Non Formal Training

Chitra Vihar Project in Delhi (USO India)

Dental Screening Camp

Chitra Vihar Project in Delhi (USO India)

Medical Screening Camp

Chitra Vihar Project in Delhi (USO India)

Readying the sewing machines.

Chitra Vihar Project in Delhi (USO India)

Children eager to learn

United Schools Organisation of India runs an Open Literacy Centre for the impoverished in Rajiv Gandhi Camp, Basti Vikas Kendra, Chitra Vihar, East Delhi. Operating since February 1992, USO has been allotted 2 rooms in this Delhi ‘jhuggi cluster’. A small neighbourhood of approximately 800 jhuggis, and 5000 people, this Centre aims to provide non-formal education to children and vocational training to women of the area.

Taught by USO appointed teachers, there are 2 types of classes held for the children:

Non-formal education in the form of reading, writing and math is provided to the children of the area who do not attend school. After attaining a certain level, USO then assists them to obtain admission at nearby government aided schools. So far over 500 children who have been taught at USO’s Open Literacy Centre, have received admission at Delhi Nagar Nigam MCD School in East Delhi.

Remedial classes are provided to those children who are already attending school, but are unable to afford extra tuition classes. Our teachers work with the children to strengthen their skills in reading, writing, and offer them practice on various math questions. The students of the area and therefore encouraged to study even further.

The women of the area are provided vocational training in the form of tailoring classes, knitting, mehendi application and beautician classes. These activities help women obtain better job opportunities thus empowering them even more. Many of them, as their way of giving back, have returned back to Chitra Vihar as teachers. They then pass on their skills that they have acquired over the years to the new batch of students

As an incentive to increase and improve attendance at the Centre and motivate them to develop their skills, juices and snack – in the form of cookies, fruit, buns, ladoo - are provided to both the children and women after classes. During Diwali, sweets are distributed to all children and during winter time, sweaters are given to all who study at the centre. At any point in time, there are roughly 60 children (equal number of boys and girls) and 20 young women who attend the Centre on a regular basis. The rooms are equipped with study desks, blackboards, fans, sewing machines etc. All costs in relation to running this Centre is completely borne by USO. Annually, USO spends in excess of Rs. 250,000 for the Centre. We are proud to see that the impact of USO in the area has been huge. So far more than 2,000 children and 300+ adults have been educated at our Centre.

How it all started

This Centre was visualized by Late Mr. Jiya Lal Jain, Founder Secretary General of USO in an effort to stop small children begging at the traffic lights near Institutional Area. Around the same time, UNESCO also started a programme ‘EDUCATION FOR ALL BY 2000’. In response to the same, USO decided to contribute generously by starting education centres in and around Delhi in slum areas.

The first such Centre was set up in February 1981, in the densely populated area of Trans Yamuna colony, called Janta Mazdoor Camp, Jafrabad, Seelampur, on the outskirts of New Delhi.

The second such Centre was opened in November 1991 in Prayog Vihar, West Delhi.

Since these two centres have completed their mission, they were closed in February 1992.

This Centre was also setup at USO House for a brief period of time, whereby a space was dedicated for teaching the children who were living in the neighbourhood ‘jhuggis’. These children would come every day to study (reading, writing, math), and as a reward would be given juice and snacks before leaving.