Saturday, November 19, 2016

Children's Day: Fun Fair in PMC Schools

A fun fair for children from all PMC (Pune Municipal Corporation) schools in Kothrud area was organized on the occasion of Children's Day. Various fun activities like storytelling, streetplay, group songs, and dance, etc. were conducted at Samrat Ashok Vidyamandir in Karvenagar. Door Step School set up a stall of innovative teaching tools for learning mathematics. Children from various schools in Kothrud area visited the stall with lot of curiosity and enthusiasm. A group of children from Door Step School's Baal Gat performed a streetplay on topic of Child Rights, which was much appreciated by school teachers and government officials present at the function.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Inspiring Story of Volunteers from Hyderabad

Bhanu Chander works as a STEM trainer for a Robotics company in Hyderabad. He and few of his friends wanted to help children in nearby slums get education. They visited the slums and interacted with parents and kids to understand reasons for children not attending schools. Apart from financial constraints, it was also observed that many parents did not know about local schools and their admission procedures. The volunteers approached a residential school and helped five children get admission. However, the children did not continue due to various reasons, fear and insecurity of the parents being major reasons. Accepting the failure of their first attempt, the volunteers then tried to get these children enrolled in nearby government schools. Most of the children belong to labourer families who have migrated from other states and cities to Hyderabad. Obviously, the children do not understand the local language - Telugu. The government school teachers informed volunteers that the children need to know at least basics of the Telugu language, if they want to attend the school.

Stuck in this situation, Bhanu started looking for help and came across Door Step School's programmes for migrant workers' children. In the month of October 2016, Bhanu wrote to us about his experience and plans about the children. His friends had already decided to start teaching the children on weekends, but they were clueless about how and where to start. During next one month, we had numerous interactions through e-mail, phone calls, and WhatsApp. We discussed various options like involving a local NGO from Hyderabad, conducting the study class in nearby school, building rapport with the parents, etc.

The volunteers have now started their weekend classes in the slum. They are introducing Telugu, English, and basics of Mathematics to the children between 5 and 14 years age group. Around 20-25 children attend these classes conducted by volunteers on Sarurdays and Sundays. They keep a track of what is being taught in each session, so that they can plan further sessions with same or different volunteers as per their availability. Door Step School has a reading skill development kit already prepared and being used for Marathi language. We are trying to replicate a similar teaching module for Telugu. We are also working out how English and numeracy skills can be taught to these children with help of simple teaching tools and workbooks.

The volunteers recently celebrated Children's Day in the slum. Parents have started responding positively and are happy to see their children learning something new every week. The volunteers are very much determined to bring these children into mainstream of education by start of next academic year. The Every Child Counts campaign was launched by Door Step School in 2011, with a vision of involving concerned citizens in education of out-of-school children, making it an organic and sustainable model of community development. Bhanu and his friends from Hyderabad are setting a wonderful example of how citizens can contribute towards the larger goal of 'Education For All'.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Spreading the Light of Wisdom...

(Submitted by a well-wisher and supporter of Door Step School - Ms. Sayali Kulkarni)

"Diwali is the festival of light, and light signifies wisdom." -  H.H. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The children and Staff of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Bal Mandir (SSRBM), Bavdhan, Pune believe that a festival is celebrated only when we can share the joy with people around us. We may make some delicious Diwali sweets but if we have no one to enjoy them with it is no celebration.

We at SSRBM Bavdhan decided to make beautiful Diwali lanterns to sell and raise money in order to make Diwali special for others.

The children, their teachers and other staff members put in their time and effort whilst the parents supported this wonderful project by buying these beautiful handmade lanterns.

We are very pleased to announce that raised amount will be using to buy books for the children of Primary ZP School, Abdagirewadi, Tal- Phaltan, Dist- Satara.

Most of the children of this school come from  poor families where the father, mother & other members are working on daily wages.

We brought the books from the Door Step School NGO. Special thanks to Mandarji Shinde & team for great, quick support.

It was really great moment to see happy faces with big- eager eyes of lovely kids.

This way SSRBM, Bavdhan team were able to support not one but two best causes.

Happy Diwali to you all.

(Door Step School thanks Ms. Sayali Kulkarni and SSRBM team for spreading the light of wisdom among children from Abdagirewadi ZP School. We are happy to see the brightened faces of children enjoying our books and teaching aids.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Teaching Alphabets...

