Play N Learn schools belong to students from diverse linguistic and regional backgrounds; be it Kannada speaking tribes at Fun N Learn, or rural Marathi speakers of Akola/ Nanded at Koparkhairne centre, or Rajasthani Jogi tribe at Sanpada. Sadly but not surprisingly, all the communities in need are caste marginalized.
Turbhe is a predominantly industrial area in Navi Mumbai. There are unorganized chawls, slums mixed in with industries, and a large dumping ground- These circumstances can be a cocktail of health-related issues due to pollution. Most people living in Turbhe are migrants from different parts of the country who have come here to make something of their life. Some of them worked as skilled labor in nearby factories - Electricians, Tailors, Carpenters, etc. Some have small businesses, and some work as day laborers who earn as low as Rs 150 a day.
For the kids of Turbhe, another problem waited, most kids don't have their own smartphones and once classes became online they had nothing to help. For some the cost of the Internet became a barrier, some dropped out of school to help struggling parents out and yet others didn't even have electricity to even start their miles-long journey to education.
Fun N Learn in the school
The families living here belong to the nomadic tribes of interior Maharashtra mostly around Pune and Ahmadnagar Most of them make a living selling bangles and jewelry
They migrate back to villages during monsoon as they don't have a permanent place to live in Mumbai although they have been living in the same place in temporary housing for more than 20 years.
The community was very welcoming for conducting play n learn sessions. As they lived in temporary settlements, we started conducting our sessions under the tree with available resources.
Our regular activities in Fun n Learn center attracted more Gen Z to join hands but that would have led to over crowding in fun n learn.
So, the more adventurous one, Roshni, decided to explore for more communities along the railway track adjacent to Thane Belapur road.
And hence IKEA Centre was started.
Kk-Ikea Centre, Navi Mumbai
The brutal effects of COVID 19 has led to mass migration of tribal, especially nomadic communities from their native place to cities like Navi Mumbai in search of jobs.
Anyone staying near Sanpada station and highway will agree to the post COVID 19 situation that number of children begging near the traffic signal has increased a lot.
Among the communities one of the community who were traditional basket weaver Jogi community from Rajasthan were very welcoming and agreed to let us create play n learn atmosphere.
Sanpada Bridge, Navi mumbai
When the lockdown started the first to be affected were the daily wage laborers, who quickly left because they didn't have any chance of surviving but most businesses in Turbhe suffered heavily because of it leading to increasing financial distress for these families.
Many Migrants from Akola and Nanded reside in this community. Children have access to education from local government schools, but due to lockdown many of them did not have access to online education. Hence we decided to start our center here to spread science education using play n learn method.
APMC center, Navi Mumbai