Srinagar: The collaboration between PNB MetLife, a leading private player in the Indian life insurance space, Jammu & Kashmir Bank and child rights organization CRY- Child Rights and You, has successfully benefited over 700 children in the valley.
These children have been mainstreamed in government schools last year through a unique concept called Children Activity Centres (CAC).
In a landmark achievement, the state government has not just recognized CAC but is also considering adopting it as a model for Non Residential Bridge Course (NRBC) of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. The impact and progress of the program is regularly monitored by PNB MetLife with support from Jammu & Kashmir Bank, their bancassurance partners.
Buoyed by the concept’s (CAC) success, Jammu and Kashmir Association of Social Workers (JKASW) which runs these centres through CRY’s technical support and PNB MetLife’s funding, has now been invited by the state education department to train NRBC district coordinators and allied staff across 12 districts.
Encouraged on the development, Sameer Bansal, Director Bancassurance, PNB MetLife, said, “We launched our CSR programme in J&K in 2014, with our esteemed partners Jammu & Kashmir Bank. We conducted a survey on key issues being faced by the local communities and decided to promote the cause of child education. Children are the future of any country and we are happy that we could make a small contribution towards this goal. This recognition by the State Government is a testimony of our success and we are very proud of it.”
Ashfaq Ahmed Mattoo, Executive Director – JKASW said, “There were several challenges to deal with starting with community outreach, mapping and identification of out of school children, finding qualified teachers at community level and training them, working with government officials and schools etc. The process of mainstreaming starts with the parents since most of them are uneducated and expect their children to contribute to the family income mostly through home based work.”
Additionally in prompt response to the floods in 2014 which led to an abrupt shutdown of all schools in the valley, ‘winter tuition centres’ were initiated on similar lines helping close to 1300 children staying connected with education.
Soha further stated, “The winter tuition centres further strengthened people’s trust in our work and helped us reach out to more children. The government recognition is a validation of our efforts and motivates us to continue doing our job despite the odds”.