Jammu: The collaboration between PNB MetLife, a leading private player in the Indian life insurance space, Jammu & Kashmir Bank and child rights organization CRY- Child Rights and You, has successfully benefited over 700 children in the valley.
These children have been mainstreamed in government schools last year through a unique concept called Children Activity Centres (CAC). In a landmark achievement, the state government has not just recognized CAC but is also considering adopting it as a model for Non Residential Bridge Course (NRBC) of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan. The impact and progress of the program is regularly monitored by PNB MetLife with support from Jammu & Kashmir Bank, their bancassurance partners.
Buoyed by the concept’s (CAC) success, Jammu and Kashmir Association of Social Workers (JKASW) which runs these centres through CRY’s technical support and PNB MetLife’s funding, has now been invited by the state education department to train NRBC district coordinators and allied staff across 12 districts. The concept was first introduced by CRY in 2010 with an objective to counter the huge number of out of school children including drop-outs. Through this community based facility, children are imparted age specific education and subsequently integrated into mainstream schools. Aligned to the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, the program also includes clearance of six internal exams and the final NRBC exam conducted by the education department for integration into formal schools.
Encouraged on the development, Sameer Bansal, Director Bancassurance, PNB MetLife, said, “We launched our CSR programme in J&K in 2014, with our esteemed partners Jammu & Kashmir Bank. We conducted a survey on key issues being faced by the local communities and decided to promote the cause of child education. Children are the future of any country and we are happy that we could make a small contribution towards this goal. This recognition by the State Government is a testimony of our success and we are very proud of it."
Ashfaq Ahmed Mattoo, Executive Director – JKASW said, “There were several challenges to deal with starting with community outreach, mapping and identification of out of school children, finding qualified teachers at community level and training them, working with government officials and schools etc. The process of mainstreaming starts with the parents since most of them are uneducated and expect their children to contribute to the family income mostly through home based work.”
Besides being a platform for education, CACs provide multi-faceted and multi-cultural space for children to interact, share and learn together. With support from PNB MetLife, the network of these centres grew to 28 CACs that are spread across four districts of Srinagar, Pulwama, Baramullah and Bandipora. Since its inception, more than 3500 children have been benefitted and close to 1600 children have been integrated into mainstream schools.
Soha Moitra, Director - CRY said “The outcome of the initial CAC’s were extremely encouraging. So what started as an experiment soon morphed into a structured program with even the education department giving its nod. Collaborating with PNB MetLife helped us reach out to the most marginalised communities.”
Additionally in prompt response to the floods in 2014 which led to an abrupt shutdown of all schools in the valley, ‘winter tuition centres’ were initiated on similar lines helping close to 1300 children staying connected with education.
Soha further stated, “The winter tuition centres further strengthened people’s trust in our work and helped us reach out to more children. The government recognition is a validation of our efforts and motivates us to continue doing our job despite the odds”.
PNB MetLife, under its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme in India, joined hands with Child Rights and You (CRY) in the year 2014 for improving the conditions of children in Jammu & Kashmir. The partnership is currently benefitting over 16000 children across 30 Panchayats of J&K State.
About PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited
PNB MetLife India Insurance Company Limited (PNB MetLife) is one of the fastest growing life insurance companies in the country having as its shareholders, MetLife International Holdings Inc. (MIHI), Punjab National Bank Limited (PNB), Jammu & Kashmir Bank Limited (JKB), M. Pallonji and Company Private Limited and other private investors, with MIHI and PNB being the majority shareholders.
For more information, visit www.pnbmetlife.com
CRY – Child Rights and You (formerly known as Child Relief and You) is an Indian NGO that believes in every child’s right to a childhood – to live, to learn, grow and play. For over 30 years, CRY and its partners have worked with parents and communities to ensure Lasting Change in the lives of more than 20 Lakh underprivileged children. For more information please visit us at www.cry.org.
For media enquiries contact: Trupti Rane, Senior Manager, Media Advocacy, North, CRY, email id:firstname.lastname@example.org, phone no 09999084765