Tirupati: In an effort to make schooling accessible for children, Child Rights and You (CRY) in association with its project partners in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh are ensuring better usage of the state transport service. Overall 250 children have been helped through two initiatives which included introduction of one new bus and in another instance changing the timing of a bus by one hour.
In the first instance, CRY in association with Pragathi advocated starting a new bus service to help children have better accessibility to schools. The bus which today plies from Modugalapalem to Yerpedu covers 7 villages and has benefited 172 children to reach school on time.
In the other instance by changing the bus timing of a route plying between Bandrevu and Peddamandyam that covered 14 villages from 5 Gram Panchayats helped around 80 children to get back to school who were in the danger of dropping out due to lack of proper transportation. The bus initially plied at around 6 am. This resulted in children living in far off villages having to start from home in the wee hours of the dawn, thus making it extremely difficult for them to reach the pick-up point on time. A minor adjustment of an hour created a huge impact in the lives of children in the area.
The alternate option available for most of these children was a shared auto ride. This cost them anywhere between INR 60-Rs 80 (one way) making education a very expensive affair for the tribal children as the daily income of their parents is between Rs 200-300. Also the irregularity of these autos and the lack of safety further discouraged the parents from sending their children to school.
CRY and its project partner advocated for the change by painstakingly collecting data from all the schools of 14 villages and mapped the children coming from far off villages as well. After identifying the number of affected children from these places a petition was given to the depot manager of APSRTC to change the timing of the bus.
“When we first received the request we were pleasantly surprised to see the data collected by the members of PORD. This helped us in understanding the real plight of the children and gave us a way forward. Changing it by an hour didn’t affect our business but we are glad we could support so many children in turn,” said the depot manager of Raja Gajalakshmi.
“Education is not only a tool to make children more knowledgeable but also a mean to ensure they are free from child labor and marriage. Accessibility is one of the major hindrances that children face. It remains our earnest effort to provide a sustainable solution and ensuring continued education is a mean to achieve that goal. Introducing a bus or by altering the timing of another one is a small change that created a lasting impact in their lives,” said Karthik Narayanan, Regional Director CRY (South).