Literacy India

Literacy India's primary objectives are to provide underprivileged children with basic education and to offer vocational training to women from villages and slums, building confidence and awareness among both groups, and empowering children and women to become self sufficient in their communities.
Jul 21, 2015

Nurturing & Skilling Youth through the ICT

Classes in progess
Classes in progess

Nurturing & Skilling Youth through the ICT

 “ My Daughter is able to put all my vegetable production and shaal leaf plate production record in computer,this is very helpful for me; a and I am quite overwhelmed knowing this now I can prepare for next year.”Father of the youth in Lowakui- Village.

 “I cant imagine that my village girls and boys are able to use computer”… parent in Lowakui

“  We are really thankful to Literacy India with this innovation, these computers document all our agriculture production ” Young Adult in the village.

 About Project Karigari- Vocational Training: Youth Focus

Vocational training program on ICT has evolved in Literacy India in order to provide a step to integrate youth and young adolescents’ group for achieving the three E’s goal (Education, Employment and Empowerment). Its critical to attend to Youth group as  they are in the intermediary stage of psychological development occurring between puberty and legal adulthood which has struggles with the issues of independence and self- identity. Hence, these groups are facing challenges in family, schools and other institutions.  Nature of complains varies according to gender specification. Males are vulnerable; it is found that during this stage they are developing with habits of smoking, alcohol, eve teasing, other illegal activities, peer pressures and involvement with local goons, addiction towards substance abuse of drugs, love affairs and so on. Girls on the other hand get involved in love affairs at a very young age, cannot concentrate in studies, and cannot score properly, not attending the schools etc. From the children perspective, there are feedbacks against adults such as high expectation, children should engage into part-time work so that children can contribute in the family, exploring marriage options for girls while girls are not ready.

In this psychological milieu of the youth and with this background the vocational training for computers came into operation, as Technology absorbs a lot of negative energy. It helps the young to learn and gain knowledge about ICT and builds aspiration for future jobs.  In present day world, basic computer learning is always required and youth also realised that.  Literacy India is dealing with the youth who are underprivileged and coming from socially and economically backword community. They might not get the opportunity to have the basic computer knowledge while they are studying in school and colleges. As a result, they would again face challenges at the time of interview in future for job or employment opportunities.  Hence, the aim of this project is basically 1) to ensure a platform for sustainable livelihood where the youth are able to learn computer and prepare themselves with technology so that they would competent to face the challenges of interview for future job selection 2) to safeguard and channelize the youth energy in the proper areas that would able to curb the feeling of disorientation, distress & frustration among youth.

This project is already implemented since the year 1999 in Delhi NCR. Literacy India has accredited to give certified course by Govt of India( NIELT).Over 5000 youth have been trained and are working in various companies in some role or the other such as InfoTech services, Net Ambit, BCube, Oxigen and so on.  IT training under Karigari Project is being implemented in various parts of the country – Microsoft certification is also in process for Literacy India.

Situation in Lowakui Village at Purulia

 Geographically Lowakui is situated in the extreme western part of the district Purulia & coming under Matha Forest in Baghmundi Block. The village is dominated by “Bhumij” tribes.  These Bhumij communities are known as Singsardar and Singmura. Hence, earlier the village was named as Sardardih. The village is remote and placed within the small hills and dense forest where communication between the places is really challenging.  The main occupation or livelihoods are forest collection and mono-cropping agricultural farming. Forest Collection, at times was sent them behind bar under Indian Forest Act, hence was risky. Govt. and schemes under Govt. were unable to reach them as the area was known as Moaist infested area. As a result, there is seasonal unemployment, wide migration, alcohol addiction & no conscious effort to change the situation. The women were mostly staying at home- few are either engaged in part-time forest collection or in agricultural farming.  Regular alcohol intake & no sustainable income and long leisure among the men & youth folk made them aggressive and violent.  

  About Youth in Lowakui:

 Youth have no work but to aimlessly roaming around; most of them had attended school till Grade- VIII; few have completed school leaving Madhayamik and Higher Secondary Exam. Few are going to the college.   Parents could not mobilise the youth folk to be engaged in agricultural farming also.  Alcoholism, smoking are common behaviour among youth. As they have no work to do they are very easy to get involve in the negative activities such as sexual harassment, assault, eve-teasing on the one hand, and on the other hand in the activities of local goons like stealing, theft and so on.  These youth are tribal- they are very bold and if the energy gets on wrong track can lead to distraught to family memebers.

