24th July,2005

Project Details:

Name and Nature of the Project: Learning Centers for poor and deprived children in Bhatti Mines – providing basic education with holistic approach for the children from slums under parent organization Concern for Humanity.

Amount of fund approved: Rs. 4,16,000/- for the period from March 2005 to February 2006,

Total annual budget of the project: Rs. 4,52,000/- for two centers.

Total annual budget of Concern for Humanity: Rs. 8,00,000/-

Location (Town/ City, State): Balbirnagar and Indiranagar slums in outskirts of New Delhi

Date(s) of visit: 16th of July, 2005

Project Coordinator Name: Ms. Arpana Luthra

Project Coordinator Contact Information (Address, Email, Phone, Fax):

Ms. Arpana Luthra

252/1, Second Floor,

Shahpur Jat,

Opp. Panchsheel Comercial Complex

New Delhi – 110049

Tel No. 91-011-26490665 (not working for last six months)

Cell: 09810345783

Status during time of visit: 5th month after the project started.

Pre-visit Preparation:

The documents studied prior to the visit:

Project Proposal: Yes

Reference letter: No

Project correspondence: Yes

NTT: Yes

Financial requirements (may be a part of the proposal): Yes

Previous Project Visit reports: No

Previous quarterly reports: Yes

Previous Vibha Payments with dates: Yes

Project Analysis Spreadsheet: No

Transportation Used: Mumbai – Delhi to & fro by Air

IIC – Bhatti Mines – CFH office by project vehicle

CFH office to IIC by auto

Objectives of the visit:

- To study the profile of the project

- To study the input, output and impact of the organization on target group.

Methodology Used:

- Observing the organization activities in progress during site visit.

- Interaction with beneficiaries, staff and stakeholders during site visit.

- Observing body language, facial expressions and interaction among beneficiaries.

- Study of the records and files at project location and head office.

- Explanation on financials by project accountant

Observation and Process Evaluation:

Situational Analyses for Bhatti Mines : Concern for Humanity is a group of professionals who for last five years are helping and guiding other organizations from development sectors in their capacity building. According to Mr. Amit Kumar, Secretary of CFH, they charge nominal fees from grass root level organization and for funding agencies they coat high fees. In 2000, these experts decided to have their own front to conduct their development activities. In 2001, once it got registered under Societies Act, they started identifying the geographical locations where the children were in need of supportive education. In last four year, they have opened 23 learning centers for the age group of 6-14 years in various slums/villages in outskirts of Delhi. Out of these, one at Khanpur is closed down due to migration of the community. A non-formal school for tribal children at Ranchi is an additional project under CFH. Thus at present, CFH claims to be reaching out to 1,125 needy children.

Bhatti Mines is one of such geographical locations about 25 to 30 km from city. It is an illegal settlement by migrants about 15 to 20 years back. Though, the people have ration cards and voter’s card, the land is still considered to be unauthorized. Till now, digging red sand from mines for private builders was main source of income for this community. Since then the Govt. has declared this as an illegal activity and put ban on it this has affected the community very badly. While taking round in the community, the poverty was noticeable. According to the project coordinator Mr. Gajendra, an average family income is between Rs. 1800 to 2000 per month. The male members travel to Delhi to work on daily wages. Very few are fortunate to get job as driver for transport companies. Here, the children were found to be deprived of education as there is no Govt. school in their proximity. Most of the families have 5 to 6 children. CFH conducted survey to study the profile of the community and identify eligible children between age group of 4-6 for admission in the learning centers. According to Arpana, in both the slums 45 % of total population of eligible children are enrolled in learning centers.

Visit to Balbirnager Center: It is conducted in a tin roof structure measuring approximately 200 sq.ft. This space is owned by Basti Bachao Kendra and given on rent to CFH. At the time of visit 52 children were present making the center jam packed and suffocating. Out of which, 46 are on roll. This center runs from 2 PM to 5 PM but for our convenience it was shifted to morning for a day. On request, the class attendance register was shown and average attendance of the children was found to be 90 - 95 %. Most of the children looked neat & clean, very happy and active to be part of the center. Except very few, all were in the uniform. The prize tags hanging on the uniforms indicated that they were distributed recently. A group of 6 to 7 older children (8 to 9 yrs.) wearing different uniform was dominating the center activities. On enquiring, it was found that they attend situated in Sanjay nagar which is two and half km away. This Govt. school is up to tenth grade. This group attends regular school in morning and attends this center in afternoon. On Ms. Arpana’s repeated friendly request, the children sang group songs, poems and recited math’s table. Three children attempted to show their acquired reading and writing skills by writing their names on the black board. Ms. Soma the teacher/instructor is 12 std. pass who hails from Bihar and settled here after marriage. She appeared to be dedicated and putting her best efforts in her performance. Fortunately, she has full support from her family in doing full time job in spite of coming from very conservative community. She works for both the centers. The assistant instructor plays role of a helper. While talking about the proposed course schedule designed for the center, Arpana said, for time being, it is not followed strictly as Soma has her own way of conducting activities and Arpana prefers not to interfere in that. However, no records are maintained on activities done in past months. On talking to Soma, it was found that due to small space and congested with more number of children than capacity, she is finding very difficult to reach younger children to help them learn writing or reading from a book. At present she is focusing on personal hygiene and cleanliness.

While talking to mothers out side the center, they expressed their gratitude to CFH for opening such center for their children as otherwise they would have been fallen into trap of child labor to contribute to the family income. Due to this opportunity, they have some hopes for the brighter future for their children. One of them said, CFH should pursue the Govt. to start the school in Balbir nagar as the children have to walk two half km passing through deserted forest which is very scary for the children.

