The School on Wheels brings education to children who do not go to regular school. These children may be forced to work because of poverty, or there may be no nearby government school, or they and their parents may not understand the value of education. The School on Wheels reaches out to them by bringing a school to where they live. It provides informal schooling on sidewalks and in spare corners of slums. Even though the ‘centres’ usually consist of no more than a rug laid on the ground and a blackboard propped against a wall, they represent all the education some children will ever get.
Two teachers travel by bus to a total of 6 centres a day. Each teacher visits the same three centres every day, six days a week, and teach English, Maths and Hindi at each for 2-3 hours. After class they distribute a nutritious meal and at least once a week the Ambulance comes to check on the children and dispense medicine and treatment. Daily the Shower Bus also visits each centre and provides the children with a shower and cleansing products.
There are currently two School on Wheels bus and the program reaches about 500 children every day.
Unlike many government schools, the School on Wheels centres are fun and child-friendly. The teachers are diligent and loving and successfully manage to inspire large groups of children of all ages to attend. To begin with the challenge is to motivate the children to sit peacefully during the class, but soon they are keen to learn and make great progress.
In addition to learning to read, write and calculate, the children are taught social behavior and about the world and possibilities beyond their neighborhood. The health of the children improves as they learn personal hygiene, get vaccines and have the courage to go to hospitals. They also learn of the dangers of tobacco and drugs, and are made aware of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS. Local communities appreciate the project and, on seeing the results, are invariably eager for it to continue.
The first bus is funded by foreign individuals and by the Netherland based organization Children of Tomorrow . The second bus is supported by people of Singapore, Germany and The Netherlands.