Teaching alphabets is not an easy task. Under the Grow With Books programme, Door Step School's Book-Fairies teach children by using innovative methods. Most of the methods are play-based and interactive. The objective is to create interest about alphabets and to increase familarity of words. Children in this video are saying aloud the words written on the floor as one of them moves from one word to another...

Saturday, October 22, 2016

'जाणीव सामाजिक बांधिलकीची' - दै. सकाळ

'मॉन्ट व्हर्ट' कन्स्ट्रक्शन ग्रुपच्या बांधकाम साईट्सवर 'डोअर स्टेप स्कूल'तर्फे चालविल्या जाणा-या शैक्षणिक उपक्रमांबाबत शनिवार, २२ ऑक्टोबर २०१६ च्या दै. सकाळ पुरवणीत प्रसिद्ध झालेली माहिती.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Door Step School at Corporate Diwali Mela

It's festival season and several corpoates supporting Door Step School are organizing Diwali Mela (Fair) across Pune city. These are opportunities for the corporates to introduce NGOs they are supporting, to their employees. We are being invited to put up stalls at the Diwali Melas organized inside the corporate campus or at other locations around. Various gift articles and books are on display at the Door Step School stall. There are greeting cards, pen stands, and tea coasters with drawings of children printed on them. There are beautifully painted Panati (Diyas) for sale. But the best item on our stall is books published by Door Step School. These include workbooks and storybooks used for reading skill improvement programmes at government schools and educational activity centers on construction sites and slums across the city. The visitors to our stall get to know about the methods used to teach children from marginalized and migrant communities. The kids among visitors are attracted to teaching aids and word games specially designed by Door Step School. Overall, it is an opportunity to showcase our work and publications to new people. Through each such event, we gain more supporters for our work. We thank our corporate partners for giving us this opportunity!

(Photos: Door Step School Stall at Harbinger Diwali Mela 2016 in Pune)

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Education Makes The Difference!

Every day, thousands of people from several states and villages in India migrate to the city of Pune in search of employment. With the industrial and infrastructural development, Pune keeps attracting people with various backgrounds - from young to old, from unskilled labourers to skilled professionals. The visible differentiating factor among all the migrants is their education, which decides their volume of earning, standard of living, and social status in the city. Fortunately, it is possible to cross the levels by means of education.

The work of educating children from migrant labourer families starts with creating awareness among the parents. Parents' participation is considered to be crucial for education of any child. Door Step School conducts parent awareness activities at the labour habitats and tries persuading the parents to send their children to school. Since the migrant parents are not comfortable enough with the local environment themselves, they are further afraid of sending their children away for any reason. As a result, their children remain deprived of education for the duration they live here in the city. Most of the times due to limited social exposure, the parents cannot even imagine how education could have made a difference in their lives. Door Step School field team has a hard time convincing these parents and getting access to their children.

Our field team is often supported by volunteers from corporates and institutes. These are the educated people who spend their weekends on the ground, understanding the problems and queries of parents, informing them about importance of education and benefits under Right To Education (RTE) Act, and actually helping their children reach schools. In the Baner - Balewadi area, a group of volunteers from 3DPLM Software Solutions, Hinjawadi is helping Door Step School field team in connecting with the parents.

The parents are labourers who usually leave their homes for work before 9 o'clock in the morning. Keeping this in mind, the volunteers turn up as early as 8 AM, sacrificing their weekend plans on Saturdays and Sundays. They start observing activities of our field team for first few meetings, after which they begin participating by talking with the parents and explaining importance of education and benefits of RTE Act, etc. Brahmanand, Shitala Prasad, Namrata, and Bharat are regularly seen at the early morning parent meetings and activities with children. During one such meeting, one of the volunteers, Brahmanand came up with an apt comparison of migration. While talking with the labourers from North Indian states, he said, "Even I am a migrant like you who has come to this city for a job. We hail from the same North Indian states. The only difference between you and me is education. If you want your children to be as successful as I am, please send them to schools now!"

This emotional appeal touched a cord and we could see the changed response of parents in further meetings. The volunteers from 3DPLM Software Solutions have also participated in activities like arranging games for children at the vasti, helping the parents in school enrollment procedure, etc. Door Step School thanks all the volunteers for their concern and support. We are sure that the children and their parents are inspired by them and have understood how education can make a difference in their lives!