Expands Educational support to 490 children across 5 urban slums
· Dr. Andrew Fleming , Hon’ble British Deputy High Commissioner Unveiled the Digital Skill Training Centre along with Saket Mohta, MD, Merlin Group
· Imparts digital Skill Training Programme to 60 youth living in the slum area of Dhapa.
· Merlin I Am Kolkata, also continues the support education programme for the marginalised section for the second year with total number of beneficiaries being 490 .
Kolkata, 17 January 2024: Merlin I Am Kolkata, the corporate social responsibility arm of Merlin Group, the leading real estate conglomerate in India, has announced the unveiling of a Digital Skill Training Centre for youth living in urban slum area of Dhapa in partnership with TDH Suisse, a Swiss Child rights organization and DRCSC , a non-profit organization working in Dhapa area and other parts of West Bengal today.
At a formal function, Dr. Andrew Fleming, Hon’ble British Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Soumitra Ray, founder singer of eminent Bangla Band Bhoomi and special consultant of West Bengal State Commission for the protection of the rights of children (SCPCR),Mr. Saket Mohta, Managing Director, Merlin Group unveiled the Digital Skill Training Centre at Dhapa Dipi in presence of Ms. Ajitha Menon, Political Economy Advisor, British Deputy High Commission, Mr. Ashish Ghosh , Regional Coordinator-Asia , TDH Suisse, Ms. Somjita Chakraborty, Chief Program Officer, DRCSC , DRCSC .
The digital Skill training centre will impart computer and soft skills training to 60 youth to build better career opportunities for them. This will help the youth complete the course and develop basic skills on interview preparedness, resume writing, computer applications. On this occasion Mr. Saket Mohta, MD, Merlin Group and founder of Merlin I am Kolkata , also announced the expansion of educational support to 70 students additionally and with this Merlin I Am Kolkata now will extend educational support to 490 children across 5 urban slum areas in Dhapa. Merlin group will also provide scholarship to 10 meritorious students under this support education programme.
While unveiling the digital skill training programme and support education programme, Dr. Andrew Fleming , the Hon’ble British Deputy High Commissioner appreciated the effort of TDH Suisse and DRCSC for relentlessly working to spread education among the children in Dhapa area. He also profusely appreciated Merlin Group for coming forward to set up the digital skill training centre for the slum youth here and also for supporting education for 490 children at Dhapa in partnership with TDH Suisse and DRCSC. He emphasized the importance of imparty quality education among girl children as they are our future and a girl spreads education among the family when she grows up. He reiterated that education, particularly formal education is the most crucial tool in shaping the character and integrity of children.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Saket Mohta iterated , “ It is our motto at Merlin I Am Kolkata to create a society with inclusive growth. We at Merlin pledged to continue our support to TDH Suisse and DRCSC in the urban slum project of Kolkata to empower vulnerable children by providing access to quality education, right based education, environment actions and sustainable development.
It is crucial for our children to acquire knowledge in computer and its application in this digital era. We hope our little support will empower the marginalized section of the society and the youngsters and kids will learn the basics of digital literacy programme. Merlin I am Kolkata will appeal to the Technical Education Department of the Govt of West Bengal to introduce a certificate course for the youth in this digitial education centre to enhance their employability. Under our support education programme we will also provide scholarship to 10 meritorious students for higher studies.”
Mr. Ashish Ghosh, Regional Coordinator-Asia, TdH Suisse, said“TdH Suisse is always looking for impactful changes in the lives of most vulnerable children and youth. This collaboration will demonstrate a remarkable effect of a corporate NGO partnership between Merlin Group, Terre des Hommes Suisse and DRCSC (our implementing partner). This will allow us to take concrete steps for achieving the goal of Education for Sustainable Development of the most marginalised children of slums in Kolkata.
Our vision is that of a supportive and sustainable world in which children rights are respected”.
Terre des Hommes Suisse (TdH Suisse) – A Geneva (Switzerland) based Child rights organisation supports local organisations across 4 States (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal) in India, of which DRCSC is a partner. DRCSC is a non-profit organization working in West Bengal and currently implementing a project in Dhapa areas to provide education to marginalized children. Merlin Group CSR have partnered with TdH Suisse to co-fund the project across 5 urban slums in the Dhapa and Tangra region, situated at a close proximity to Merlin X site. The project impacted 420 children in 2023 with education support and ensured that they retain in public schools.
Earlier Merlin I Am Kolkata started educational support for 420 children in the year 2023. This year It has extended the support to TDH Suisse and DRCSC to help enroll 70 children additionally to pursue education and prevent them from dropping out of schools. The children mostly hail from the surrounding Dhapa slum areas and their parents mostly work as rag pickers to earn barely their two square meals. TDH Suisse and DRCSC work relentlessly to educate the children across 5 slum remedial centres using innovative and interactive pedagogy and teaching learning materials across the centres . The educators offer interactive pedagogy across the centers and impart joyful learning for the children.They also create a youth wing in the urban slum area across Dhapa to help them remain on right track of higher education and pursue a good career .
The digital skill training centre will mostly support 60 local youth living in the area and educate them. Merlin Group has donated 10 computers to TDH Suisse and DRCSC for running this Digital Skill Training Centre and also supports the remuneration of the trainer. .
TdH Suisse – A Swiss Child rights organization supports local grass root organizations across 4 States (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and West Bengal) in India, of which DRCSC is a partner- DRCSC is a non-profit organization working across 1 districts in West Bengal and currently implementing a project in Dhapa areas to provide educate support to marginalized children. Merlin Group CSR have partnered with TdH Suisse to co-fund the project across 5 urban slums in the Dhapa and Tangra region, situated at a close proximity to Merlin X site. The project impacted 420 children in 2023 with education support and ensured that they retain in public schools.
The project caters to the children belong to families who are into daily wage works, rag picking, plastic and electronics waste collectors, rickshaw pullers and odd jobs, where family income ranges between INR 2000 to 5000. 70% of families have been staying here for past 15 years with limited access to entitlements and services. A meagre 49.5% children who have been to school finds it difficult to continue education as they are mostly first-generation learners and lack education support at home. Dropping out of education system not only make these children vulnerable but make them fall prey to other forms of exploitation such as abuse, violence, trafficking etc.
The collaborative project partnered by Terre De Suisse Homes (TDH Suisse) , Merlin I am Kolkata and DRCSC offers value-based education (that include curricular and child rights education) coupled with direct community actions to transform children and youth as Actors of Change. Our support 5 education centers are equipped with trained educators who deploy contextualised learning and interactive pedagogy to deliver classes that not only reinforce better learning opportunities but also enable them to take actions, build advocacy with stakeholders and make their voices heard. The project will also strengthen 5 public schools (Bhoothnath Mahamaya Boys, Bhoothnath Mahamaya Girls, Janakalyan Sikshamandir, Shastriji Harijan Vidyamandir and Tarun Tirtha Prathamic Vidyalaya) through parent-teachers meeting, support School Management Committees and child cabinets to function properly.