With 100 percent enrolment in all schools in the block area, Sasaram in Bihar is a commendable example of efforts of eradicating child labour. With concerted efforts through various project interventions supported by NEG-FIRE, of the 690 child labourers identified, 595 have stopped working in the quarry area and have been mainstreamed to the nearby government schools.
The project ‘Badhte Kadam – Empowerment to new frontier, Support and Synchronise the sustainability of Dalit Education’ which is a part of the bigger ‘Child Rights and Child Protection in Quarry areas’ programme, aimed at a complete eradication of child labour using RTE, and to ensure not only enrolment and retention but qualitative education for the Dalit, Tribal and Muslim children, victims of social and economic deprivation and religious exclusion in all 29 villages in the stone quarry area in Sasaram block, Rohtas district in Bihar within a span of 8 years (2008-2015). The essence of this project goes beyond the stated target of removing a certain number of children from deeply hazardous and exploitative labour in the stone quarries of Sasaram, and to send them to school. The project sought to eliminate child labour within the project area for all time to come using realistic approaches that would enable the children to come to school such as using local animators and resources, continuous capacity building of project staff and volunteers, identification and use of spaces within the schools, capacity building of parents and guardians, engagement with the administration, use of local folk media and more.
The intervention covered 30 schools and 31 Anganwadi centres that spread over 8 Panchayats and 29 villages. In the period between 2008 to 2016, 82% had been mainstreamed in schools, 58% were back in school and continuing their education, and 47% had been enrolled and remained in the system.