Against this odds, Literacy India had started computer literacy course in the village for the youth both girls and boys.  It has mobilised local youth who can take training on computer courses in the learning centre. There is orientation regularly from local corporate, local business personnel so that the youth can be tracked in the proper way.

 Activities undertaken:

  1. Survey in the villages in order to identify the drop out youth
  2. Listing down the youth who have completed Higher Secondary and Graduation and are willing to take up job
  3. Parent Teachers along with the Literacy India’s volunteers group meetings were held  within the community for advertisement
  4. Admission of the youth were taken place
  5. Identify and recruit a teacher who can regularly guide the youth
  6. Regular evaluation and assessment of the  youth are taking place in the learning centre
  7. Regular English classes are taking place through TVC/ BBC learning English Module
  8. CV and Resume making classes were taking place
  9. Mock Interview and how to handle the situation in the interview was taking place
  10. Orientation of the youth from local business personnel had taken place about career counselling and goal setting.

Achievements of the program:

  1. Total 67 youth have been enrolled in the learning centre in April, 2015.
  2. Group had been divided among them and these 67 are regular in the learning centre.
  3. 27 boys and girls are identified as potential candidate who are ready to take up the job in any organisation.

Overall Impact of the program:

Community:

  • Community is very happy and members of the community are mobilizing the youth from other villages too.
  • Community feels proud as their young adults groups are becoming tech-savvy.
  • Parents group are happy as their children can make the simple accounts keeping in the excel sheet like selling of paddy and quantity, selling of pattal ( shaal leaf plate) quantity and also the growth of paddy quantity, storage of vegetables like potatoes, onions and garlics and so on.

 Behavioral change:

  • A lot of change has been observed in the behaviour of among youth. Youth earlier were roaming aimlessly and wasting time; now it was observed that they discuss about different govt. competitive exam news, district based local employment opportunities and so on
  • Earlier it was observed that they used to come to the centre with untidy cloths- at present after long discussion and orientation they used to come with proper dress code and there is definite grooming.

 Challenges faced:

  • Still there are absenteeism among youth without any reason
  • If there is assessment or exam—there is a tendency to avoid the exams.

Story of change:

Name: Nandlaal Mahato (name changed) Location: West Bengal India

 Nandalal Mahato (name changed) is 18 years old and he belongs to very poor family.  His father is a daily labour and mother is house wife. He is an eldest son of the family.  Parents have expectation on him who can support the family properly after completion of academic course.  Nandalal, did not know about his career path, after the training he has chosen a  career path .  He is now planning to appear various  govt.competitive exams for getting the jobs. In his own word “Yes, I agree – if I had not come here in Literacy India’s learning centre I would not have known about the competitive exam—I am really grateful to it to Literacy India as in my mind I am getting confident day by day to face interview and challenges”

Name: Supriya Majhi (name changed) Location: West Bengal India

Supriya Majhi (name changed) is 19 years old lady is studying Higher Secondary in BaghMundi Girls High School.  Her father has already refused to afford the educational fees for schools and Pvt. Tuition. She is facing very hard to sustain her Education.  She is doing Pvt. Tuition for children in local area to support her own education. She has a dream to do the job of teacher in school. In order to make her dream in practical level she started preparing herself; thatswhat she joined in Computer Literacy and focussed particularly in English course. She can write English but  has hesitation in speaking.  In her own word “this centre helps me lot; I can learn & practice computer, after completion of course I am planning to buy an old computer and continue my practice at home”

Stories of Change
Stories of Change

Links:

May 26, 2015

Garbage sorting to Digital Learning in schools

children using software in school
children using software in school

Form Garbage sorting to Gyantantra Digital Dost Learning in schools...

“From garbage sorting to create an environment where the children would concentrate in the academic course - is a long journey for us & Literacy India. However, it is true joining hand with Literacy India make the journey easier as the Digital Learning Course of Gyantantra is a complete package that helps to facilitate an environment which at first makes a connection with computer operation and then with the academic course through play and games” -Teacher-In- Charge Mr. Ajay Choudhary of Sastri Shiksha Sadan School Winner of Karmaveer Bronze Medal from Apeejay Surrinder Group Kolkata

 About Project Gyantantra Digital Dost Learning at Sastri Shiksha Sadan (Belgachia Kolkata, West Bengal)

Children at Belgachia:  Children in this area are basically rag-picker’s and engaged into the profession of sorting out the garbage. Earlier the children were unwilling to come to school. The Government Primary school, however, school use to have very low attendance during summer, autumn & spring; as the children used to engage themselves in garbage sorting activities. However in monsoon and winter the children came to the school. Against this backdrop, Literacy India along with the Primary Government School teachers started the journey to re-track the children in the educational mode on a regular basis through Gyantantra- Digital learning tools. The effort of teachers especially the teacher-in-charge, staff and volunteers group of Literacy India was remarkable as the enrolment drive this year exceeded around 500 Students.

