Saturday, September 26, 2015

Book Fair for Children

A Book Fair was organized by Door Step School on 26th of August at a Pune Municipal Corporation’s School in Kothrud area. We are very happy to say that it was a success. The children enjoyed the fair. It had 8 stalls showcasing various reading materials like around 50 different newspapers, weekly and monthly magazines published for children, numerous books, rare books lent by Pune Marathi Granthalaya, etc. There were interactive stalls where students tried their hands at art and craft, and also used few Maths learning tools. Small scientific experiments were also demonstrated to the children. There was a stall where stories were told using puppets.

Highlights of the Event:

* Students from nearby schools also visited the book fair. Similarly, teachers from Warje, Dhayarigaon, Karvenagar and Ramnagar PMC schools attended the fair. Some students had brought their parents along. More than 1,400 students, 78 parents, 17 teachers from various schools, and all the teachers of Digambarwadi PMC School visited the book fair.

* We would like to appreciate the children from our CG’s who helped us in organizing the fair. CG from Ramnagar PMC School had come to visit the fair. After going back to their school, they convinced their class teacher to send the entire 7th standard for the fair. They themselves brought these children.

* A physically challenged girl from Karvenagar PMC School, who moves around in a wheelchair and cannot speak properly, was so determined to visit the book fair that her father took leave from his work and brought her to the fair along with the mother and two other girls from neighbouring house.

* Teachers from Digambarwadi PMC School walked down around 122 children to visit the book fair.

Children trying their hand at paper folding

Stall displaying variety of books

Children trying to solve questionnaire based on calendar

Children trying a hand at Maths kit

Friday, September 25, 2015

DSS Children at Pune Festival 2015

Twenty children from Door Step School participated in "Pune Festival" this year. These children are from Educational Activity Centers at various construction sites from Sus Road area.

The Pune Festival is jointly organized by the people of Pune, Pune Festival Committee, Department of Tourism (Government of India) & Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). On the occasion of Ganeshotsav, Pune Festival provides a good platform for artists and performers to showcase their talents before larger audience.

"Ugavate Taare" (Rising Stars) is a part of Pune Festival, which brings out hidden potential of children from various sections of the society. This year, DSS children performed "Lezim" - a folk dance form from Maharashtra - in Ugavate Taare at Balgandharva Rangamandir on 20th of September 2015. Their performance was excellent and the level of their confidence while moving on the stage was commendable, considering very little time they had to practice for their performance.

Door Step School Coordinator, Swati Shende took special efforts in making this platform available for these children.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Art Session for DSS Children - Vibha Volunteers' Initiative

Vibha, Pune​ volunteers conducted a session with Door Step School​ Site at Balewadi to introduce kids with Warli painting. Most of the kids used brush and colors first time and the results were magical!

Thanks to the awesome team Khushboo Bali, Shraddha Trivedi​ Gajbar, Mangal Pandey, Nav Kush, Ankita, and Swati.

Thanks to Kanika Gupta for the beautiful photographs.

Contributed by - Anjeli Singh​, Vibha Volunteer

Let's begin

Volunteer Khushboo giving Warli lessons to kids


Shraddha Trivedi giving art lessons to kids

The teacher and the student

First day at school.


Volunteer Mangal playing with kids

Saturday, September 5, 2015

A Salute to the Door Step School Teachers...

The role of a teacher in the life of a student is well known. But the multi-faceted role that a Door Step School (DSS) teacher plays is something one has to see to believe. Let us try and understand their work environment and their roles and responsibilities as they perform their duties in the course of a day…

They first collect the children and take them to the DSS class. This is often a temporary shed put together by the builder so that the laborers’ children can be looked after while they are at work. It may or may not have basic amenities like drinking water, a bathroom, power connection or windows…but then at least it is a roof over their heads; because sometimes, the class is held in the open under a tree or in a slice of shade of another hutment. No matter what the class is like, it has to be cleaned first by the teacher and the mats spread out. The walls of the class are filled with charts and other displays which vie for any child’s attention.

Each class consists of about 30 to 50 children ranging in the age group of a few months to about 12 years. For a class of 30 children, usually there is only one teacher; for larger classes there are two – one for the crèche children and one for the rest. As most of these children are first generation learners and are unaware of rudiments of personal hygiene and  neat appearance, the first thing the teachers do is teach them the importance of cleanliness by personally cleaning them and showing them how neat and clean they can be! Children being children are quick learners and take the same message back to their homes, and the teachers’ perseverance pays off.

