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...
Oct 15, 2012

Stories from Bihar: How we're doing

Nishu Anand from P.N Anglo High School, Patna. A family tree project stood out from the pile of hundreds of skills projects. We looked at the beautiful shades of orange, yellow and brown make the most unusual but beautiful tree impression on a large piece of cheap white paper. As we started monitoring the first activity skills projects handed in by the children, we saw a parchment similarly made just as beautiful. We realized it was the same boy whose unique sense of design and skill stood out in all his work and was easily identifiable. In fact we realized that he possibly used the same three colours because he didn’t possess any others. The confident, powerful strokes with the great combinations and aesthetic use of the colours surprised us, as his skill and ability paralleled professional designer work we had seen before. We wondered if he himself knew how talented he was... we visited his school to give him an award and are talking to the local newspaper to print photos of him and his artwork. 

 

Md Shahid Raza, Miller High School, Patna

As we sat monitoring the fourth activity for Jaane Kyun?, we realized that this activity was particularly multilayered, having many different elements to evaluate as it’s a group activity. The more activities we saw, small parts were sometimes being left out or some concepts seemed unclear, even though the effort and attempt was apparent. We finally came across one activity which was complete in every way and beautiful and creative as well. Each aspect of it was included the way it was supposed to be. Concepts were surprisingly clear and very well presented, and each step of the activity, including little pointers and notes given in the instructions had been clearly and creatively presented. As we looked for the names of the group of students who had made this project, we saw only one name and realized that it was only one child that had done the entire project: Md Shahid Raza. We were very surprised he had completed the project by himself, it could not have been an easy task. It would take an exceptional child, to be able to do this. We sent him a personal postcard and went to visit his school to congratulate him and his teacher. 

 

One afternoon, our Master Trainer Sarwat received a phone call and had an extended, hearty and enthusiastic conversation with the school teacher, Mrs. Sangeeta Sinha, P.N Anglo High School, Patna. She had apparently just called to tell Sarwat that she, while going though the Teacher Manual to prepare for the second activity Entrepreneurs are Everywhere, realized that this activity was very different from what her students were used to, so she had come up with her own solution. She took two days before that Saturday to do the whole activity at home, so by Saturday she had a sample project ready. After the story was read in all the classes, everyone was explained what to do next for their activity and she walked around to all the sections showing them the sample project she had made so that they were clear about what to do. It would have been one of their first group activities, in which they had to go out into their neighbourhoods and interview a local entrepreneur and then write a newspaper article about him/her. She happily told Sarwat that the students had already submitted their newspapers and had made them beautifully as well as correctly, and she was ready to submit them to us. She had called Sarwat to reassure her that the students were able to do even the second activity and there was nothing to worry about. And inspired teacher can make a huge difference.

 

Pooja Kumari from Gandhi Arya Kanya Uchha Vidyalaya, Mansoor Ganj, Patna.

 

As our team sat in our office buried under projects, charts and papers, Abha passed me a small and flimsy booklet to evaluate. Still trying to find a universal way to evaluate the ‘presentations’ of these projects as it was still the first activity, The Little Box of Big Skills, I picked up the booklet and began reading the neatly written paragraph stories and realized exactly how subjective this process can be. As I flipped the pages I realized that the paper had uneven edges, and the project was actually pieces of scrap paper torn neatly and stapled together. I read through the stories and they were beautiful and original, explaining the skills in very unique but accurate ways. At the back of each story were drawings in pencil also representing what happens in the stories. It was a complete and creative skills project which when we began to evaluate and give marks, we gave Pooja 11/12, one of the highest marks we had ever given. Pooja is brilliant.

 

 

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Aug 14, 2012

Girls in Rajasthan read Girl Stars books

Postcards from girls
Postcards from girls

We’ve been sending Going to School’s series of books, Girl Stars to girls in schools in Rajasthan, with your help we’ve reached over 5,000 girls so far!

When we send sets of books we send them with prepaid postcards. We ask girls to send us their questions, observations and thoughts about the stories. We try to answer their questions by sending postcards to them in return.

Thanks for sending so many stories to girls in schools in India.

With our thanks.

Going to School.

 

Shenaz Bano “I really like these books, just like Madhuri achieved success by going o school. I will study hard and I will be successful one day. I would like to know what challenges she faced to become a teacher? I think about all these Girl Stars that they have earned and completed their studies and despite their parents was against them they still studied, and I am amazed.”

Daulat Bano, “I know Girl Star, just like in the stories. My aunt was illiterate and my uncle made her study and today she is working in a bank, she has kids too!”

Aditi Jinada, “I want to become a Girl Star, if I get a chance to meet them I would like to ask them what all they had to face and how long it took them to become successful.  I know about my friend’s mother who got married at a young age and she has to struggle hard for her studies and her in-laws have helped her to study.”

 

 

Jul 30, 2012

Be! Skills for 30,000 children in school!

Teachers in Bihar playing skills games
Teachers in Bihar playing skills games

Be! Schools launches in 70 schools in Bihar with stories that teach skills to 30,000 children

School is back in session and Be! Schools has launched in Bihar to teach children in Grade 9 entrepreneurial skills! We are starting with 70 schools in Patna, and expanding to 1,000 schools in the state this year. Leading up to the launch, the Going to School team trained eight Master Trainers to conduct teacher training sessions. In late July, we conducted a 5-day training with 170 government school teachers to help them teach Be! Books and conduct entrepreneurial skills projects in their classrooms.  Eventually we will train 2,000 teachers across Bihar. 

Teachers told us over and over that they’d never been to a training like this, and they were excited to teach these books and skills to their classes. 

Kamini Singh, teacher at BMP Higher Secondary School in Patna, told us “So far we had not been trained to teach children in ways that would interest them. Even the most absent minded children love stories and enjoy games. That’s why children will never find these books and activities tiresome.”

“I like the new approach of group discussion and questioning method where different opinions can be expressed.” Sanjay Kumar Chaudhary from Patna High School, Gardanibagh said. 

“Like children, adults also love colours. The stories attracted everyone and I found the colours exciting.” Sangeeta Sinha, P N Anglo Sanskrit Senior Secondary School, Naya Tola, Patna

After the training, several teachers called our offices to urge us to send books quickly. Our Master Trainers personally delivered books to 70 schools—with a total enrollment of over 30,000 students in Grade 9. Some schools have over 1200 students in Grade 9! Traveling through monsoon rains, the Master Trainers were welcomed by principals and teachers with steaming cups of ginger tea.

Master Trainers will continue visiting each school in the upcoming week to further guide teachers and collect completed skills projects that allow children to practice skills in their real lives. 

Playing skills games is fun!
Playing skills games is fun!
Our team delivering books to schools
Our team delivering books to schools
Girls make skills projects after reading Be! Books
Girls make skills projects after reading Be! Books

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