Friday, March 16, 2018

A book fair for all!

The Society for Door Step Schools was started in Mumbai in 1988-89 and expanded to Pune in 1993 with the aim to address illiteracy among the children from marginalized sections of society like children of construction labourers, pavement dwellers, slums (temporary and permanent) and other migrant communities. We have direct intervention programs where we cater to children at the construction sites, slums and migrant communities and school intervention program – Project Grow with Books (GWB) which focusses on improving the vocabulary and reading capabilities of children across 240 Corporation schools in Pune and PCMC.

To inculcate reading in children at any age, it is very important to introduce them to a variety of books and literature. Keeping this in mind, our GWB team organizes different events like Book Fair, storytelling, story writing competition etc. across schools we work in. Our team started this year with a Book Fair at Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation’s Dnyan Jyoti Savitribai Phule School in Mhetre Slum, Chinchwad in the month of January 2018.

Mr. Jangam, Center Head of the area inaugurated the Book Fair. He was accompanied by Corporator Mr. Dutta Kaka Sane, Ms. Sadhana Malekar, Ms. Yogita Nagargoje, Mr. Kundan Gaikwad & associates, SMC Vice president – Mr. Manik Mhetre, SMC members – Ms. Neeta Gawhane, CEO – Mr. Dnyaneshwar Nagargoje and other members.

The fair was visited by 22 teachers, 60 parents & 607 children from three schools and 10 book fairies from DSS, Pune. The items displayed in the fair included variety of books, teaching aids for First grade Marathi and Arithmetics, multi linguistic magazines & newspapers, art & craft and science projects for children.  The objective of organizing a Book Fair was to introduce children to an assortment of book publications, magazines & newspapers and fun ways to learn.

All stalls were loved by children and adults alike. Specially the children between 3rd to 7th grades read all charts carefully and gave way to their curiosity by asking lot of questions. Teachers also encouraged children by explaining and conducting practical experiments wherever possible. Children exclaimed that they had never read the type of books and magazines displayed; teachers also expressed that they themselves were unaware about so many types of newspapers and magazines in different languages. Magazines like Champak reminded them of their childhood and how one book exchanged hands across an entire village and was enjoyed by all.

The corporator of Chikhli exclaimed that if such programmes were held during his times he would have surely become an engineer by now. A teacher teaching the class 4 students thought that the exhibition was extremely encouraging and would surely help in the academic development of all the students who attended.

Few glimpses....

Contributed by Team Project Grow with books, DSS, Pune.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Paving the way towards a better future…

The Society for Door Step Schools (DSS) has been taking education to the doorstep of underprivileged children since 1988-89 in Mumbai and 1993 in Pune. Through various programs DSS tries to reach the often forgotten children from the marginalised sections of society particularly children of families employed at construction sites, brick-kilns and children of nomadic communities engaged in their traditional occupations such as street performers, artisans etc. These children are enrolled to Government schools and taught basic literacy and numeracy skills at our centres through innovative and creative teaching methods.

To take education to the door step of these children it is important to identify them first. In November 2011, Door Step School therefore launched a campaign – Every Child Counts (ECC), to survey and enrol all 6-7 year old out of school children in school, in the city of Pune. During this program it was observed that there was a lack of awareness among parents about educating their children. They had to be educated about their responsibilities towards their children’s education and the needs of a school going child and addressing those through actions and resources within their means. Hence another program, Parents’ Participation in Children’s Education (PPCE) was started to increase parent’s involvement.

While working in ECC and PPCE programs we always come across children who have dropped out from school. Children often start losing interest in studies from 7th or 8th grade as they find it difficult to cope up with subjects like English, Mathematics and Science.

In our effort to motivate such dropped out students we contacted Don Bosco Institute which runs professional training courses for 8th and 10th passed students. The institute provides residential facility with minimum affordable fees. The important aspect of Don Bosco is that it aims towards overall grooming of the students. Students receive latest technical know-how as well as good job opportunities after completion of the courses as they have tie ups with various Corporates.

