Pratima Kamble, Senior Coordinator-Education for the northern and western region of India and the lead for Child Participation and Youth Advocacy (CPYA) program, Miracle Foundation India

With 9+ years of work experience in the social sector and proven abilities in program management, impact assessment, developing new strategies and community development, Pratima Kamble has been working in the field of Education, Child Rights, CSR, Women Empowerment, Children in Need of Care and Protection and underprivileged children. Currently, working as a Senior Coordinator-Education for the northern and western region of India and the lead for Child Participation and Youth Advocacy (CPYA) program at Miracle Foundation India, she has presented papers at the National and International seminars. She is also a certified career counsellor. She strongly believes that children are the best teachers as they teach you things in unexpected ways.  Decisions made for a child should not be solely made by adults, but adults and children need to work together to see that decisions are in the best interest of the child.

The Miracle Foundation supports children in need of care and protection (CNCP) to have a better quality of life while bringing about sustainable change that reduces the need for child care institutions (CCIs). In order to achieve this, our core initiatives include providing highly specialized training and resources for social workers, caregivers and government officials that make decisions impacting millions of vulnerable children. In addition, we ensure every child thrives and is entitled to an education, nutrition, health, and protective services by leveraging our proprietary Thrive Scale™ Methodology.

For the past 20 years, Miracle Foundation has improved the lives of more than 15,000 children and impacted almost 300 CCIs.

Ensuring every child receives a quality education and acquires the knowledge and skills to be empowered, informed, engaged, and become an active citizen is a priority for Miracle Foundation. We do so by ensuring children have access to high quality education while living with their families and while they await placement from a CCI into a family.

The Right to a Quality Education while Children await Family Placement

Each school-aged child awaiting placement into a family while living in a CCI attends school consistently throughout the academic year and receives tutoring or other after-school support to help improve academic performance. (e.g., house parents helping younger children, outside tutors when appropriate, etc.). Qualified resources are used to identify children with learning disabilities (e.g., certified special educators, psychologists, disability centers or schools to perform testing) to ensure they are provided with the necessary accommodations at school as well.  In order to help children determine their academic abilities, long-term educational goals and future career path, we partner with experts on the ground to provide children ages 15 and up with aptitude testing and career counselling. Children are supported, encouraged, and given access to higher educational opportunities (university or vocational training) without discrimination or bias, which leads to employment and helps them become self-sustaining adults. A structured education plan and training for the right life skills play a key role in shaping the personalities of these children.

To ensure the education journey of these children is fruitful, Miracle Foundation does not do it alone. Instead, we leverage all the important people in the children’s life and make them a part of the process. This involves providing highly specialized training to coaching teachers and house parents, inviting family members to career counseling sessions, and advocating with the school to provide children with the necessary support and ultimately a quality education.

Providing Quality Education to Children in Families

Our work is not limited to CCIs but it is extended by providing the same support once children go back to their families. Around 8 million children are living under the care of these institutions around the world, and 80% of them actually have a living parent or relative.

Miracle Foundation actively works towards reuniting children without parental care with their parent/s and/or relatives. Making sure children continue to have access to quality education remains top priority. Once children are reunited with their families after thorough assessment and preparation, we prepare a robust education plan. Support can include items such as providing access to school supplies/educational toys, transportation to school, after school tutoring, testing and support for learning issues, financial assistance, help accessing government schemes, linking families with education and skills for employment, and supporting other children in the family to purse education too. We continue to follow up with the child and family regularly to ensure there are no dropouts.

Today, we have these young adults pursuing the career they always dreamt of since they were children. We are proud to see them becoming Engineers, Medical professionals, Chefs, Teachers, Social Workers and so on. In the 2019-2020 academic year we supported 209 young adults to pursue higher education.

Child Participation

We at Miracle believe that children are the true ambassadors to advocate for their rights and we provide them with an opportunity to do so. Children get an opportunity to understand and choose what career options are suitable for them with the help of career counselling support and every CCI is equipped with an education children’s committee. The youth leaders of these education committees help other children by coaching and guiding them in their education. They also encourage regular use of the library to read books and newspapers to enhance their knowledge about the world around them. At a national and international level, children advocate for their rights and share insights on improving the child care system (e.g., access to education, health, right to live in family, etc.) through our Child Participation and Youth Advocacy Program.

Absalom, one of our Youth Ambassadors says, “My first priority is to spread awareness about education because it was the only thing that made me reach where I am today and it is the only powerful thing can change the world for better”. At Miracle Foundation, we’re committed to supporting Absalom and other children change the world!

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