By 2005 with Janpath’s efforts of bringing community together on a single platform to give collective identity-voice, and to bring community leadership had great impact. Thus an issue of education, quality started coming up in the multistakeholder’s consultation that we use to conduct to invite community, traders, organizations, and government into the desert for discussing issues. Since 2005 community’s struggle for advocating for quality education in the desert started.
With no clear policy demanding for governments accountability for having schools in the desert, “Desert Schools” responsibility was toggled between NGO’s and government.
Community with the help of field fellows several representations, complaints were done from time to time. In some government had sudden round of inspection to NGOs to find out that the grant given by government was not utilize properly. Also many organizations used to take grants from multiple sources for the schools.
It was finally in 2006, when complaints started coming in for not having schools in the desert till November we advised community leaders to take initiative and start community schools.
Community got together to make small huts, searched for the youths from the community, collected contributions to pay him upto Rs.1000, and they started with 4 schools near Surendrangar side of the Desert. However on the other side of the desert, community could pressurize government to start alternative learning classes (ALS).
Right to Education was enacted in the year 2009. Our radio programme for Agariyas celebrated this initiative of the government. Various people were asked to speak on how RTE will now ensure school to every child.
With support from AID the school children were given nutritious food and educational and recreational kits. Due to media interventions various parent organizations and kids from other schools started visiting desert school sharing concerns.
Community were supported to file complaints under Right to Educaiton and then make use of RTI to make them accountable and answerable for the decision taken on the complaint.
Thus government at least in one district, accepted Education is their responsibility and right of every child and took initiative to start schools in the desert which were equivalent to full time schools.
Trained teaches were sent to the desert. 8 last year, when media highlighted these initiative in the media with community demanding for mid day meal, government had to start hot cooked food during last month of the academic year.