DMU Square Mile India teams up with new project to give child beggars new start

Handmade products made by children in the slums of India are being sold on De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s campus to help raise funds for their education.

Gift bags, notebooks, photo frames and plant pots have all been made by the young people at the Gandhi Ashram, a children’s home in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, thanks to charity Earn N Learn.

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They are on sale in DMU’s Confucius Institute with all proceeds from the sale going to fund the charity’s work to get children into education and away from begging in the streets.

DMU Square Mile India works closely with the ashram. Staff and students support a special charitable sponsorship scheme which will initially provide essentials like books, medicine, equipment for the children.

Earn N Learn is the charitable arm of Manav Sadhna, the organisation which looks after the ashram - where Mahatma Gandhi lived for 12 years.

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Amy White, DMU public engagement officer, said: “All the products are handmade, which means no one product is the same, as they all have a uniqueness about them.

“Earn N Learn allows the youngsters to learn new skills and value, while also offering children the chance to enjoy their childhood in a safe and nurturing environment.

“To be part of the handmade product team, all children must partake in formal education, as one of the main aims of Earn N Lean is to help children get back into school.”

Notebooks cost between £2 and £6, cards are just £1 and there are pen holders, bags and other handmade goods to choose from.

Many of the children who are part of Earn N Learn were begging on the streets to support their families before they joined the charity.  During a recent #DMUglobal visit to the ashram, students and staff from DMU’s Product Design course worked with children on products and new designs.

Plans are in place to run competitions for Earn N Learn’s youngsters to design special themed cards – such as Diwali, graduations, Eid and Christmas - to be sold on campus.

As well as bringing back products to sell on campus, the DMU Square Mile India team have handed over 350 bookmarks the children made especially for Rowlatts’ Hill Primary School.

Square Mile India was launched in February 2015 to make a positive change for the people living in the slum of Ramapir No Tekro, Ahmedabad. A series of projects will share the skills of DMU students and staff to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable families in the area, as well as give an international dimension to DMU’s successful Square Mile project.

Posted on Tuesday 12th July 2016

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