 Activities undertaken during the last year (2014-15)

  • Survey and child tracking had been undertaken
  • Parent-Teachers along and literacy India’s volunteers group meetings were held regularly
  • In order to support the children and their family – free health check-up along with OPD was being organized twice on a monthly basis
  • Regular evaluation and assessment of students is being undertaken
  • Regular Volunteering actives from the corporates is being organized
  • School bags for students were distributed in the beginning of the session.
  • Regular classes were going on in the school and time table for the same has been prepared accordingly.

Achievements of the program:

  • Total of 500 students have been enrolled in the school in the year 2015.
  • 250 students have appeared for the Pre-test and groups have been created.
  • 130 School Bags were distributed among the children whose parents were very poor and were below the poverty line.
  • Literacy India nominated Teacher- In – Charge’s name for Apeejay Karmayuga Competition for award winning for remarkable Volunteering. Teacher- In- Charge’s name and his work has been selected by Jury for Bronze medal with felicitation. 
  • Medical check-ups held  twice in a month for all students
  • Monthly assessment of students conducted
  • Parent- teachers meeting were held
  • Corporate, Business Schools, Media personnel are doing regular volunteering here in Sastri Shiksha Sadan School.

 Overall Impact of the program:

Impact on Community:

  • Community has become conscious about sending the children to the school.
  • Few parents are still in the garbage collection and sorting out profession- however, they are sending the children to school regularly
  • Parents are happy also to see the performance of the children in the school.

Impact on Children:

  • Children have become tech-savvy and learning has become faster 
  • The learning through games and play involves the children into the program
  • Spelling and construction of sentence forming  had developed sizeable number the children
  • Children love to practice Math and English that ultimately improves the qualitative performance among children.

Impact on Behavioural change:

  • A lot of change has been observed in the behaviour of the students. Earlier it was observed that the children have the tendency to run away from schools, even if there was mid-day meal provision. However, once the Digital Learning class started the tendency of runway has shown a decline. 
  • The school premise use to be dirty and unfit for classes, the children did not know about cleaning of the room- they use to throw the paper, pencil, chalk or tiffin waste. At present, with exposure visits and peer learning from other school students, LI students have started using Paper Dustbin Box in the school. They learned making these boxes from the Literacy India’s Volunteering work of Art& Craft workshop.
  • School Captains are chosen from each class who are responsible to look after the school premise as well as the behavior to greet the visitors and teachers, observation of various memorable days and so on.

Challenges faced in our Interventions

  • Still there are absenteeism among the children as the parents suddenly changed their work sites
  • As these students are the first generation learners & most of the cases both parents are working, it was found that often that a) children are absent during exam due to  exam phobia b) children  lie to their parents about schools

Special achievement:

  •  Apeejay Surrinder Group, India has created India’s first and pioneering initiative, Apeejay India Volunteer Awards, to celebrate and reward Indians who volunteer, Corporates who promote employee volunteering and NGOs who engage Individuals who want to volunteer for social causes.
  •  Teacher-In- Charge Mr. Ajay Chaudhary of Sastri Shiksha Sadan Supported by Literacy India School under Gyantantra digital Dost project won Karmaveer Bronze Medal from Apeejay Surrinder Group, Kolkata for implementation of ICT innovation in school & increase children attendance. Mr. Chaudhary nomination has been recommended by Literacy India project team.

Stories of change:

Goutam Das (name changed) is staying at Lalgate area in the railway yard of Liluah Station which is near to garbage dumping station. He is in class IV at present. Earlier, he used to sort out   garbage. He is at 11 years old. In the year 2014 he was tracked by the LI field staff and was mainstreamed in the Sastri Shiksha Sadan School in digital learning classes. He managed to cope up with fast track academic course. Last year it was found that he will be able to be admitted to class IV easily. He is very good at Math- he can count so fast- that no one can imagine. He lovesto fly kites. At this moment, he is aspires to be a footballer in future.

