Thus, the school has become a ‘bridge school’. Children who have never attended school before learn in a more informal atmosphere, to inspire them to learn, prior to joining a regular school class.

The majority of the children are first generation learners; their parents have not attended school. This is an important factor increasing the likelihood of the children dropping out of school. Whilst some parents admit their children to school, they do not come to see their children’s progress, or attend parent-teacher meetings.

Some of the children do not have any parents, or come from single parent families. Some children live in a government hostel, as the plantations their parents live and work on are too far away. There is no one who takes responsibility for making sure that the children attend school.

Kumar studied in this school. He now has a Diploma in Education, and is employed to assist the teachers at his old school. For the past two years, he has been working on retaining the children in the school. Kumar carries out home visits, if children do not attend school for a few days, gives family counselling, and helps the children in class; all to ensure that the children do not drop out of school. As a result, the dropout rate has been falling.

Kumar also works identifying youths who have dropped out of school, and working with them to encourage them to go back and receive an education.