawing. She hopes to become a police officer when she grows up.