Minister of State for School Education Inaugurates “Canshala” for children Battling Cancer 

Chennai, Feb 2024:

On the occasion of World Cancer Day on Feb 4th and International Childhood Cancer Day on Feb 15th, Mr. Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, Minister for School Education of Tamil Nadu, inaugurated “Canshala,” a special school for children with cancer in Chennai.

Affiliated to Government Model Higher Secondary School, Nandanam, Chennai, the satellite school at T. Nagar is being run by Cankids Kidscan – national society for change for childhood cancer in India, under an MOU signed between Department of School Education Tamil Nadu Government and Cankids in Sept 2022. 

Explained CEO School Education Mr Mars, “The aim to keep the child with cancer learning during the long drawn and arduous cancer treatment wherever he is – at school, hospital- OPD, IPD, or at the Home away from Home, to ensure he has access to his curriculum and books, to have personalized education program – and to get him back to school/college or reintegrated into society. It ensures RIGHT to health impaired child to her education and to her childhood.”

Addressing the gathering, Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi emphasized, “Canshala bridges the gap in education for these children during their treatment, offering a sense of normalcy and continuity. This initiative will significantly reduce the likelihood of these children becoming dropouts, enabling them to seamlessly reintegrate into their regular schools post-treatment. Canshala extends its benefits not only to children in Chennai but also to those from neighbouring cities and districts seeking cancer treatment in Chennai.”

In addition to the school inauguration, Minister Poyyamozhi also flagged off the “Cycle for Gold” edition3 under the campaign, “Shaping their future – call for a plan for childhood cancer.” The Global Cycling Challenge, scheduled from Feb 4 to March 10, 2024, aims to raise awareness and support for children with cancer and their families across Tamil Nadu. Cancer patients, survivors, school students from the partner school, joined the rally, symbolizing hope and commitment in the fight against childhood cancer.

Expressing gratitude for the collaboration with NGOs like Cankids KidsCan, Minister Poyyamozhi added, “Our partnership with NGOs is vital in providing holistic support, including education, finance, medical, social, and psychological assistance to children and families affected by cancer.”

Cankids Kidscan, the national society for change for childhood cancer in India, has set up Canshala in their premises in Chennai, where they already operate their State Coordination Centre and Home away from home. This is the second Canshala school, following the first one in Mumbai where it’s a joint program along with the Mumbai Municipal Corporation. At the national level, Tamil Nadu has become the pioneer state in inaugurating a school for children with cancer through a collaborative effort between the government and a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Highlighting the ongoing collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Education department, Mr. Mukul Marwah, Vice Chairman, Cankids, retired Govt of India Railway officer, and himself an English professor from Rajasthan before that, said “Since our inception in 2004 Cankidshas provided education scholarships to 1921 children to keep them during treatment and after.  In the last year our teachers in 88 of our partnering childhood cancer treatment centers and our home away from homes, havekept over 4000 children learning and engaged through our Learning Activity Clinics.  Since we set up CanshalaMumbai and Wadia Hospital 2314 children have received formal registration and education due to PPP with Mumbai – MCGM.  “

“We had trouble finding place for the special school in the existing infrastructure of TN Education department.  We then suggested we set up the satellite in our own premises at T. Nagar, where we run our Regional/State care coordination centre. The government agreed., “saidLatha Mani, Regional Head Cankids.

Long term donor supporter, Radhika Jain who heads Access health care, was there at the inauguration. Shewas delighted to support the project.  “That is is a government partnership model where the Governmentschool and Cankids will work together with Education and Health Ministry to drive access2Care and Change for Childhood Cancer in Tamil Nadu, makes it a very good meaningful project to support. “

After signing of MOU with Department of education Tamil Nadu, Cankids has registered 89 children (54 male and 35 female) for holistic accommodation (HAH) in Tamil Nadu, out of these children, 21 children are registered under Canshala TN for formal education. 26 children are under 4 years of age, as per government norms we can only register children aged above 5 years and 42 children are already in the mainstream of education. The special school will add real impetus to the project that secures Right to Education and Right to Childhood.  

As we press forward, our commitment remains unwavering in our mission to empower children through education. We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to learn and thrive, irrespective of their circumstances.

“I deserve Access2Care – anytime, anywhere is what every cancer patient tells the world. Children with cancer deserve to Survive and Thrive.  Joining together with the Government, hospitals, treating doctors, NGOs and civil society can “Shape their Future”. 

3686 children of Tamil Nadu & Puducherry get childhood cancer each year and only about 58% of the children reach any cancer treating centre which means a whopping 42% have no Access to Care within or outside the state. WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC) aim for India is for at least 60% survival rate by 2030, thereby saving an additional one million lives. For reaching 60% survival, India would require 100% Access2Care. 

Cankids KidsCan’s mission aligns with the WHO Global Initiative for Childhood Cancer (GICC), aiming for a 60% survival rate in India by 2030. This goal requires 100% Access2Care, emphasizing early diagnosis, referral, timely treatment, infrastructure improvement, capacity building, and access to care information.