School at the signal – it’s not a metaphor but an actual school under the Teen Haath Naka bridge in Thane, Mumbai. Signal Shala, started by a Pune-based NGO Samarth Bharat Vyaspith (SBV), is accredited by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).
Signal Shala is an innovative concept initiated by SBV, that aims to provide mainstream education to the children living on streets and terminate begging from their lives. The school provides primary and secondary education to underprivileged children by friendly learning methods, brings weak and deprived ones into mainstream education and develops cognitive skills of children through social participation.
Signal Shala is actually a residential school that provides food, shelter, clothes, books, grooming facilities, hygiene education and medical checkups/assistance to these little ones.
The school starts at 11 AM from Monday to Saturday and continues till 4:30 pm. After 4:30 pm, storytelling, magic shows and fun activities are conducted by the volunteers. Children visit their parents between 6:30-8:30 pm, after which they return to the premises and sleep for the night.
Here, the students celebrate every festival with parents and teachers. Along with this, the school also holds parent-teacher meetings regularly to educate parents about their responsibilities like asking them to keep their dwellings clean and to encourage their wards to finish the homework on time.
Bhatu Kashinath Sawant, CEO, Samarth Bharat Vyaspith, is the man behind this amazing initiative. He told NDTV, “It’s unfortunate that even after 70 years of attaining independence, we, as a nation, have failed our children. We have given them birth but not the childhood they deserve.”
Initiatives like Signal Shala is what India needs at the moment to achieve the literacy rate it aspires to reduce poverty.