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This work is the result of an ongoing documentary project for the American India Foundation (AIF) to address the education needs of the children affected by “distress seasonal migration”.


Every year, millions of impoverished families from rainfall deficit regions of rural India are forced to migrate. They often travel over long distances to - sugarcane harvesting areas, salt-pans, brick kilns and other such seasonal work sites. Families spend between six to eight months at the work sites, often in the most hostile environs far from any villages or schools. As a result an estimated 9 million children under the age of 14 were forced to drop out of school. 


AIF began its LAMP program with supporting short term, non-formal schools at the migrant settlement sites with temporary structures that helped children continue with their academic curriculum. 


This program was soon replaced by Seasonal Hostels run in community halls, school buildings or homes of migrants, at their home villages. While their parents migrated to the work sites, the children continued to live in their home villages and attend regular schools. Later quality teaching using innovative teaching and learning methods was added to the program.

In recent years some government welfare programs have helped reduce the burden of distress seasonal migration. AIF's programs have consequently evolved. While continuing to support Seasonal Hostels they are now concentrating on providing quality teaching to schools for the vulnerable migrant communities. 


The work has appeared in the book “Locked Homes, Empty Schools: The impact of distress seasonal migration on the rural poor” with text by Smita and foreword by Amartya Sen, published by Zubaan in 2007 & "Shine On" published by AIF in 2015 to celebrate 10 years of the program. 

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