Bakhel is a small community situated a couple of hours away from Udaipur in Rajasthan in India. Officially classified as ‘tribal’ by the government, the community has not benefitted from rapid economic growth happening elsewhere in India. Indeed, it is amongst one of the poorest and most marginalised in India.
Families in Bakhel survive through subsistence farming, with 98% of them living below the poverty line of 32 Indian Rupees (£0.40) per day. There is very limited infrastructure in place, with over 80% of households lacking access to safe drinking water and 90% of the households lacking access to electricity. A quarter of all households have experienced the loss of a child under five.
The literacy rate of Bakhel stood at 20%, compared to the Indian national average of 73%. Over 80% of adults over-25 in the community had never been to school themselves and half of all children of school age were not in any form of education. In comparison, India reports 96% enrolment rates nationally. Instead of going to school, children contribute to their households either by working in the fields or looking after younger siblings. Without an education, children are unable to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty.
We work to ensure integrated provision of education, healthcare and community development services in Bakhel. Educate for Life works in partnership with local organisations to successfully achieve this and to comply with Indian legislation.
Our ultimate aim is to enable socio-economic transformation in Bakhel and for the integrated services provided in Bakhel to be a source of inspiration for best practice in rural education and healthcare in marginalised communities in India.
Educate for Life believes in the need to provide integrated education, health and community development services to enable the best possible outcomes for all community members. Our work is guided by the following principles:
In 2007, in response to a request from the community for a functional and reliable school for their children to attend, we built Hunar Ghar School. We wanted to create a school of the highest quality and serve one of the most marginalised communities in India, working with love, compassion, and respect.
Today, Hunar Ghar is a successful school, with over 400 children enrolled each year. The very first students have ‘graduated’ and, for the past three years, nearly all students completing their education at Hunar Ghar have gone on to continue their studies in secondary schools. This is an amazing achievement.
Hunar Ghar acts as a hub for community-related development and healthcare services as we ensure the community receives a seamless package of support from pregnancy to adulthood. Lives and life chances of children growing up in Bakhel are truly being transformed.
Working with local partners and Hunar Ghar School to support mothers and children through pregnancy, delivery and childhood to adopt healthy practices and access essential government health services. Regular community-wide health camps and mobile clinics.
Working with Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti (RBKS) and Hunar Ghar School to provide an inclusive and holistic education for children to age 14. High academic standards are combined with co-curricular activities and high levels of community engagement.