ECHO Happy Kids (2007)

Crime Prevention Centre in Janakiram Layout, Bangalore, through the National Child Labor Project (NCLP).

Happy Kids is designed as a preventive programme for the benefit of children, from Lingarajapuram (Bangalore) and surrounding slum areas. The main objective is to create awareness among the families in slums for better child care practices, promoting interest among children to pursue education and most importantly- preventing the children from getting into malpractices or getting victimized and abused by anti-social elements. The center was inaugurated in July 2007 by Shri. B.K. Singh, Deputy Commissioner of Police, East Division. Currently, the center is helping around 60 children, providing non-formal education and creating awareness in the community. 25 children are admitted to schools and 30 children attend tuitions.

Community presence:

The ECHO staff is present in the area and are accessible to children at all times. Utmost care is taken to involve the families of the children in all programmes and decisions, that are taken in the course of helping the child. Families of the children are visited regularly, not only to keep them appraised about their children, but also to motivate them to take more interest in their child’s future.

Non-formal education:

Dysfunctional families, disinterested parents, financial problems, having to do household chores and looking after younger siblings, are some of the reasons why children in this area have either not been to school or have dropped out of school. The Centre provides a space for children to break away from their gruelling routine and play. It also provides an opportunity for the staff to conduct non-formal classes and motivate children to go back to school. Regular meetings are organized with the parents of the children and they are motivated to participate actively in all aspects of the child’s education- to ensure that the child not only remains in schools, but also successfully completes his/her education. Keeping in mind the socio-economic condition of their families, the children are given a hot meal every day in the afternoon, both as an incentive and to keep their health status in mind.

Supplementary education:

ECHO plays a crucial role in the lives of these children by organizing coaching classes in the evenings, to help children with their studies. Thus, efforts are made not only to prevent children from discontinuing their education, but also to retain them in school. ECHO has been successful in giving the children an opportunity to realize their Right to Education.