Our program today focuses both on school curriculum support (for schoolgoing children), and basic literacy in English/Oriya/Maths (for pre-schoolers, or non-schoolgoing children). Of course the defining feature of our program remains our provision of extensive exposure to digital learning: basic computer skills, self-learning through Google searching and YouTube videos, and online puzzles/games/educational apps via websites from across the world that have been carefully collated by us.
A couple of months ago, a close friend who's volunteering at our project for our digital learning programs and also acting as our marketing & advertising consultant, offered to help us create a short film about the children with whom we are working. A big thank you to Rajeev Roy for his innumerable pro bono services toward our project, all the wonderful and helpful outreach material he is helping us create, and for his help with teaching and training our children during the launch of the digital learning program.
The film was shot in all of 3 days (!!!) with script and narrative being created after a group discussion with the children themselves. This was meant to be a collaborative learning project for the children, while also allowing us to create a really interesting piece of outreach material. The protagonists of the film are 3 girls (ages 5-9), and some key characters include entrepreneurs with whom our project is working.
Photos of various groups in our Digital Learning Program(s)
Please do scroll through some of the photos of our after school as it looks today - full, bustling, colourful, and very effective at helping many of these children make remarkable progress in their academic performance. [We're doing bi-weekly evaluations for the children (via on-paper and electronic tests), and their consistent jumps forward are clearly demonstrating the success of our intervention. I'll share more details about our tests and our results in a later post].
Above: Intensive one-on-one computer training sessions for some of the older children that show a keen interest in software and various computer applications (Photoshop training in the above). Right: Some of the younger children that should be sitting with their peers in our "tuition" or after school, have joined the laptop-learning group instead!
Our work with what is essentially evolving into a one-stop, integrated slum development centre is only possible because of the support provided by our partners - the funders, the brainstormers, the project team, and the extended project team (all those community members and children's parents that provide us with feedback, support and lots of insightful conversations).
FUNDING PARTNER: MINDTREE
The biggest thank you at this time goes out to Mindtree, the key funder for all our digital learning activities, and the partner that has allowed us to create the digital learning infrastructure; their support is helping us develop, refine, and scale our program. In fact, we are moving from the smaller classroom seen in the photos above, to a bigger room adjacent to it, in order to accommodate all the children and youth coming to us for classes and courses. That's a wonderful feeling!
TRAINING PARTNER: INTEL
Of course we will always be grateful for Intel's support in helping us launch this computer learning program in the first place. Without the curriculum that they have provided, and without their assurance of online testing & certification, we could not have formalized this program and not met with such a positive response from the youth (who are job seekers and would find this certification very helpful indeed).
PLACEMENT PARTNER : BOSCH-INDIA
We're also hoping to implement a small pilot partnership with Bosch-India over the next 4-5 weeks. This is a training-cum-placement partnership for slum youth (school dropouts included), with the training component focusing on communication and other soft skills plus basic computer skills. Placements will be in the direct sales and customer service area - local car dealerships, retail showrooms, and entry level front office jobs. This is a basic program that Bosch India typically runs. Since they are big players in the automotive sector, they're mainly going to link the youth with customer service and sales jobs in that sector.