Educo Tangra school
Leader: Ms. Shazia Khatoon
Location: Christopher Road, Tangra, East Kolkata
Started: August 2010
Partner: Mr. Arvind Sinha [Documentary Film Director] Pupils: 220 [Creche, Junior & Senior Kindergarten, Remedial, Teenage & Adult Education Classes]
This project is born from a comment Shazia made when Arvind filmed her for a documentary about living in the slums of Tangra. Shazia, then 17, said she dreamed of one day running a school. Educo partnered with Arvind to make that dream a reality and now 8 years later, the school in Tangra educates 220 pupils.
Tangra, a predominantly Muslim slum in East Kolkata, is an area with one of the lowest literacy rates in Kolkata. Our school is non-denominational, and whilst most of the pupils are Muslim, there are also Hindu and Christian children enrolled. The pupils come from families earning a combined monthly income of between 2,500RS – 4,000RS, with parents working as auto & manual rickshaw drivers, shoe-makers and cleaners etc. Most children in this slum area generally do not get the opportunity to go to school and certainly most don’t get the opportunity to be educated in English and computer skills, so there has been a huge impact so far on the local community from our school. Shazia, our Head Teacher, and all the other teachers and helpers come from the local community and therefore understand the issues the pupils and their families face on a daily basis.
Educo has funded the rental of the school building for 3 years, until such time as we are able to buy or build a more permanent structure in the area to be able to accommodate Standards 1-10. In the long term, our aim is to make this school self- sustaining by charging parents a nominal fee of 100RS per month per child. Currently the school includes a creche, Kindergarten classes (which use the Montessori teaching method), and remedial classes for children aged 5-6 who are finding it difficult to get admitted into Standard 1 in local schools. Additionally the school offers teenage and adult education classes, in English, Computer Skills and Tailoring.
Educo Tangra goals
1. To locate a nearby building to buy or plot of land where we can build a larger school to accommodate the demand for Standard 1-10
2. To actively encourage the enrolment of girls to redress the lack of female education in the area
3. To encourage more adults from the local community to avail of our adult life-skills education programme, with English, computer and tailoring classes