Sanskriti Shaw & Jyoti Shaw (name changed) are two sisters who are in the above picture. Sanskriti loves to do Gyantantra in computer while her sister was shy and afraid of operating the laptop. Both of them are regular in school, however, one of them is an introvert. Sanskriti, is the one who regularly brings her sister to the school and pushes her to participate in the digital literacy program. Both of them are studying in class IV. They have two brothers who are in class VIII.  Sanskriti loves English while Jyoti loves Hindi. Sanskriti is willing to join in better school so that she can learn & speak English. Both Jyoti and Sanskriti were aim to be a teacher in future.

 Khushi Gupta (name changed) is 10 years old. She is in class IV. She has three brothers and two sisters. Khusi’s father is engaged in casting factory and mother is working as domestic helper in neighbouring area. Khushi, is not very regular as she has to manage the household work. The constant interaction with her mother confirmed her regular attendance in school. She is very good in Hindi and Math. She is aspiring for CID in near future as ACP Pradyuman is her Hero. She loves watching Children CID in TV. One day in near future while she will be adult she will definitely meet ACP Pradyuman.

story of change
story of change
Teachers, Volunteers & LI team
Teachers, Volunteers & LI team
Leading English Newspaper The Statesman coverage
Leading English Newspaper The Statesman coverage

Links:

Apr 24, 2015

Technology used wisely steers dreams aspirations & opportunities

Classes in progress at Project Location
Classes in progress at Project Location

 Technology used wisely steers dreams, aspirations & opportunities

Our dreams are plenty our aspirations are specific. While we combine dreams with aspirations it becomes - Holistic, SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time bound), Eclectic & Enthusiastic. We are really grateful to Literacy India, as it has enabled us to learn techniques such as career graph preparation and document competencies through skill mapping, according to our own choices which will ultimately yield results in a specific time-period.

About Project Karigari- EMPOWER & IGNITE THE YOUTH FOR A BETTER NATION

 The vocational training program in Computer education, devised at Literacy India provides a step to integrate youth and young adolescent groups towards livelihood opportunities for achieving the Three E’s goals (Education, Employment and Empowerment). As the youth is in the intermediary stage of psychological development between puberty and legal adulthood, they face struggles with the issues of independence and self- identity. Consequently, these groups face numerous challenges in family, schools and other institutions quite frequently. However, it has been observed that the nature of complains varies in respect to specific gender traits. Males are noticeably more vulnerable, it is found to the habits of smoking, alcohol, eve teasing, other illegal activities, peer pressure, involvement with local goons, addiction towards substance abuse of drugs, love affairs and so on. Girls on the other hand get involved in love affairs at a very tender age and are subsequently unable to concentrate on studies, score properly or attend school etc. In both the cases complications related to fluctuating mood swings, unhealthy sexual behaviour and practices, arise. Feedback and counselling sessions to attain insight on their personal perspective, has revealed that these young adults feel pressurized due to vague role models as well as their family’s expectations from them to engage in part-time work, contribute to the income, while also compelling girls to marry when they are not ready.

 With this psychological background and troubled social milieu of the youth, the vocational training for Computers at Literacy India is developed in an effective and student friendly manner while keeping in mind how technology also absorbs a lot of negative energy. LI’s aim is to help the young, learn and gain knowledge about ICT and create opportunities for future job prospects.

  Current situation in Belgachia, Howrah West Bengal

 Belgachia is a neighbourhood in Howrah city, West Bengal. It is a township linked to the capital of Kolkata at a distance of a few kilometres. The transport infrastructure is well organized with a railway station at Liluah and bus & roadways communication at Howrah station. A developing area with the biggest slums and migrant communities, Literacy India started its work in the area during April 2013.  The social circumstances surveyed in the down trodden parts of Belgachia are appalling- with scantily clad children scavenging through heaps of garbage for rags, youth & men addicted to alcohol and a large number of women allowed to take part in only domestic work. This situation has led to lack of education opportunities for children and many of them drop out or can’t attend school as their families face major financial problems. Furthermore, there are numerous cases of domestic violence with women being tormented with verbal and physical abuse. The youth are found gambling, playing cards and indulging in drug abuse. Vegetable vendors, rickshaw pullers, domestic workers and KMC’s Safai Karmachari workers earn minimal wages of around Rs 100 to Rs 150.           

