Earthquake is one of the biggest natural disaster and leads to huge loss when it comes and takes away lots of lives with it. When the earthquake hit Bhuj in 2001, for the inhabitants of the Kutch district, a lot was lost. From family to livelihoods, it took years to rehabilitate the people but the children, especially girls who dropped out of school during the disaster never returned to mainstream education.
Apart from regular schooling, an NGO realized the need of a learning centre which teaches basic skills of life especially to the adolescent girls. This informal schooling system will teach girls with literature, maths and basic life skills.
Similar types of programmes were started earlier also. Inspired by the programme called Udaan which started in Uttar Pradesh, there was a similar programme Care India started the project Adolescent Girls Learning Center (AGLC). Udaan allowed an accelerated learning model, for older out-of-school girls, age 9-14, in a residential setting.
According to Ashutosh Mishra this is response to the massive earthquake that had taken place in the year 2001 and disastrous situation was seen in Kutch due to which there were higher rates of illiteracy and drop-outs. Therefore, they came up with primary level literacy and numeracy focusing mainly on girl child because they face maximum resistance from the community. Ashutosh is the monitoring and evaluation officer at Care India.
The programme has however succeed. It has covered 600 girls in the remote blocks of Kutch, areas such as Abdasa and Lakhpat are covered.
At Present the 92 girls fall between the ages of 12 to 14 years.
Teachers are carefully selected covering the skills and ensuring regular training, capacity building and onsite support by CARE. Moreover, it is compulsory to appoint Women teachers and male teachers are not accepted. The English language was introduced in these residential schools.
Girls are taught things beyond basic literature and maths. Life skills along with excursions are taught. Also taught to speak in other languages than English on one hand and on other hand they are also taught to make use of ration cards, inform about banks and gram panchayats. How to introduce themselves and interact in both Hindi and English is also a part of the programme.
Communities where Women were not even allowed to go out are now learning essential life skills.
The students who had never seen a bicycle in their life are steadily driving one at AGCL. This was view of a student named Tejal who belongs to Darbar community where women are not even allowed to go out but now with the help of AGCL girls like Tejal are learning important skills and more intelligence than before.