Going to School Fund

Going to School creates design-driven stories to teach India's poorest children skills at school. We're an award-winning nonprofit trust with a 10-year track record of inspiring millions of children in India to stay in school, learn skills, use their education to transform their lives and create their own opportunities. Our journey began in 2003 when we created Going to School in India, a children's book that tells 25 stories of what school can be, from going to school in a tent in a desert to going to school in the dark with solar lanterns. We made the book into a pioneering TV series that aired on India's leading television networks reaching 65 million children. Our next series, Girl Stars...
Feb 18, 2015

Skills Challenge Completed

In 2014, Going to School added a new chapter to the program- Going to School in Jharkhand.

Teachers loved the books and incorporated into their school routine immediately. Children were excited about each story, each game and most importantly, they were up for any skills challenge!

Girls read the story about Aditi who trains for a marathon and makes a plan to eat well, sleep well and be well. Strangely (because it is a story) as Aditi runs through the forest every morning, she meets amazing people who always seem to have good advice for staying healthy. After they read the story, then the skills challenge begins! We challenge children to make a plan for five days of what they eat, when they rest and what they do to be healthy. Once they’ve drawn their plan, we ask kids to interview a person where they live, who they think is the healthiest person they know. 

While children are getting ready to read new stories that we’ve designed for them for this year, we are having a fabulous time looking at girls’ skills challenge projects from rural Jharkhand. Young girls & boys from many school across Jharkhand have completed their skills challenges and have submitted us super skills projects.

This year, Going to School is creating five new, magical design-driven story book for children. The stories are inspired from real life hero entrepreneurs, inspirational women drivers, entrepreneurs who identify and solve problems for everyone in their communities. Stories are the new tools to learn, and children are the most excited to complete the skills challenges. We are having a great time designing super stories and we can't wait to share them with everyone. Meanwhile, our all-paper-story-company released an APP. It's called SKOOL. Here you can download every one of our stories you ever wanted to.

Read us online at  https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goingtoschool.books

While we give the last touches to our brand new stories, take a look at the amazing projects children have made this year & a sneak peek to our new story books.

Women drivers are amazing
Women drivers are amazing
Neelakantesh, the bee whisperer
Neelakantesh, the bee whisperer
Bees don
Bees don't sting, they help increase the yield
From here to there, women drivers are everywhere
From here to there, women drivers are everywhere

Links:

Dec 15, 2014

Teaching 1 million children to read

We want to teach 1.2 million children how to read in their own language Children grow up speaking a tribal language at home & their first day of school is in Hindi This means not only is the first day of school scary, but that millions of children in Jharkhand start school behind other kids in the country, leading to high drop out rates, migration and a lifetime of poverty.

We want to change that. We want to teach a generation of children how to read in their own language.
Going to School will design 20+ storycards. They will be written in 9 tribal languages, printed en masse and placed in 38,000 Anganwadi kits. We’ll use radio to tell the stories and mobilise storytellers in villages across the state. So every week, a storyteller will go to the Anganwadi to read a story to start a story revolution for children. Right now children do not learn how to read in pre-schools, we’re about to change that.

What the data says One of the reasons for high dropout rate of children from tribal families in Grade 1 and 2 is because of the language problem. The dropout rate of tribal children at the primary school level in the State is 30% compared to 21% for other students [Selected Educational Statistics of Government of India]. There is empirical evidence to show that children learn better in their home language in primary classes. A good foundation enables children to do well in other languages like Hindi and English. After the initial years of instruction in their own language, children can transit to instruction in Hindi, English or other languages. The Jharkhand state government has granted nine tribal languages the status of second official language: Santhali, Oraon, Mundari, Ho, Kurukh, Sadri, Kortha, Panch Pargania and Kurmali. Along with Urdu, Bengali and Oriya, there are now 12 tribal and regional languages, which have been recognized as second official language in Jharkhand.

Anganwadis are India’s pre-schools, where children should ideally be learning how to read so they can go to school. Unfortunately, in Jharkhand (and other states across India), this is not yet the case. The Department of Social Welfare, Government of Jharkhand, sees Anganwadis as pre-schools or nursery schools and they’d like to change the way children access these services, to make them ‘mini’ schools.

