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Thanks to BMC, children with cancer miss school

Months after it was promised four classrooms by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to start a school for children who come to the city for cancer treatment, an NGO is still waiting to implement the project because the BMC has handed over only two classrooms so far.

Jagannath Bhatankar Municipal School in Parel
Promise broken: Jagannath Bhatankar Municipal School in Parel where the BMC has handed over only two classrooms to the NGO so far. File pic

The NGO, Cankids, works for cancer-affected children. The school idea was conceived during Children’s Day celebrations last year, and BMC officials at that time announced that classes would be held for cancer-affected children at Jagannath Bhatankar Municipal School in Parel.

To be implemented under the guidance of Additional Municipal Commissioner (Education) Mohan Adtani, the project to impart primary education to children undergoing cancer treatment in the city was supposed to start from June.

The city is considered the best place by many to undergo cancer treatment and every year many school-going children from different parts of the state as well as the country are brought to hospitals here for the purpose. The prolonged and painful cancer treatment keeps them away from home, often forcing them to miss months of school and fall behind in their studies.

For these children, the NGO planned to start a school from Std I to VII and asked the BMC for seven rooms for each class.

“We were told we would be allotted four rooms in Jagannath Bhatankar Municipal School in Parel by the BMC, and of these we have got only two rooms so far,” Chetan Diwan, education project officer, Cankids, said. “We are still waiting to get two more rooms on the same premises so that we can start primary education for the cancer-affected kids.”

The NGO plans to start mathematics and language courses for the children while also providing counselling and music and art therapy. 

The other side
On the question of delay in handing over classrooms to the NGO, the ward administration officer claimed that the rooms were undergoing repairs to ensure the cancer-affected children would be in a safe and clean environment to study and would not be exposed to infections. Education officer Mirza Baig was unavailable for comment.

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