MVF starts with the basics. It believes that the only way to tackle the problem of child labour is to harness the desire of the parents for a better future for their children through education. It believes that the starting point for any program to withdraw a child from work and enroll him/her in school is to promote the norm within the community that no child should work.
Tackling the community implies not dealing with parents alone but the whole set of people including employers, opinion makers, the elected local body representatives, the community elders, the local youth, teachers and so on. It involves sensitising all these members of the community to the issue of child labour and the manner in which they contribute to its persistence. It also involves sensitising the community to the long-term benefits of eliminating child labour for the community as a whole and not just the parents or the children themselves.
Once sending a child to work is seen as something that is neither necessary nor good for the child, enrolment into schools is automatic. This increases the community’s stakes in the school, which in turn leads to greater involvement of the community in the affairs of the school. Once this happens the quality of instruction and the response from the school to the requirements of the child show a dramatic improvement that promotes a greater response from the community until it becomes a self sustaining process.
In the MVF model therefore, universalization of education is not seen as something, which is initiated by first setting up a school and then asking children to join. The strategy is to first create a demand and then access the school. In this strategy the source of the demand is the desire to abolish child labour.
The rejection by the community of child labour and the consequent development of the school as an institution that takes care of all aspects of a child’s development is the ultimate aim of the MVF model. All its programs aim at operationalising this strategy.