The teacher claps and the children assemble for the DSS prayer -  a promise about a child’s determination to attend school no matter what the circumstances – soon fills the air. It is followed by some physical exercises. The importance of exercise is taught through song and dance. The teacher’s skills of multi-tasking are next tested. She has to form their groups according to not only their ages but also competency levels and assign them work which she supervises. A number of educational games are used which have been specially designed and made by the DSS staff. Along with the learning, there are some tears, some whining, and some fights that have to be resolved and put aside. After a while it is ‘tiffin’ time and children are taught to eat without wasting and eat healthy foodstuff.

The teacher ensures the children, who have to go to school, leave on time and have completed their home-work. For the rest it is craft and art activities. Another set of children who come after school is welcomed. They are happy to join in the art and craft work.

Then a story session, some project work, supervising home-work, gardening, tidying up the class, outdoor play…. the list continues. In the meantime, the teacher also has to interact with parents and answer their queries and put their doubts to rest. Involving parents in their children’s development is a major responsibility. The teachers also interact with the site supervisors etc. as required. Safety of the children is given utmost importance and looking after 30 odd kids is no laughing matter.

Record keeping is next. Keeping track of attendance, what each child has learnt in a week, which teaching aids are used often, which ones need to be made, the visitors’ book and so on.

But still, the teachers are always smiling and willing to share an anecdote about their young wards. They are proud of ‘their’ children’s achievements in school and display any prizes or medals won by them and share various bits of information like any proud mother would!

They are truly our foot soldiers who keep working whether it’s scorching hot or pouring rain. Most of them step out of their homes to work for the first time when they join DSS as teachers. Many are first generation learners (or at least those who have completed high school) in their families. They are proud of their work because they know the importance of having an education and they are determined to give the same opportunity to others. As their confidence increases, they are ready to take on more responsibility and DSS encourages them in every possible way. Some even take up part-time academic courses and continue with their education.

If you are wondering what motivates them to work so hard and tirelessly in such a challenging environment, it is definitely not their salary. It is their commitment to themselves and to society. They thrive in the success of their students without even being aware of the life changing influence they have on their students! They are, like all foot soldiers, the true heroes to be lauded. God bless each of them!

- Archana Vyavaharkar, Volunteer, Door Step School

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Together we can work for a better tomorrow...

Independence Day Celebration at Bodakewadi Labour camp, Maan road

"This independence day, with a little nudge from a friend of mine, I stepped out early morning to celebrate this special day at a construction site with the children there. These children are beneficiaries of our "Every Child Counts" campaign that we run along with Door Step School. Close to 40 children were waiting for us with smiling faces when we reached the site. A quick round of introduction took place where we saw confidence and knowledge levels vary - some children exactly knew what they want to be when they grow up, what their favourite colour is, or where on the map of India their home town is located v/s some children being very shy and unaware what standard they do study in! Well, all in all we realized they are the future of tomorrow and are all roaring with joy to face life!

We started with one child narrating a powerful speech on Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, some sang songs while others just stayed quiet and enjoyed being with us - the “didis” who work in the “anda” (egg-shaped) building campus! Yes that’s exactly how they know Infosys campus as!

We then formed a circle and learned the song “When you are happy and you know it... Clap your hands” - what an apt song for the day, we indeed were very happy being with each other on this day.

Some races were conducted for the children and also their parents got a chance to play some games amongst themselves.

We then did a small discussion on what each color band on the tri-color flag meant, we sang the song “Hum honge kaamyab…”, we blew balloons of the 3 colors on the tri-color. Alas how much ever we tried to capture a posed picture with the balloons but with the energy levels so high we only managed some candid pics!

Finally it was gift time, a notebook and a pen were distributed to all the children there. Race winners were awarded, too. Snacks were distributed before we dispersed for the day.

We hope with these interactive fun-filled 4 hours with the children, we managed to re-iterate the message amongst the children and their parents there that every "I" counts and together we can work for a better tomorrow - if each child goes to school, each parent pledges to send their child to school, each citizen ensures that every "I" counts today and every day - we all will have a better and happier tomorrow!"

Article by -
Ms. Priti, Trustee of Sparsh - A Healing Touch (Infosys)
Along with Sparsh Volunteers - Minal and Amritansh