Education holds immense importance for self-empowerment, especially in rural areas where marginalized communities face significant challenges. DDS recognizes this and prioritizes improving education opportunities for both children and adults, and using new innovative pedagogies, emphasizing its transformative role.
Night Schools/Bridge Schools – 1992:
From 1992 to 2002, DDS operated night schools as a pathway for working children to transition into regular schools. Local dalit men and women were trained to teach these children, and they were supported in designing their own textbooks. Graduates of night schools moved on to summer bridge schools and eventually joined Social Welfare Hostels and Government Residential schools to continue their education.
Balwadies – 1989:
Initially established as child-care centers, DDS’s Balwadies evolved into creative learning and nutritional centers for young children. These centers have received recognition from international forums like the Global 2000. Various tools and activities such as songs, stories, play with sand and water, theater, puppets, card games, and weekly outings contribute to the creative growth of children. The Balwadies emphasize the importance of biodiversity and local food culture, and they provide highly nutritious millet-based foods to ensure the children’s optimal nutrition.
Pachasaale – 1992:
Pachasaale is a unique school for working children aged 9 to 15 years. It combines formal education with practical life skills, creating an education program that is relevant to rural children. In addition to traditional subjects, the children at Pachasaale learn skills such as permaculture, carpentry, pottery, paraveterinary sciences, herbal medicines, masonry, tailoring, and bookbinding.