Monsanto launches learning centre for child labour

June 12th, 2008 - 7:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, June 12 (IANS) Technology-based solutions provider and agri-product major Monsanto has set up a residential learning centre for child labourers in Andhra Pradesh. Monsanto Fund, the philanthropic arm of the Monsanto company, has set up the Monsanto Fund Learning Centre near Nandyal town in Kunrool district, the company announced here Thursday. It is part of its commitment to eliminate child labour in the state.

Set up in association with two non-governmental organisations - the Voluntary Organisation of Rural Development Society (VORDS), and the Australian Foundation for People of Asia Pacific (AFAP) - the centre provides formal, informal and vocational education to children of Kurnool and Mahboobnagar districts.

Established at a cost of Rs.10 million, the centre provides free boarding, lodging and education to 100 children. “It is assisting children to get back to mainstream education, ultimately making a difference in their lives,” said Monsanto Fund Learning Centre principal B. Showri Reddy.

“The centre is our attempt to rehabilitate children from cotton production and give them their basic right to education,” said Monsanto Fund president Deborah Patterson.

“Working for the past 64 years, the Monsanto Fund in different parts of the world seeks to improve people’s lives by bridging the gap between their needs and resources by investing in nutritional well being, environment, science education and communities,” she said.

Patterson said the uniqueness of the centre, which can accommodate and educate 120 students every year, was the individual educational plan designed for each child, so they could join the mainstream education system.

Christopher Samuel, senior public affairs manager of Monsanto India, said Monsanto had pledged Rs.110 million to human rights anti-child labour programme in India from 2006.

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