CCFC’s mandate to ensure children stay in school leads to lasting change in India
By Brianne Binelli, online content manager, Canada (with files from Lipi Jobson, communications manager, India)
There are many roadblocks to finding a good job. Just ask Chittiraikani Vazhivittan. Child labour was common when he was growing up in the village of Orampatti in India 20 years ago.
“Education was not preferred by the children in those days … due to the job opportunities available at firework factories,” confides the 31-year-old, explaining how his peers didn’t realize the lifelong impact of choosing to become unskilled labourers.
Luckily, Chittiraikani had a different fate. At the age of 11, he became sponsored through Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), supported through our local partner, SPEECH.
“Those days were unforgettable,” recalls Chittiraikani. “I participated in almost every program — programs like skills-training, educational camps, enrolment campaigns, medical camps.” He knew that if he dropped out of school he would lose access to the activities he enjoyed.
Staying in school was a message that remained with the sponsored child throughout his youth.
Today, as a temporary private-school botany teacher with a masters of science degree and a bachelor of education, Chittiraikani is pushing toward the next goal in his life’s journey.
Recently the constant learner took tests to make him eligible to work full time in a government-operated school. Landing such a job will improve his status in society and boost his income so he can provide for a family.
It’s little surprise Chittiraikani promotes the power of education to sponsored children coming up behind him. “Go to the maximum level in studies,” he advises. That’s the way to break the cycle of poverty and “settle in life.”
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About Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:
Christian Children’s Fund of Canada works globally to support children and youth who dream of a better world. For nearly 60 years, we’ve brought together diverse people and partnerships, driven by a common belief: education extends beyond the walls of a classroom and is the most powerful tool children can use to change their world. We focus on breaking barriers preventing access to inclusive, quality education for all, especially girls.