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All aboard! Classroom on wheels for children in Mumbai

In India, thousands of people move to urban cities in search of a better life. But too often, a better life comes at a big cost. Many end up living in crowded slums, earning little money to support their families.

Without a steady income, parents often send their children to work so they can help support the family. As a result, many school-aged children are missing out on an education. In fact, 1.7 million children of primary school age do not go school in India.

Bringing education to children across Mumbai

But thanks to Plan’s partnership with Door Step School, things are changing for many children living in Mumbai’s slums. We’ve taken the humble school bus and turned it into a classroom on wheels to help children get the education they have a right to. Check it out:

How the School on Wheels operates

Every day, the bus stops at 4 different locations around the slums. Once on board, volunteer teachers host educational lessons for students. The teachers also help encourage parents to send their children to the School on Wheels, even if it’s just a couple of hours each day.

“I have 20 to 25 children regularly coming to class. The bus arrives at noon and classes are held for 2 hours,” said Lalita, a volunteer teacher who has been working on the bus for 19 years now. “They feel comfortable telling me about challenges they face. I’m happy I am able to do this job.”

Teachers like Lalita use various teaching methods – like singing songs or using alphabet cards – to ensure learning is enjoyable and engaging for all children.

A mobile school that makes the grade

Every year around 3,000 children benefit from the School on Wheels in Mumbai. It’s helping students like Bharti gain access to education, something she never dreamed of until the school bus began driving through the busy streets.

“I like coming to school. I like studying,” explains Bharti, 15 from Mumbai. “The teacher looks after us. She teaches us computers”

At the end of each school year, students, teachers and volunteers continue to spread the word about the School on Wheels. They are determined to get as many children living in the slums back where they belong – in the (mobile) classroom!