At the moment, children do not learn how to read in their own language and turn up to school for the first day that is always in another language other than their own: Hindi.
Our storycards will be bi-lingual: a tribal language + Hindi.
1.2 million children will learn how to read for the first time in their own language, building the bridge from local languages to the language of education in Jharkhand: Hindi, and the fundamental right and ability to read.

Each story card will have a compelling illustration, an image story on one side - so when the storyteller reads the story children can see the image and a short paragraph story on the back. The paragraph stories in 12 languages will explore founding concepts of language, maths, science, health, forest sustainability, clean water, sustainable farming, grandparents and tribal heritage, ethics, concepts of right and wrong, and values in today’s ever changing world all told though a story.

Our goal is to teach 1.2 million children how to read in their own language, so that their first day at school is full of stories they can read and feel inspired. 

Links:

Dec 3, 2014

Let the games begin

Neeru
Neeru

People must understand that girls should be allowed to play just like boys. Games have to be part of school, Im going to make sure games become part of our timetable again. Neeru, age 15

Bettiah, West Champaran, 3.22 pm

Neeru and her friends can’t wait for the last bell to ring. Their legs are stiff from sitting in the same position for over two hours. Neeru has been looking at the last postcard her brother sent her. It’s a photograph of him playing football with his friends at his boarding school. She looks at field outside her classroom. Their school had a beautiful field within its compound but grass and weeds had grown making it impossible to play. The shed in which all the games equipment was stored was home to cobwebs and creepy-crawlies. The footballs were punctured and the cricket bats chipped and broken.

The field had once held two football nets and a cricket pitch but ever since the games teacher left there was no one to teach games. Since they were in a girls’school, they could only have a female games teacher. There were no applicationsfrom women games teachers.

Neeru thought that no one realized how important games was. Playing was as important as studying, it made you strong. Neeru felt free when she used to run, like she was flying.

The last bell of the day rang cutting into Neeru’s thoughts. She passed the boys playing their usual game of cricket on the streets. For as long as she could remember they’d always played cricket just there. But today, she stopped and watched. None of them wore shoes. They had no equipment. Their cricket bat was a broad stick, their ball was a chewed tennis ball and their wicket was a three legged chair. If the ball hit a tree stump you were awarded four runs, if it broke a window, you got six runs. They did not have an umpire or a coach. They created, broke and judged their own rules. They were very happy.

Neeru realized she had spent six months being sad about a problem instead of solving it.

First, she would speak to the gardener and ask him to mow the school lawns. She did not know who the gardener was, she had to find him. Then she would speak to her friends and together they would take an appointment with the principal and request her to allow them to play after school hours. Once they start playing after school hours, she was hoping that the principal would begin to notice how good they were and then the next step would be to speak to her about including games in their curriculum next year. Yes, she would make something out of nothing, just like the boys playing cricket.

Neeru turned back to see the ball sailing through the air and crashing into someone’s window shortly followed by jubilant cries from the winning team. Maybe she would become games teacher one day. There were doctors in the town, but no games teacher and that was who her school needed most right now, and who girls would need later to be able to play.

When asked what would you like to learn at school that you don’t yet, 59% of girls said overwhelmingly: NCC games. Games win. The World Economic Forum cites a healthy diet + exercise as one of the 10 skills you should leave high school with be work-ready, knowing how to be healthy, exercise and eat properly is imperative to have enough energy to work.

When we asked girls how they spent their time after school, 78% said studying [though we know realistically with transport and family demands they don’t have this much time], 15% said household work [while only 9% of boys said they help at home] and playing, sports, only received 5% for girls, and 9% for boys.

Giving girls space and time to play at school is imperative - when you exercise your body you open your mind, and in organized sports you learn other skills - team work, leadership, communication and negotiation - imperative life skills. Longer term, if there is NCC games in your school and you complete the tasks to receive a certificate, you get extra marks when you are applying to be a police officer, in the railways, army or police force.

Neeru is inquisitive, a problem-solver and is taking initiative to bring games to her school for girls. Neeru identified that her social connections can help her achieve her goal. 97% of girls in our program are curious about new things that can happen in and around them and once they are curious, the next step is finding out how to make that ‘new idea’a reality in your school.

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