The Power of Reading
Day in and day out, 12-year-old Mohsin went to work at a book-binding business near his house in Meerut, a city in northern India.
He arrived at 9 a.m., and he left at 7 p.m. In between, he carried books.
“I would be so tired that I’d just sleep,” Mohsin says. “The whole day I’d carry piles of books; my hands would hurt terribly.”
He earned about 30 cents a week to help his family — his father is ill and can’t work, and his mother, Kanij, works odd jobs. Kanij appreciated the help that Mohsin’s work brought to the family.
This is a common situation for many children in India, where 3.25 million children ages 5 to 14 work.
No time for school
With such long, physically exhausting days of work, Mohsin didn’t have time to play, nor could he attend school.
“I was surrounded by books, but I didn’t know what was in them,” he says. “I was always curious to know what they contained. All I thought about was how it would be if I could study these books I carried tirelessly all day.”
In 2013, World Vision began a project in Meerut to help children not attending school by creating 14 centers for children to attend. Staff members identify children who are working and invite them to attend a center.
At the center, the children get tutoring and learn—for some it’s their only education. The staff also teach children about issues related to child protection. Twenty-one local teachers have spent countless hours tutoring more than 3,000 children at the centers.
Mohsin began attending, and the center’s staff also spent time speaking with his family about the importance of a child getting educated, which is another key component of the project.
“After World Vision came and spoke to me, I realized that his life could be better through education,” Kanij says.
World Vision also works with families to provide them with better economic opportunities and connect them with government services they may be eligible to receive. These programs help children go back to school by not having to provide for their families. So far, in Meerut, the World Vision centers and government programs in this project have impacted more than 2,300 families and 7,600 children.
Photo©2016 World Vision, Mahima Shashank