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.
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:

Feb 20, 2015

VISION WITH ACTION HAS LED TO SUSTAINABLE CHANGE

Stories of Hope
Stories of Hope

 LITERACY INDIA`s VISION WITH ACTION HAS LED TO SUSTAINABLE CHANGE IN THE SOCIETY

 About Village –Anwalhera, District- Monoharthana , Rajasthan

Overview: Anwalhera is small village located in Manohar Thana Tehsil of Jhalawar district, Rajasthan with total approx. 400 families residing. The Anwalhera village has population of 1714 of which 1000 are males while 900 are females as per Population Census 2011. In Anwalhera village population of children with age 0-6 is 284 which makes up 16.57 % of total population of village. Average Sex Ratio of Anwalhera village is 1007 which is higher than Rajasthan state average of 928. Child Sex Ratio for the Anwalhera as per census is 986, higher than Rajasthan average of 888. Anwalhera village has lowest literacy rate compared to  other villages of Rajasthan. 

Choices for earning a decent living

In Anwalhera village out of total population, 90% of people are engaged in agriculture or its related Work but Earning is not more than 6 Months. 9 % were involved in Marginal work for the govt projects that too if that if there are projects to work on which is typically not more than 100 days in a year. 

Literacy India did the baseline survey to start the vocational training project to create sustainable livelihood and income generation program.  The baseline analysis showed that the lack of access and opportunities for livelihoods forced the inhabitants for migration in search of work. Male folks are dependent on agriculture, however it is seasonal. Women are basically engaged into domestic chores. Realizing the need for development, Literacy India started its operation to offer convenient education and also provision of sustainable livelihoods through proper training. General analysis and observation shows that there  is always  hidden talent for stitching and tailoring in this village and nearby villages as well, just a proper training to make them skilled is  all it required. Women are also interested to take part in stitching & tailoring programme to support their families.Typical an average student of Stitching saves close to Rs.500/- a month if they stitch their own clothes and also take orders from the community , working from  home without any overhead cost , the woman beneficiary can earn close to Rs1500 to Rs2000/ a month which can help a house hold in a rural surrroundings a great deal.

  Literacy India Learning Centre Anwalhera, Sadla & Manoharthana

Literacy India learning centre itself is a composite. It consists of ICT based Digital learning for children, Karigari Vocational Training of Tailoring & Stitching, Weaving for community both men and women, Computer Learning courses for youth, Proving Agriculture techniques for both men and women farmers. The centralized objective of the program is to provide Education for Children and Livelihood Skill training for the community, so that they are able to earn sustainable livelihood. 

A quick glance of activities undertaken during Period 

  • Survey and identification of beneficiaries
  • Assessment of skill for beneficiaries
  • Set up with equipment’s and required particulars to initiate the project
  • Human resource- recruitment of trainers
  • Regular ongoing training for every centers
  • Regular center visit and review meetings
  • Pre assessment of GDD(Gyantantra Digital Dost) enrolled children.
  • Periodic evaluation and progress mapping of children academic

 Impact of the project:

  • Out of 20 enrolled women 19 attended the classes regularly
  • 4 have started working actively in the community.
  • They are able to earn 1500-3000 per month and it decent amount for rural area.
  • Knowledge and skill upgrade among the trainees.
  • 44 children enrolled under GDD( Digital Education)  for two batches.
  • Children achieved successfully academic level.

 Stories of support:  

 Name: Indra ( Name changed)  Age: 20 Location : Anwalhera

Given proper support and encouragement, there are millions of women who can stand on their feet. Indra is a shining example, made a significant difference and established an ideology for making lives more meaningful. Indra had never been to school due to her family’s economic condition. She stays in small house with eight sisters in Awalheda a remote village in Rahasthan. Her father is very old and hence he is not able to work and mother is a farming labour.

Literacy India gives her a platform to grow and become self-dependent; she successfully completed the six month vocational training in cutting and tailoring course. Apart from this, her keen interest in studying and self-development encourages her to study in Literacy India and she has recently completed Grade V exams. Now Indra is a specialist in tailoring and stiches Blouse, Paint and Shirt at home. She is now able to support her family with additional income Rs.100 daily.  Her mother is supportive towards her efforts and also encourages her at every step. Indra is very keen to work and earn money for better future of her family.