 Activities undertaken during last six months:

  1. Survey and Identification of groups had been undertaken  for preparing two batches
  2. A room had been identified for rent to run the operation of computer lab
  3. Computer labs had been set up at Shankar Apartment building
  4. Total 40 students were enrolled and 15 had completed the course
  5. Pre- entrance discussion, orientation and assessment with students were undertaken.
  6. All students were provided the course book and plan.
  7. Computer Lesson plan & routine had been prepared and implemented
  8. Internal grooming and mock interview had been taken place.
  9. The centre is provided with chair tables and stool and books and copies.
  10. Volunteering on grooming had taken place at Belgachia

Achievements of the program:

  1. FGD and Survey analysis had been conducted; the areas have been explored and implementation program had been addressed accordingly.
  2. Total 40 students were enrolled and continuing.
  3. 20 had appeared final exam and 15 had successfully completed the course. Out of 6 drop outs, there are 2 who were afraid of giving exam; another 3 became sick who will be enrolling again in the present batch.
  4. Monthly assessments with children have shown their progress in the computer operation.
  5. One beneficiaries completed Digital Literacy and operation of online program conducted by Cognizant.
  6. Total 5 beneficiaries have been selected for job and placed.

 Overall impact on Community

40 students were enrolled and were directly served by the grant. The limit is not restricted to that domain only. A large number of girl children of schools and colleges are benefitted with that impact. An overall impact can be assessed through community. Community has various doubt and misconception about private sector and corporate sector. The vision has been changed while community saw and talked with corporate women who had been visited in LI centre frequently. They have convinced themselves and other people too. Best support came from women folk of the community. According to them these girls will be acting as change makers. 

Impact on Trainees:

Both boys & girls trainees took training on computer courses. They had learnt in the classroom behaviour and class room discipline. The program not only helped them to acquire the skill for job but also upgrade the knowledge on financial empowerment. The students are now capable of presentation through Power Point, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. 

.Enhanced IT Skills:

The IT skills of the students have improved and developed a lot. They can now operate computer individually without the guidance of the teachers. The students are well acquainted with daily used software. Even some of the school students are using computers for preparing their school notes. Girls have become more technology-friendly.  At least 85% girls and boys are using Facebook and skype.

 Potentiality Assessment:

 Among those 15 who had completed the course there were four girl’s candidate and three boy are found to be potential candidates who can be placed as class instructor for conducting classes in future. These 3 can be placed in the advanced training course or tally.

 Challenges faced:

  • There are dropout rate; reasons were various. Few of them were facing challenges as family did not allow them for attending the classes; few of them are facing problem as they could not cope up with syllabus; few became slow learner, few are willing to attend classes but afraid of giving exam.
  • After completion of course, job placement was provided for at least 10 students. Only 2 had accepted it seriously.
  • Still there is a tendency of lethargy among youth for not taking the job or career seriously. Most of them are looking for school para teacher job, English medium pvt.   Tuitions job; apart from that, the youth are calculating the money to start with for job but they do not have the knowledge to review how the salary is to be fixed with what calculation.

Stories of change:

Name:  Sachitra  (Name Changed) Location: Belgachia West Bengal  

Sachitra, (name changed)  25, is a teacher at a private kinder garden school in Howrah. A sincere young woman, she wanted to improve her technical skills so that she could use the digital medium to conduct classes with toddlers. When she learnt about Literacy India’s Course in Computer Applications, she enrolled enthusiastically and attended the classes regularly. During the vocational training, she learnt how to use Microsoft Office efficiently as well as other programs. Thereafter, Suchitra passed the evaluation exams with flying colours and secured the first rank. Today, she has new job offers now and her current employer plans on giving her a raise. . 

Name: Deepak (Name Changed) Location: Belgachia West Bengal  

23 year old Deepak (name changed) completed his graduation with accountancy hons. His entire family is engaged in pottery work and he is the first member in his family to have completed his graduation. When he joined Literacy India, he did not know how to use computers properly. With a keen persuasion, he attended the vocational training and passed the Course in Computer Applications with remarkable grades. He feels grateful to Literacy India, to have taught him how to prepare the aspiration map and career graph. Today, he works at ‘Khadim’s footware’ in Howrah and is a Cashier & sales man, both. 

Stories of change
Stories of change

Links:

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