“Of India’s 400 million children under 15 years, possibly up to 35 million are orphans. 11 million are abandoned (90% girls); 3 million live on the street. There are 20 million child laborer…some estimate claim 50 million. Up to two-thirds of children suffer physical abuse, and one-half some kind of sexual harassment or abuse.” –Operation World, 2010.
Through Village Kids program in rural villages, tribal and outcaste children are developing a greater awareness of their worth and their opportunities, envisioning a future without poverty, and acquiring knowledge and skills that will enable them to become contributing citizens. From this starting point, the children will have opportunity to seek vocational training and higher education. STEP centers also provide health, recreation, and counseling services morals, and cultural values. At a very early age, tribal children become contributors to the family livelihood, receiving no education. A weekend initiative for these unschooled children provides them a meal and learning materials. In each village, 40-50 students attend every week. At present, we have 7 children clubs impacting 400-500 children in a week. Our future goal is to select a large group of interested students from these children clubs and provide them an English education in our school, situated in the main campus of the STEP.