Bharatiya Jain Sanghatana (BJS) has been working in the field of disaster relief and school education for more than 30 years. BJS’s largest and longest running venture has been the educational rehabilitation of children from disaster stricken areas, at the Wagholi Educational Rehabilitation Centre (WERC) in Pune. From its inception, more than 14,417 disadvantaged and disaster-stricken students have passed out of this center after completing their education. Till date, 3729 children from the impoverished tribal regions of Melghat and Thane in Maharashtra are part of this rehabilitation program under the Students Education and Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) program. Additionally, BJS is running a program called Empowering the next Generation (ENG). This program supports children from drought-hit regions of Maharashtra, especially those who are affected by farmer suicides. Children affected by farmer suicides are being cared for in this WERC facility since 2015. These programs are run specifically for student studying in std. V to std. XII. The students stay in the Wagholi Educational Rehabilitation Centre (WERC), the infrastructure specially created for educational rehabilitation of disadvantaged children, and complete their formal education. Here their educational as well as personal needs (social, emotional, Health and recreation-related) are looked after.
This is a unique project both in scale and concept, with a focus on the most marginalized children being relocated to a hostel in a metropolis and being given all the facilities and privileges of urban children. This is also the first large-scale rehabilitation attempt for children affected by farmer suicide. As this is a very sensitive issue, there have not only been numerous discussions in the media on our rehabilitation program, but it has even been discussed in the Maharashtra Assembly. BJS is aware of the great responsibility it has undertaken in rehabilitating these children and the security that accompanies such a venture. As policy, all records and documents of the activities at WERC facility have been carefully maintained.
The Wagholi Educational Rehabilitation Centre (WERC) is on a sprawling 10 acres campus just outside Pune, with a built up area of 3 Lakh square feet. The infrastructure has been developed especially to cater to disadvantaged children from rural areas. The facilities provided here aim to nurture a wholesome development through education, physical and mental well-being, and extracurricular activities in the children’s areas of interest, and exposure to the world around them.