On 7th January 2018 we planned an orientation visit for few parents and children from Maan, Hinjawadi, Wagholi and Pimpri-Chinchwad area to the Don Bosco Institute. 4 parents and 9 children accompanied us. Kishor Patole and Gundu Gaikwad from Maan area were in this group. They dropped out of school at the age of 13 when they were in the 8th grade and have not been interested in attending formal school since then. Both of them have been interested in technical work but did not know whom to approach. Now both of them 17, Don Bosco Institute came as an inspiration to them where both saw future opportunities through technical training course. They grabbed the opportunity and enrolled themselves for a 6 months Electrician’s course. Both of them completed admission formalities on their own with their parents support. On 27th January 2018, Kishor and Gundu took a step towards a brighter future.


Kishore Patole & Gundu Gaikwad

Contributed by Ms. Sanika Patwardhan, PPCE - PCMC, DSS,Pune.

Friday, February 2, 2018

DSS Exhibition on “Expression”, an approach to deliver awareness on meaningful communication and educating children.

The Society for Door Step Schools (DSS) has been taking education to the doorstep of underprivileged children since 1988-89 in Mumbai and 1993 in Pune. Through various programs DSS tries to reach the often forgotten children from the marginalized sections of society like children of construction labourers, pavement dwellers and many others. These children are enrolled to Government schools and taught basic literacy and mathematics skills at our centers through various innovative and creative teaching methods. Our teachers are regularly trained and their skills are further honed at DSS Training Center – “Parivartan” which stands as the backbone of DSS since 2007.

Every year Parivartan organizes an exhibition with the aim to provide guidance in relevant topics and specifically targeted for teachers and other field staff. This year too, DSS welcomed the New Year with their first event – The Annual Training Center Exhibition and the topic was “Expression- Abhivyakti”. It was organized from January 10th to 17th at the Center in Annabhau Sathe School, Sadashiv Peth, Pune.

The time and effort put in by the entire Training team in planning and organizing the event was evident from the various meaningful props and ideas they used to deliver the message of how important it is to understand one’s expression especially while interacting with children. Various charts and models were exhibited demonstrating how expression shifts in children & teens and how it leads to a mutually beneficial dialogue.

Through a variety of examples, trainers explained the concept of expression particularly between the age groups of 3-6, 7-11 and 12-16. The aim was to educate DSS teachers, trainers from other schools or institutions on listening, understanding and communicating; where children can boost their language development and give them an advantage they may not otherwise have. Knowing how to listen and join in conversations is an art of encouraging individuals to come out of their little world outside, to a more socially inclusive community.

It was very enriching to explore how the team categorized their study within age groups on topics like, ‘my family, my individuality, my neighbourhood, my social responsibility, my hobbies, my school, my dreams, our social media etc’. There was some take away for each and every person making them more aware about their surroundings along with their commitment to themselves and their community.

Clockwise from bottom left: A DSS teacher noting points, followed by our trainers explaining charts, A school Model and another of our trainers explaining charts & models. Center: DSS Training Team.

Write up and photographs by Rashmi Deo, DSS Volunteer, HR professional, also an enthusiast in people and community development. January 17th, 2018

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Balak Palak Sabha....


Activities at Parents and Children get-together

Parents of school going children are important stake holders in their children’s education. To a large extent it is they who decide about their children’s education and so it is extremely important to make them aware of their roles and responsibilities in their children’s progress.
Our teams of field workers regularly organize ‘balak-palak’ or ‘child-parent’ get-togethers where a number of issues are discussed in an informal way – sometimes in a playful way-to empower the parents and their children. We reached 140+ parents through 5 such events in and around the city.
Everybody likes to be appreciated and parents and children are no exceptions! Children’s achievements are announced at these meetings and the parents proudly clap for their wards. They are also encouraged to talk to their children every day about what happened in school. And even if they cannot read or write, they must insist on their child reading aloud from the school book every day. Many important issues are conveyed in a story telling session which the parents and children not only enjoy but also remember. Many volunteers participate in these sessions.
These meetings help and encourage parents to:
  • Increase their awareness about right to Education
  • Understand the importance of education
  • Actively participate in child’s education
  • Understand the importance of regular attendance
  • Get accustomed to attending meetings regarding progress in school
  • Take responsibility of their children’s admission process
  • Learn formalities to be followed when transferred
  • Ensure the child is enrolled in a school no matter where they go
  • Exchange information about school events
  • Discuss any problems regarding school
  • Realize the importance of hygiene and clean environment
  • Think about the future possibilities (such as various skill enhancing courses etc after Std VIII/Std. X / Std. XII)