Educating the 'Unreached'
Midday Lunch, supported by Sai Seva Sansthan, sector 40 Noida
Children absorbed in listening to stories by "Dadaji" Col. Chopra (retd)

JWP had also been engaged in campaigning for free compulsory primary education for all children in slums and rural areas, where ever it intracts with women and the community for their rights as citizens of the country. The initiative in Nithari Noida, named MERA SAHARA, started in 2007 with very little resources. The centre provides crèche facilities and schooling up to class 5. The centre now has 150 children and 30 school dropout and child labourers who come after 3.00 PM for their educational programme.
The children of Nithari stand as a stark reminder of the insecurity of the poorest children in India. When several children went missing in late 2006 in Nithari, the police initially took no notice of the parents’ pleas for an effort to find them. When many of them were eventually found murdered, NGOs, the print and electronic press exposed the horror story. At this point, JWP conducted a survey of the area to find out the needs of the community and especially of the children with resulted in JWP starting a protection cum learning centre for children.


The parents are construction workers, part time labourers and domestic workers who go to work early morning and return late in the evening. Their children thus are not cared for, running about in the streets and bylanes, and falling easy prey to anti social elements. A survey by JWP revealed that over 500 children required care and protection in this area and therefore the decision to start an Education-cum-Protection centre for Nithari children became urgent. JWP had to collect financial support from a local garment factory PRATI CREATIONS and TECH MAHINDRA FOUNDATION to start the Nithari Centre.

In 2008, there were two brothers in class 2, children of Bangladeshi refugees. Both these boys, intelligent and enterprising, had won all the class prizes in the JWP centre. During a meeting, the JWP Director asked the children what they would like their centre to be called. One of the brothers immediately said “MERA SAHARA” and all the children endorsed it. The centre thus acquired its name. The explanation given by the children was, that this centre will give them support and protectio and also equipped for their future life to become Sahara for each other.
Overnight, in early 2009, these two brothers and their family disappeared. Nobody could say why they had gone away. In the process, two of the best students were lost to the Centre. It is hoped that they have been able to continue to study in the place they have moved to. MERA SAHARA will always remember them


Both Formal and Non Formal Education. It runs an educational programme for children of the age group of 4-12 Years, the classes are from 1st to 5th standard. It also has a creche and pre-primary programme. For the school dropout adolescent girls and women there are adult education classes, legal and health education prgrammes and skill training in tailoring, durry making and computer classes. Regular comunity meetings are organised to provide information about existing schemes and policies of the Government which they can avail off. They also helped to enalyse problems of children, violence and health issues and other local cocerns.