Nomadic brick kiln workers rely on their donkeys to earn a wage to support their families. Sadly, their children often miss out on an education and some will end up working at the kilns with their parents from a very young age. The Donkey Sanctuary’s project near Delhi gives these children access to education for free.
The charity has been working with the local authority to set up brick kiln schools where a basic curriculum is combined with lessons on donkey care.
The brick kiln schools illustrate the curriculum with donkey-related exercises and examples. This encourages children to recognise the importance of donkey welfare, and how good donkey care not only protects the health of the donkey but also ensures that that the family donkey is fit enough to help them earn a living. As well as providing a basic primary school curriculum, the syllabus at these schools covers the basics of donkey care, including humane ways to communicate with donkeys (not hitting them), making sure they have plenty of water, and understanding harness so that it does not injure the donkey – all very important for donkeys that can carry loads of 150kg of bricks at a time. It is hoped that this sustainable approach will improve conditions and care for India’s working donkeys in the future.