Mumbai: The Open Door Project, a path breaking initiative to induce more and more private schools to take the lead in creating space for disadvantaged children in their schools and give them an education they will otherwise probably miss, was today formally launched in Mumbai.
Despite so much being done at Government, NGO and Private sector level, one third of Indian children do not have access to quality education and over 8 million are out of schools. Government and individual actions are laudatory, but the size of the problem exceeds the best efforts yet. It is therefore a time to seek institutional participation to contribute to this enormous and yet the most critical task – of ensuring the there is no child left without an education.
The Open Door Project started with a simple observation – That a child, hungry for knowledge, will always find a way to learn. An initiative of The Millennium Schools, a national chain of private not for profit schools, educating over 35,000 students , which took the lead and decided to open its portals to disadvantaged children from surrounding and neighboring areas after school hours, The Open Door Project wants to ensure that children from slums and the areas around are offered similar facilities and education as children from well off families who make up the roster in the schools – same teaching standards, same facilities, same quality of education.
The Open Door Project is also aligning with NGOs, supporting their effort in reaching out to disadvantaged children. A start has already been made with Kat Katha which works with children of sex workers and now Salaam Baalak Trust, which works with street children.
The Open Door Project is being appropriately launched in the backdrop of the World Street Children’s Day (12th April) with a special event hosted by Salaam Balaak Trust in Andheri East. On the occasion, the founder of The Millennium Schools , Shantanu Prakash who has envisioned the Open Door Project, will unveil a special film called” Bhukkad- the hungry one” created by the award winning Chief Creative Officer of FCB Ulka, Swati Bhattacharya.
Speaking on the initiative, Shantanu Prakash, Founder of The Millennium Schools, said, “The Open Door Project is an institutional response by The Millennium Schools to the problem of children outside the education net. It is my belief that a large-scale campaign that enjoys collective efforts of private schools can help mitigate the crisis of over 8 million out-of-school kids in India. I am glad to see that Bhukkad – the film – resonates with the philosophy of the Millennium Schools which has love for learning and joyful learning as it’s bedrock”
“Our schools are opening doors for the children from slums and red-light areas. We’ll happy to impart education to them. To make India great again, let’s come together and make every citizen educated and empowered,” added Shantanu.
Adding her insights, Swati Bhattacharya, CCO, FCB Ulka said, “The film Bhukkad encapsulates the spirit of The Open Door Project. Drawing on this story of a young boy hungering for an education, we hope that this film inspires many other children to seek education and similarly many other institutions to rise to the challenge and the fulfil the dire need for expanding the net to all our children who are missing an education.”
Speaking on the Initiative, Shahnaz Botawala Sharma, Trustee Salaam Baalak Trust said, “Salaam Baalak Trust supports education for the underprivileged child and is participating in this project to support and further this goal. Education is a priority and we look forward to more such initiatives to get our children “off the street and on their feet”.