Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Door Step School, Pune partners with The Kahani Project

‘Kahani’ time for Parents and Children from PPCE (Parents’ Participation in Children’s Education) project areas 

Just the idea of listening to a story brings a sparkle to the eyes of the old and young! Two interesting and enjoyable story telling sessions were conducted in October in partnership with ‘Kahani’ to reinforce the message of regular school attendance and gender equality. The audience was mainly the parents and children of construction sites in Mohammadwadi and Suraksh nagar areas. The venues? A big shady tree and an open space near a labor camp!
There were about 40-45 children and 25-30 parents at both the ‘venues’ who not just listened but actively participated in the story telling session. Ajay Dasgupta and Sneha of ‘Kahani’ had them enthralled with their story telling skills. The constant interaction between the story teller and audience made everybody feel they belonged in the story!

In the first story, children identified with the character of Aslan and his friends and happily joined in the refrain when prompted. They learnt how they can play, learn, have fun and also make a lot of friends in school and how they can help each other in times of difficulty. ‘So, make sure you go to school every day and take all the children from your neighborhood along with you!’

The second story was based on Mahashwetadevi’s ‘Moena:the why-why girl’. Children by nature are curious and love to ask questions. This is how they learn and very often show adults how something can be done differently. Unfortunately, adults do not encourage their curiosity and so this story advised the adults to keep an open mind and not be averse to change. ‘Send your daughters to school along with your sons!’ Just after this story, Ganga, a DSS student for the last eight years who is now a student of Std XI was interviewed. This reinforced the importance of sending girls to school.
The third story was about two friends ‘Budhu’ and Chaalaak’! The two friends come to each other’s rescue many times and walk hand-in-hand. No matter what your name, you are capable of thinking and doing a good job of any given task.

At the end, Ajay also showed photos of Mary Kom and Malala and talked about these two girls and how they had overcome difficulties to become world famous personalities.

Contributed by Harishchandra Phadke, Translated by Archana Vyavaharkar

Monday, October 27, 2014

Door Step School named 'Pioneer' in the Lego foundation ‘Re-imagine Learning’ challenge

We are pleased to share that Door Step School Pune has been named one of the 30 pioneers in the ‘Re-imagine Learning’ challenge who "offer novel, playful approaches that challenge the conventions of learning. In its effort to shift dialogue around learning and play, Door Step School is one of the best ambassadors". 

The challenge, organized by Lego Foundation in partnership with Ashoka Changemakers had more than 630 ‘Challenge’ entries from 68 countries around the world showcasing their creative approaches in using play to learn.

"The society for Door Step Schools.(DSS) Project Foundation, achieved the highest ratings in terms of innovation, social impact, sustainability, and Challenge relevance. It demonstrated not only an ability to create high quality learning outcomes, but it did so in a novel, fun, and playful way that overturned the conventions of education." said Mirjam Schoning, Global Head of Programmes & Partnerships , LEGO Foundation in her citation to Door Step School.

For detailed information, please visit  

We invite you to view our Learning through Play video on YouTube.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Every Child Counts - Diwali Celebrations

Volunteers and field staff of the Every Child Counts - Citizens' Campaign ushered in the festival season of Diwali with parents and children at many locations across Pune,Pimpri Chinchwad and surrounding areas (Wagholi, Hingewadi, Ambegaon).

Children  participated in activities like making "Aakash kandils" and greeting cards. Drawing competitions were held at some sites ."Workbooks" for practicing alphabets and story books were distributed to the children along with coloring books. Their joyful and enthusiastic participation was a treat to watch.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Family Literacy: Begins with children at Door Step School's centres

Family literacy is about parents and children and parents learning together. Often it means the parents teaching the children or reading with them. However, at Door Step School, the opposite often happens. The story of Bharat and Manju ( names changed to protect identity) is one of the many at Door Step School's "Educational Activity Centres" at construction sites in Pune.

Soon after eight year old Bharat was enrolled in Door Step School’s class at a construction site in Bavdhan, a DSS representative accompanied his mother, Manju, and Bharat to the nearby PMC school to enroll him in the school. As they filled the admission form, Manju gave the relevant information: child’s name, surname, date of birth, and name of mother were duly filled. But she strongly objected and refused to give the name of Bharat’s father and insisted that her son should be known as Bharat Manju.

Manju has a valid reason for this: Bharat’s father had abandoned them when Bharat was a few months old and refused to support them. Manju then decided to leave her village and come to Pune with the baby and fend for herself. She has been working hard as a laborer and is determined to look after Bharat in the best way possible. She wants to educate him and make him a respectable person. Why should she even mention the father’s name when he has disowned them?

Bharat is also his mother’s son! He was upset to see his mother put her thumb-print in place of signature when she visited school. He asked the teacher in the DSS class to teach him how to write his mother’s name because he wanted to teach her how to sign! He was encouraged by the DSS teacher not only to teach her to sign but also to read and write. So now Manju has learnt to sign her name and is learning from Bharat what he learns in school! Their enthusiasm for learning is mutually infectious and we hope they both excel in this venture. !

Contributed by Gauri Katkar , Translated by Archana Vyavaharkar

Friday, October 17, 2014

The story of "Nakhushi" a.k.a Pallavi

11 year old Arati, 8 year old Bharti and 6 yr old Priti were living at MST Construction site in Dhanori with their parents and a younger sister who was strangely named "Nakhushi" which means "unhappiness" in Marathi when the Door Step School- Every Child Counts team met them during a survey of construction sites in June 2014.  Their mother Nandabai Suresh Hirwale, works at the site , supporting her husband Suresh Hirwale who is ill and cannot work and her 4 children.

When asked why the youngest one was name "Nakhushi", the parents explained that born after 3 girls, they were expecting the fourth child to be a boy and therefore named her Nakhushi, reflecting their mental state when she was born .

Arati , the eldest, had attended school till 5th standard in their native village of Yavatmal. With the parents moving to Pune for employment, she had to take up the responsibility of looking after the youngest.. Her younger sisters Priti and Bharti had never been to school.

Though initially reluctant to send their children to school in the city, Nandabai showed up on the day of School admissions and asked that 2 of her children be admitted to school. She was to visit the hospital for her husband's treatment, but she chose to postpone that  to accompany her children to school. She was determined that her daughters should have a better life than she did and was convinced that education was a means.

Arati was left behind to take care of the youngest "Nakhushi". She was not happy about it and wanted to join the others. Her mother was reluctant to leave the infant alone even though her husband home most of the time.

Bharti and Priti have started attending the PMC School in Dhanori regularly and use the School Van arranged by Door Step School to reach school.

Realizing that their child would carry the burden of her name, "Nakhushi " was given a new name "Pallavi" by her parents. This  is not just a change of name. It is change in attitude towards girls... change for progress ... It is the change that we all want to see.. a change in the right direction.!!!

Arati wants to join her siblings at school.. how can we help?. Daycare facilities at Construction sites are virtually non-existent.  That is another problem for another day !. But the fact is that 2 young girls are attending school today and one more who will possibly attend when she is old enough, gives us a lot of hope and encouragement to continue the work we are doing through the Every Child Counts - Campaign for universal elementary Education !.