Nitya Bal Vikas Deutschland e.V. is a German non-governmental organisation (NGO) that was founded by 7 college students in June 2015 with the aim to improve educational outcomes and to ensure fundamental rights especially of underprivileged women and children in India.
Between 2012 and 2013, all of us spent at least a year working in non-governmental organizations in Delhi, India, where we experienced the huge disparity and inequality in the sub-continent first-hand.
Our Indian partner for our efforts in Bihar:
Especially children coming from a low socio-economic background or marginalized sections are at a high risk of falling behind in school. Not only are these children often malnourished and impoverished, they are also deprived of an education that would enable them to escape this situation.
Upon growing up, these children loose the connection to a job market that could provide them with a sufficient income and thus, are left with poor prospects for the future.
Schools in India are segregated. The children of the poor visit free governmental schools that on a large scale fail to provide even the minimum norms to which children are legally entitled to. In 2018, there is still a huge disparity between different States with rather developed ones like Kerala on the one end and those which are lagging behind like Bihar on the other end.
Our work on education concentrates on the State of Bihar. The situation there can be described like this: Up to 700 children share three class rooms and 100 students are often supervised by only one teacher. Sanitary facilities, if existent, are poorly maintained, and drinking water as well as teaching materials or school supplies are often missing. Learning is usually not happening, the reasons thereof being manifold.
Different stakeholders like teachers, principals, students, parents, and government officials constantly blame each other for the situation and dialogues are seldom productive. At the same time, the problem has so many different aspects that finding the one solution is simply not possible.
The main cause for children leaving school is that they are not learning in dysfunctional schools. It has been shown that it is not child labor that causes children to drop out, but that dropping out causes child labor.
From a legal perspective, every child in India is constitutionally entitled to quality education, yet inequity and segregation are the reality.
Many foreign NGOs fund the establishment of private schools. This however further undermines the principle of quality education as a right and increases inequity by picking the “lucky few”. Critical in this context is also the increasing dependency on foreign support and donations that promotes governmental ignorance and continuation of the current political administration to overlook children’s rights and education in particular.
We at Nitya Bal Vikas Deutschland e. V. want to understand the core problems that are faced by underprivileged children and women in India and we want to approach the problem from a different angle.
In our opinion, exchange and collaboration with Indian NGOs, administrations and governments is absolutely crucial in order to change the current situation, since sustainable change can only be fostered and supported, but not created from outside.
Only then, long-lasting improvements can be expected to result in a stronger education system that supports underprivileged children in India regardless of their background.
The Indian NGOs that we choose to support are well selected and evaluated, most importantly by regular visits from our board members Martin Haus and Benjamin Scholz. This allows us to stay in close contact with the local staff and keeps us updated about the current situation. Issues can be discussed once they appear and the best possible solutions can be found by collaboration.
In the past, various projects could be successfully funded and supported in this way by Nitya Bal Vikas Deutschland e. V. (as for example, the project "Sleepwell" helping homeless people in Delhi or a project setting up tailoring courses for women in rural Rajasthan).
One of the most important projects that we recently initiated is the Bihar Education Policy Center, a pro-people, bi-partisan think-tank which focuses particularly on the improvement of the governmental school sector in the State of Bihar looking into areas such as fund-flows, classroom practices, administrative setups and state capacity.
By following a localized, rights-based approach to ensure quality education for all children, we are working together with our Indian partners for ensuring a better future for the upcoming generation.