Visit to Indira nagar center: This is about 5 km from previous center. This is run in sufficiently open space covered by tarpolin allowing cool breeze. At the time of visit 31 children from enrolled 40 were present According to the asst. instructor of this center, the average attendance of this center is about 75% which was confirmed by going through the attendance register. Here all children were in age group of 4-6 and without domination of older children. Out of the present children six are attending 1st grade in Govt. school. Here also it was observed that the children attending regular schools were smarter in exhibiting their academic skills. Both the centers observe Saturday as sports day which includes playing with big plastic balls and flying discs.

In the same compound, the tailoring class for girls and women was going on. There were about 15 girls working on sewing machines and hand stitching. The uniforms are stitched by these girls. On asking about the return to these girls, Arpana said it is not yet decided how much to give them as this is more like giving them practice rather then giving Job work. However, insisting on stipend deserved by these girls, Arpana has promised to give a thought to it. This attitude of hers and Mr. Amit was very surprising and gave rise to suspicion. The salary received by Soma, asst. instructor and Mr. Gajendra were different from that mentioned in the project proposal. This further added to my above doubts.

Visit to Coordinating Office: This is an office in the city to coordinate all the projects under CFH. Our discussion was on following lines:

1)  While opening the discussion on records maintained on activities of the centers, Arpana informed that they do not have such records as Mr. Gajendra feels there is no point in writing daily or monthly records. Only in case of difficulty, he comes to Arpana, However, he informs her about progress of the centers verbally once in a month. It seemed Arpana is also of the same opinion. She also said that visiting the centers once in fifteen days gives her picture on happenings at both the centers. While giving such loose talks the exchange of gestures between her and Mr. Amit were noticed.

2)  On requesting, Arpana gave me a copy of survey form used to find profile of the community.

Though, there was a big file of filled forms, Arpana could not give answers to % of children attending regular school, % of girls attending regular school, % of dropouts from regular school etc etc the excuses were, after the survey, neither statistical analyses of findings were done nor summary on findings were prepared. So Strange!

3)  On asking permission received for FCRA account, Mr. Amit said till now they never had FCRA account. This is the first time they have collaboration with overseas funding agency i.e. Vibha. (However their proposal talks about their financial partnership with IFAD (ROME) and Mirabelle International). Both of them also expressed their grievances on the new bill passed on FCRA. (This new bill is for keeping strong vigil on users of FCRA and increase the accountability)

4)  Health check up component is totally missing in activity report as well as financial report. According to Arpana, they are not able to find doctor who is willing to go to the centers once a week to monitor health of the children. A big smile without feeling of guilt was the only answer to my comment that they should have informed Vibha about it.

5)  It is fifth month of the project, and yet all the children have not received uniforms. There was no sign of shoes, socks and belt as mentioned in the proposal. There was no point in inviting another excuse for this.

6)  Books and Stationaries – Except, regular school going children, rest of the children were carrying a slate and chalk-pen and one text book which does not cost more than Rs, 50/- (Rs. 200 for set of books per child is projected in the proposal) According to Arpana, they will be buying more.

7)  Supplementary refreshment includes biscuits made of rusk. She was not aware how many biscuits are provided per child.? According to her they buy in bulk, store in this head office and supply to the centers monthly. There were three bills for 9,900/- of each for biscuits bought in bulk. The packets of these biscuits were seen at the first center and from appearance they did not look so good. The quality of biscuits was a suspect.

8)  Salary of Staff: There is big discrepancy found in this financial aspect.

Projected in proposal / As told by the staff / As given in financial statement received by us / As per salary vouchers signed by receiver and Mr. Amit as authority
Coordinator – 5000/- p.m. / 2,500/- p.m. as salary + 1000/- cost of fuel / 5000/- / 3,500/-
Instructor – 3000/- p.m. Here Soma is instructor for both the centers / 1,100/- for both the centers / 3000/- / 1,800/-
Asst, instructor – 1,500/- x 2 = 3000 p.m. / 500/- to each instructor / 2000/- / 500/-

The figures told by the staff were part of the individual casual conversation with them. I feel the staff does not know how much they are supposed to get. Arpana also does not know about this conversation between the staff and me.

The clarifications given by Arpana and Amit were: 1) They felt, the salary coated in proposal is too high and staff do not deserve so much. 2) They wanted to save money from each installment to keep stand by if Vibha stops giving mid way. 3) It will help in making project self sustainable and 4) Part of the money goes to Arpana as honorarium which is not projected in proposal/ financial statement.

9)  Maintenance includes cost on telephone, Xeroxing and conveyance

10) Project administration cost includes 25% of total rent of this coordinating office.

11) There is no designed strategy to assess performance of the children.

12) There are no designed plans for mainstreaming the children in regular schools.

13) There was no clear answer for huge difference in budget for 23 center is Rs. 8,00,000/- and Vibha supported two centers is Rs. 4, 16,000/- ?

Outcome / Impact assessment:

The children learning reading writing skills and their clean and neat appearance indicate the outputs of the project. If these centers would not have been there, these children could have been prey to child labor. The strong willingness to send their children to these centers and expression of their demand for Govt. school indicates the awareness among the mothers. The children’s not so good performance was understandable as that was caused by presence of new faces, constant nagging by Arpana to perform and separation anxiety from their mothers. However, the lack of performance by people in charge was not understandable. The use of creative teaching aids and attractive materials is also missing here to make better impact.