 Name: Sushila (Name changed)   Age: 30 Location: Anwalhera Rajashthan

Sushila scripted her own success — one which most women in the tiny village of Anwalhera are trying to emulate. She got married in age of 17 and did not get any opportunity to study not even to the basic primary schooling. Sushila and her husband has two children, son is studying in 10th standard. Her husband had tea shop in the local market of Anwalhera.

After much of struggle and courage, she joined the vocational training in cutting and tailoring in Literacy India learning centre Anwalhera. This course has helped her to earn an ad hoc income to support her family. She stitches clothes at home, but till now didn’t get enough customers. Moreover customers also fail to pay her on time. All the hardship didn’t  stop her enthusiasm and perseverance and she continues to stitches cloths and earns about Rs. 2000 per month. From her income, she is supporting her family's expenses and she is also looking forward for a decent job opportunity in tailoring so that she can help in better upbringing of her children.

 Gyantantra Digital Dost:  This project uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to innovatively address multiple problems associated with the quality of education available to the poor in India: - Poor teaching quality, lack of quality teacher training - Inconsistency in teaching while teaching difficult concepts - Lack of motivation among children of the illiterate and the poor, to go to a nearby school –Absence of practice and printed work books in the Govt schools, that is a right of  every child - Lack of access to engaging colorful storybooks, videos, and interactivity based multimedia learning content. This project have been to empower and educate the children with lessons using ICT- Information Communication and Technology which fast tracked their learning on important subjects like  Science , Maths , EVS, upto grade V along with subjects like HIV, Sexual Abuse ,Voting Rights  & Opening of Bank Accounts.

While the role of elementary education in the process of development and social progress is universally accepted, India’s dream of universal primary education is far from reality. According to the latest statistics published in the ASER Centre report 2014, over 50% of Standard V-VIII children in rural and urban India are unable to read Standard II level text in their mother tongue. The numbers are as alarming across multiple other parameters, across several others subjects including elementary concepts of mathematics, sciences, etc.

 As per our Pre-Assessment while enrolled for Gyantantra Digital dost program the facts are writhen below and in rural area the fact is very worrying.

  • 70 % Grade II, III children are not able to write the words, solve basic arithmetic sums and write English alphabets, name of days, words in figures.
  • 58% grade IV & V children are not able to form the sentences , able to read Hindi  paragraphs, solve the basic sums of multifunction, subtraction, division , ascending orders and in English not able to write basic words, sentences , name of days, month etc.
  • No access of Library and computer in the schools.
  • No access of toilets and drinking water facilities in the schools.
  • Insufficient teacher’s verses student ratio.

Story of success

 Name: Vasanti  ( Name Changed)  Age: 13 Location:  Sadla Rajashthan

This is Vasanti age 13, her is one such life among thousands that got transformed due to the dedicated and consistent efforts by literacy India. She belongs to a small village called sadla in Rajasthan. Her father is a farming labour and she has three siblings, two sisters and one brother. Vasanti is self-motivated, and has several accomplishments to her credit during the cause so far. She started her education in Literacy India, Sadla centre in Gyantantra Programme. As per Pre-Assessment test we found that she is not even able to write and recognise Hindi varnamala and English alphabet, she admitted that her grade level is zero in Gyantantra Course.  After completion of the programme she proved hard work and dedication always pays off and soon she will be in Govt. school in Grade Vth. Due to this course, her reading and writing skills is now very good.  

Name: Ramdhani   ( Name Changed)    Age: 12    Location Sadla Rajashthan

Like many others Ramdhani’s life was also transformed and revolutionized by Literacy India. Ramdhani, 12 year old young girl who loves playing Kabaddi and Kho-Kho with other children & she does all household chores including cooking. She has four younger sisters and one brother, her father and mother both are farming labour in Sadla, a remote village in Rajasthan. Ramdhani is a fast learner, energetic & very dynamic in class. She is currently going to Govt. school and side by side she joined Gyantantra course in Sadla Literacy India Learning centre. The inherent qualities like sincerity, enthusiasm & zeal were already there in her but literacy India has empowered her and now she felt self-assured and confident. After attending the Gyantantra course for six months she can recite and easily read the English small sentences, day and month name. In mathematics she can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, Division. In future she aspires to be a teacher to help others to rise and shine.

Beneficiaries home based enterprise and classes
Beneficiaries home based enterprise and classes

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