With a budding IT industry and enormous multinational companies, Bangalore is one of the most modern cities in India. However, as with many developing world cities, it also has a very different side. There are extensive slum and quarry areas on the outskirts of Bangalore, where families carry out extremely arduous manual labor. The average wage earned there is just Rs. 60 a day, which is insufficient to live a decent life in India.
The people working at the quarries have to break huge boulders of granite and make them into small stones. They are only paid for the amount of stones broken.
Sinclair’s High School is a school for the poor and under-privileged children living in and around Bangalore. Founded by Mr & Mrs Paul Raj in 1990, it is one of many programs established by Bangalore City Mission.
In the quarries of Bangalore insufficient pay and hard labour often mean the whole family is involved in work – even the women and small children. Children living in these quarries are not sent to school because their parents cannot afford to educate them and the meager wage they earn helps the family survive.
Violet Paul Raj was deeply touched by these children, who had to work in the hot sun when they deserved to be playing and running around, as well as studying in school like any other child deserves to. So she started Sinclair’s School in the living room of her house with nine children.
Initially, the children’s parents objected, as these children had a part to play in the family’s maintenance. The children’s earnings were also often used to support the parent’s alcohol addiction (alcoholism is rampant in this community of laborers who work for daily wages). The mission encountered a lot of resistance and had to brush aside conflicts and oppositions from the people there. All of these children were living far below the line of poverty and their families could never imagine the cost towards paying for school tuition.
Today the community school has more than 600 children, most of whom could from the quarry and all of whom are living below poverty levels and could otherwise not afford schooling. Fifty of these children have graduated and are now in colleges around Bangalore. Several hundred children are still awaiting sponsorship. The school also plans to teach the children life skills like tailoring, carpentry, farming and teaching which they can use in the future to give them confidence to find meaningful and productive employment. In addition to the school, Bangalore City Mission runs many other programs including a centre for women in crisis, health care programs, community capacity building programs and income generation programs.
We believe that education empowers people, sharpens their skills and helps them to lead a healthy and productive life for themselves and the nation as a whole.