Shiksha Ki Asha - Learning and Growing Reinvented!
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” ― Nelson Mandela
Hope for the Children Foundation (HFCF) ardently believes that education is the key that will open multiple doors of opportunities for children coming from deprived and vulnerable backgrounds. Poverty drives many parents to sidestep school in order to gain an additional working hand and an earning member in their child. Thus, attendance in most municipal and government schools is often abysmally low, especially among the girls.
Having studied the issue in-depth, HFCF took up the cause of education on multiple levels – to inspire, transform and empower children through educational support with its after-school program "Shiksha Ki Asha”. We observed that the progress of children depends primarily on the family’s support.
Started in the year 2012, this holistic program has been conceptualised by the expert team of social workers and teachers and has established a strong syllabus that understands and responds to the needs of children from deprived and vulnerable. Our teaching manual and syllabus is very well defined and has mixed components of academic and personality development.
With 5 after-school programs in Wadgaonshery, Hadapsar and Talegaon supporting 200 children from 1 to 8th standard. SKA program encourages children to attend school every day and inspires behavioural changes and help constructively develop the personalities of these young students providing them with a critical support that keeps them in school, and away from domestic labour. The aim of this program is to " Inspire, Transform and empower through education support.
Shiksha Ki Asha has been running successfully and has developed a methodical syllabus based on knowledge and impact at the grassroots level.
‘Shiksha Ki Asha’ centres provide
1. Studies of different subjects, preparation for exams and homework completion.
2. Extra classes for spoken English and computer science
3. Life skills training and creative development classes.
4. Basic Health and hygiene awareness programs.
5. Exposure visits to various companies, educational institutions, and NGOs.
6. Awareness workshop for parents on parenting skills, health & hygiene, nutrition, changes in children during puberty, emotional management, healthy relationships etc.,
Along with this,
1. Children receive daily nutrition and monthly food grains support for their whole family.
2. Regular medical check-ups and follow-ups.
3. HFCF social worker teams conduct regular family counselling; this is an integral part of the success of this program.
4. We help families overcome challenges, arrange monthly parent meetings, share the progress and the shortcomings of the child and discuss with them appropriate solutions.
5. We also provide solutions to the mothers to improve their financial situation with income generating activities.
Selection of the Children
1. Children residing within a 1-2 kilometre radius from the school and Shiksha ki
2. School going children from poor socio-economic background studying from 1stto 8th.
3. Preference is given to girl child.
4. School dropouts and rehabilitated child labourers under government shelters or programs may be enrolled in the school and later in the SKA Project.
5. Children of single mothers (widows/destitute), HIV affected or infected are given priority.
6. A child who belongs to marginalised society and groups such as orphans, street children living in a home, girl students and all those with a poor socio-economic background.
7. Children selected should not be enrolled in any other program or received any support by another NGOs or any other private agencies.
Impact till today
1. Academic Performance: With the help of tools provided, we have witnessed that the academic performance of children has increased substantially. Many of the SKA children are among the toppers in their class. Initially, the teachers focussed on reading, writing and memorising capacities of the children and as a result, children have developed an interest in formal education. Children are now motivated and they want to study.
2. Regular school attendance: HFCF has been implementing SKA in Talegaon, Maharashtra where a few children were thrust into child labour. These children were either irregular in school or had dropped out. The teachers and the social workers with their persistent efforts were successful in enrolling the children back to schools.
3. Highly motivated: SKA gives priority to the girl child. SKA parents have now become aware that they need to educate their girls and understand that they are also capable of leading an independent and dignified life. All the girls enrolled in SKA are strong and highly motivated and want to complete their education.
4. Self Development: Life skill sessions encourage the children to develop a very positive self-image and understand how to manage themselves in terms of good health, personal grooming, good habits, and pursue set goals.
5. Better health and self-care: With nutritious food and regular health checkups, children have improved their health conditions.
6. Overall achievement: SKA parents are now aware of the importance of education and they are supporting their children for the same. Parents say that "Shiksha Ki Asha has brought a transformation in their children”. Parents are now more willing to send their children to study rather than forcing them to work as child labourers. Some of the mothers have been given micro-finance to start or expand their businesses. This has helped them increase their monthly income and have better earnings to bring up their children. SKA mothers are coming regularly for the awareness sessions and the parent-teacher meetings, where they get inputs on various issues that help them deal with their day to day life.
HFCF runs SKA Centers at three different locations, Vadgaonsheri, Hadapsar, and Talegaon.
STORIES OF HOPE
Born to a daily wage earner who abandoned her as a child and a mother who works as a domestic help, life offered Savitri very little Hope. In 2014, Savitri was enrolled in SKA and HFCF provided them with monthly groceries, financial support for the children’s education and vocational training for the mother. From utter desolation today they have turned their lives around and Savitri is amongst the top performers of her Class, so much so she was promoted directly from Class 4 to Class 6. To add to her outstanding performance, she stood 1st in school scoring A+ in her 2015-16 academic year. We are very proud of her!
Samruddhi lost her father at the tender age of 3 to tuberculosis. She lives with her mother and sister on a meagre family income. During her academic year 2015-2016, Samruddhi excelled in her academics in school and also in Shiksha ki Asha. She has excellent command over all the three languages (English, Marathi, & Hindi). She is a hard working and industrious student, who has achieved 2ndrank in school and scored A+. Way to go Samruddhi!!!
HFCF’s attempt is to help constructively develop the personalities of these young students, and equip them with the skills required to charter a better destiny providing them with the critical support that keeps them in school, and away from domestic labour.
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