Children attending Utkarsha come from the poorest of the poor sections of the society living in the slums. These underprivileged children have no access to basic needs such as running water, toilets and electricity. The main profession of the parents is rag-picking, petty sales and begging. These underprivileged children are discriminated and are not accepted in the main-stream schools. Children who should be in school at this tender age are left on the streets to play, while their parents are off to work. In addition to the underprivileged poorest of the poor children, we have enrolled special children from the foundations care home “Asha Kiran”. These special children once again are severely discriminated and are not accepted in regular government schools because of their medical condition. All the children at Utkarsha are provided with the required learning tools, transportation from home to school and are served with clean and nutritious meals in the school. Our teachers act as guides, facilitators, counsellors and provide the emotional security that our children most need. The children accessing the learning center are first-generation learners. The challenges faced by these learners are very different to children coming from educated urban families. First-generation learners require lots more visual stimuli in the classroom as they get no form of encouragement or resources back at home. The biggest challenge for our children is developing language skills in terms of reading, writing and comprehending. Their biggest strengths are survival-based learning like excellent practical math skills. We strive to teach the state curriculum keeping in mind our children’s strengths and their preferred learning style. The onus is on the school to provide a rich visually stimulating environment. This can be done through access to computers, smartboards, teaching and learning material
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