Ajmer Adult Education Association (AAEA) has been actively involved in the field of Adult Education, Non-Formal Education and Continuing Education since 1971. The organization was also closely associated with several government supported programmes i.e. the National Adult Education Programme (NAEP), the Women's Development Project (WDP), the Shikshakarmi Project, the Lok Jumbish Project (LJP). It has also promoted Self Help Groups and Community Jan Shalas. The organization has long experience of working on issues related to Women’s Rights and Empowerment, Violence Against Women, Reproductive Health and HIV/AID's, as well as Child Rights. In the early years, AAEA primarily focused on promoting Literacy and Education. In 1970s, AAEA started 20 literacy centres for children in Ajmer who either worked in shops and in factories earning poor wages. These children were from the most marginalized communities and had never attended school, as their parents felt that they had no use of education. AAEA started motivating the parents and also started distributing nutrition to the children with UNICEF support.
Gradually, 20-25 children were enrolled across the 20 Literacy Centres. Literacy Centres were also started in the Khadim Mohalla of Ajmer city for Muslim women who had restricted mobility due to purdah and were confined to the four walls of the home. This area is in the vicinity of the famous Dargah of Khwaja Moin-ud-din Chisti. Initial discussions were held with older women in the Zenana and they were motivated to send younger women to attend the adult education centres. In the first year itself 5 young women appeared for Class VIII examination and passed. Another experiment carried out by AAEA was in a village Bisundani in 1971, located 70 miles from Ajmer city. It was started with a goal of linking an entire community with literacy. The community women and men were conservative and traditional. A literacy centre was started and old and young men and women started attending the centre. They were taught reading, writing skills, and arithmetic.
In one year all community members above 6 years of age were enabled to read, write, add and subtract. A follow-up centre and a library was also established to help the neo-literates to continue their learning. In the first year four booklets were also created and published for the learners. These books focussed on local concerns and issues, e.g. one of the books raised the issue of irrigation and agriculture in and around the village. In 1974, the State government sanctioned 50 Non-formal (NFE) and two continuing education centres to AAEA.
30 NFE centres were opened in Arain block and 20 NFE centres were started in Ajmer city. An effort was made to enrol boys and girls who had never enrolled in school and those who were school drop outs. Many of the rural children were involved in grazing livestock, sibling care and domestic work, or used to work as farm labour. They were slowly initiated into the world of letters and the 3Rs. Awareness raising around issues of personal hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness was also carried out. Building on the vast experience of working in education, in 2006 the AAEA decided to start the Programme for Education and Development of Adolescents in Arain Block, one of the most backward blocks of Ajmer.
Ajmer Adult Education Association
Kanta Marwah Bhawan,
Vidyut Marg, Shastri Nagar Extention, AJMER 305006