Aasraa Trust was established as a social work trust focusing on education of underprivileged children in 2009, in response to a crisis for intervention for the welfare of children from the riverbed slum under the Bindal bridge. Aasraa then worked with the river bed community to promote the need for education and started an after school project to augment school education.
Project Street Smart was started on the pavements of Astley Hall in 2011 with a group of 5 street children. The objective was to keep the children off the streets and provide them with basic literacy through art, craft, music and audio visual medium.
Today, Aasraa works towards empowering street and slum children through education, vocational training, nutrition, medical care and providing shelter homes. Our mission is to level the playing field for children who have neither seen books nor stepped into a school. The children we work with come from extremely impoverished backgrounds and are mostly rag pickers, beggars, addicts, runaways and orphans. We work with more than 3351 children.
Ten years later:
- We run two main projects called ‘Street Smart’, that initiates street children to education and aims to send them to mainstream schools. Close to 828 children attend this program. 1021 children have been mainstreamed till date.
- ‘Wings of Doon’, an after school remedial program meant for providing support for children who attend mainstream school and support close to 1895 students through this initiative.
- Nutrition – As a part of these program children are provided with nutrition ranging from meals to a supplementary snack of milk, biscuits and bananas every day.
- Medical care is provided to the children on a daily basis. This also includes immunization, regular de-worming, vitamin supplements and surgeries if required.
- Anti Begging Campaign – We run a Anti-child Begging program in conjunction with the local District Administration and a child welfare organization called Childline. Under this program we bring in children off the streets and into our basic literacy programs.
- Vocational training – Children who attend our literacy programs have the opportunity to take Vocational Training in sectors such as Sewing, Carpentry and Computers (IT skills). Aasraa is now a certified Vocational Training Institute under the NIOS.
- Shelter Homes for boys & girls who are from poor backgrounds,orphans, abandoned children and children from rural districts of Uttarakhand which enables them to acquire quality education in the future.
- We support a local residential government school, Rajkiya Purva Madhyamik Vidhyala in Dehradun by supplementing their meals, improving and maintaining the infrastructure.
- Aasraa is the only study and exam center for Open Basic Education program (classes 3, 5 & 8) of National Institute of Open Schooling in Dehradun. This is a boon for older children who have never been a part of a formal classroom and are unable to gain entrance in their age appropriate classes.
- We have launched a new project in August 2015 called ‘Mobile Learning Centre’ for street and slum children who beg and ragpick for a living and do not attend school. These learning centres are buses which have been modified to suit the needs of a classroom. These are equipped with audio visual learning, educational materials, meals & refreshments along with basic medical care. Currently, we have five Mobile Learning Centers, and two refurbished vendor carts that operate as education centers and reach over 400 children everyday.
- Sponsored by The Hans Foundation our 1st Mobile Computer Lab (MCL) was launched on October 11th, 2016 and the 2nd lab was launched in 2018. Two 26 seater buses have been redesigned to be computer labs for 20 students at a time, accommodating 2 students per terminal. Fitted with 10 computer terminals, power back up and internet connectivity, these buses are the start of a revolution in Computer Education across Uttarakhand. Program caters to 712 children currently.
- In February 2019 we signed an MOU with the Education Department of the Government of Uttarakhand and The Education Alliance to turn 6 underperforming government schools into centers of excellence under SQEP (School Quality Enhancement Programme) Under the SQEP official mandate we have impacted and improved the learning levels of 700 children at these schools. This is a game changer for the education imparted at government schools in Dehradun.
- We launched our Special Needs Center in May 2019 sponsored by The Hans Foundation. This center aims to educate and train children with special needs to carry out daily tasks independently, to control behavioural issues and provide support to the parents and community to become active participants in their child’s develpment. There are currently 51 children at the center.
Aasraa Trust has a team of dedicated young teachers who mentor and care for the children. Our aim is to love, nurture and educate children from socioeconomically deprived backgrounds and give them an opportunity that helps them flourish into good human beings and responsible citizens.The Trust is governed by a board of trustees with backgrounds in education, De-addiction and social work.