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Open School

Kolkata, India

The Issue

Despite the Indian Government outlawing child labour, it is still a common practice; UNICEF have recently estimated that there are over 60million child labourers in India. The city of Kolkata, where this project proposes to work, has a particularly high rate of child labour, with over 500,000 working children compared to 425,000 in full time education (Save the Children 2013). This project proposes to work with children, who are currently working in the leather industry, where they often sleep in factories, suffer from injuries, glue inhalation, and abuse. On average a child working in the leather industry will have received only two years of education and will have very limited future employment prospects. Many children currently working need to earn a living and provide financial support to their families and therefore unable to attend regular school. It is only through receiving quality education that these children stand a chance of breaking the poverty cycle and improving living standards for themselves and their families.

 What We Are Doing About It


This project provides children working and living in the slums of Kolkata access to education and life skills training, whilst simultaneously working with the local authorities to reduce incidences of child labour and improve working conditions. Learning for Life is working with our long established partner, Tomorrow’s Foundation (TF) to implement this project.  The project will enable working children and school dropouts to access education by utilising existing facilities to provide education for children outside of mainstream hours, thus enabling them to continue to provide for their families whilst simultaneously offering them the opportunity to get an education, obtain recognised qualifications and ultimately gain long-term, safe employment.


This is an extension of a successful model with a new group of participants, and we provide five extra after-school classes a day. We have identified a group of 240 children we aimed to engage with, who are currently trapped in hazardous work in leather processing factories and are living in the slums of Tengra, Kolkata. Our intervention provides a recognised, government-accredited curriculum delivered by qualified teachers in the evening after children have finished work. Extra-curricular activities provided for students to improve their self-confidence and interest in education. Alongside providing education, we are working to change the level of awareness and attitudes of all stakeholders including employers and parents towards child labour law, child protection and the benefits of the release of children from hazardous workplaces. We do expect that all stakeholders in the project area works together to prevent child labour and to reintegrate child labourers into society.

Project Partners & Sponsors

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Learning For Life is a Registered Charity. Charity Registration Number: 1105277

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