In Sindh, 51.25% of the total population resides in rural areas with 75% living in abject poverty. The population dependence is on sustenance farming, which is insufficient to cater to the nutritional and economic needs. People do not have access to basic amenities of life, and education seems an unrealized dream for the majority of the population.
Program Umeed is a key ECD initiative of Rupani Foundation in Sindh’s rural areas for 3 to 8 years age group. It focuses on a hybrid approach (blend of Montessori and High Scope). It works with community based schools to promote Early Childhood Care & Education in rural Sindh. This formal school is an endeavour to create “Hope” for the underprivileged by providing age appropriate facilities and learning material and ensuring engagement of parents in their children’s ECD schooling. It aims at providing age appropriate learning environments, facilities; sustainable resources to community-based schools and encourages an active parental environment in classroom settings. Along with this, the project keeps engaging communities in awareness sessions targeting unhealthy aspects and practices that prevail in a particular community. Currently, the program is being implemented in 5 centres with children enrolled in classes ECD-1 to ECD-4.
RF believes that community involvement is imperative in the enhancement of childhood learning in particular and society in general. Umeed program has an edge in bringing the parental involvement in community-based schools to such a level that they can easily participate at administrative level. Parents have the opportunity to get involved in the restructuring of the school environment so that they can give input in forming cultural appropriate school environment. The government school lack resources and lack of parents involvement in the administration, this program creates a niche for parents to have say in school activities. With the due participation of parents, Umeed programme aims at strengthening the committees that control the helm of affairs in the school, be it administrative or educational. Through strengthening the school management committees, the expectations of the parents can easily be translated into the policy level and put into practice in daily administration. As there is a lack of opportunities and resources available in Sindh province, this program has a core objective of providing age-appropriate curriculum and materials for the holistic development of a child.