RUGMARK Foundation (India) educates, rehabilitates and provides health care to the children removed from carpet weaving and also to the children of poor carpet weavers. It encourages community-based rehabilitation and runs various community development programmes.
RUGMARK opened its first primary school at Baribisa, Jagapur in 1996. From that day onwards RUGMARK has opened many schools and Balashrya (rehabilitation centre) in the heart of the carpet belt for the rehabilitation of child weavers who had been freed from the looms of RUGMARK licensees or were children of carpet weavers.
Basically, the rehabilitation of children freed from the looms or the rehabilitation of the children of weavers is done in four ways:
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The Foundation is running many schools including RM Balashraya (the rehab centre). The schools are located at Devnathpur -Lakhamanpatti, Bhodohi, Jagapur-Bhadohi, Barhi Newada-Varanasi, Handia-Allahabad, Cherapur-Bhadohi and Vijaypur-Mirzapur.
There are currently more than 2300 children making use of these learning facilities. These schools are an important step in fulfilling the educational needs of children from carpet-weaving families.
The children of carpet weavers are admitted into the schools with the idea of preventing them from getting caught in the vicious circle of child labour. The parents' proximity to the industry socio-economic factors has always posed a grave danger of their being sent to work at an early age.
They are provided formal education together with vocational training in various fields. Besides, medical attention, fun, and sports provide new perspectives for a different and better life. Some of the salient features of the RUGMARK Primary Schools are:
The medical camps are organised in the carpet belt to provide free medical check-ups and cater to the weaving community's health problems. The distribution of medicines forms an important part of such camps.
Sometimes, these weavers ignore their health problems due to a lack of time or because the village dispensary/health centre is located far from their village. The medical services in their own village provides them with an incentive to undergo regular medical check-ups. This often results in timely detection and proper treatment of ailments.
RUGMARK GETS A MOBILE HEALTH VAN
The Rotary Club of Delhi Midtown presented an Omni Ambulance to the RUGMARK Foundation for running and managing a Mobile Health Clinic in the carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh.
This mobile van is equipped with the basic medical facilities. It is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Seoul, Korea and the Rotary Club of Delhi Midtown under the Matching Grant programme of the Rotary Foundation of the Rotary International. This mobile medical van is, now, operational in the remote rural are and primarily attends to the health problems of the children and families of carpet weavers community apart from the students studying in RUGMARK Schools.
RUGMARK Foundation India provides formal and vocational education and takes care for former child labourers in its rehabilitation centre -'Balashrya' in the carpet belt of Uttar Pradesh.
The local children are also enrolled as day-scholars. This helps Balashraya kids to interact, and find a friendly environment in the company of local students who stay with their families. At BALAHSHRYA emphasis is laid on:
At BALASHRYA vocational training is provided in the following professions:
Carpet Weaving Center For Women-
Carpet weaving is a ‘household’ work in the famous carpet-weaving belt of Varanasi-Bhadohi-Gopiganj. However ironically, the house-women from this area till now had little participation in it. The carpet weaver families are mostly poor and the women of these families are mainly confined to home only.
Therefore, it was always felt that if the women also get an opportunity to work in the family business and support the family income, it could provide a great financial relief to the family. To support this cause, RUGMARK opened a Carpet Weaving Training Centre for women, in Gopiganj, Bhadohi towards the end of 2002. This centre is now providing training in carpet weaving to girls and women, who are more than 14 years of age.
This Training Centre provides them training in carpet weaving and gives them skills, which they can use to support their living.
The women get a stipend during their training to support their living. The Training Centre also gives them a chance to get away even though for a short while from the routine of their daily life. By looking at the trainees, one can clearly make out that they are enjoying acquiring new skills and finding good camaraderie in a different, supportive and friendly environment.