As part of the efforts to reduce drop outs, the project is supporting students through scholarships and providing bicycles.
In the last three months the project provided scholships to students studying in local village schools. The scholarship is helping to provide for the children's school bags, extra notebooks and other basic amenities that parents are unable to provide for thier children.
Why bicycles: A majority of rural students walk 6 kms to reach a middle school and 8+ kms to reach a high school. Children from our villages have told us ‘walking to and back from school daily is very difficult; we feel very tired and hardly have any energy to study after coming back home’. Parents tell us that their children would get sick walking in the heat and often missed school because of this.
The project is helping to provide bicycles to students in middle school, as a long-term and sustainable solution to address the problem of distance to school, a main reason for drop-outs. The bicycle project is a tremendous success. We see visible differences in school attendance and also a shift in attitudes among students and parents. Students tell us proudly ‘now I have a bicycle; I come to school independently riding the bicycle and am very happy about this’.
Global Giving team member, Neharika Tummala visited the Kalanjiyam projects site in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu, ealy in July. We were able to show the project's efforts for improving hygiene and sanitation and also to meet with students in our adopted schools. It was very encouraging for our team and our schools, to have such a visit from Global Giving. For our staff talking and explaining about the project increases their confidence and improves their skills in presenting information. For our students, visits such as this expose them to persons who have wider world view, and they benefit from the exposure. They also more firmly internalize the efforts of the project and their involvement, and increases their pride and confidence.
We look forward to more visits in the future as well. Please see the photos from the visit.
During the school year, students in the project schools participated in four type of competitions.
The first was drawing competition; the drawing master who teaches the children gave three topics to the students in 3 to 5 and had the students make their drawings and color them using the project provided materials. Similarly competion was also conducted among the middle school students, 6th to 8th classes. The drawing master and school teacher served as judge and selected the top two drawings in each school. A total of about 600 students participated in the competion from all the project schools combined.
The second was a competition for reciting Thirukkural, and each student was to recite a minimum of 50 Kurals (for 3 to 5 classes) and upto to 100 Kurals (for 6th to 8th classes). The students were given one week to prepare for the competition and on the specified day, participating students in each school, presented / recited kurals in front of a panel of judges. In each school all students who could present/ recite the 50 or 100 Kurals without mistakes, boldly and confidently were selected as winners.
The third was a competiton reciting multiplication tables. Students in class 3 to 5 only were to particate and were to present upto 16 tables. IN each school the students who could present the tables without mistake and selected to be provided prizes.
The fourth competition was a drama competition; each school students were asked to select a social responsible topic and present the drama during the after school tuition program. The students were given one week to prepare, and students of all classes were allowed to participate. The panel of judges included the project staff, school teachers and community leaders. One best drama was selected, based on how well the students presented, and in how well they used materials locally available.
Once all the competions were held, and best students selected a prize distribution program was orgnganized in our field office; community leaders, school teachers, project staff and parents of the school students were invited. Nearly 100 children were selected and participated in the program, as they were selected for one of the above prizes. Some students presented a dance and entertained the audience. The school teachers and community were overjoyed at the level of participation and happiness that the children showed. A total of 43 students received prize for best drawing, 50 for Thirukkural recitation, 45 for reciting tables and 15 students from one school for the drama competition. IN one of the project schools, a 1st standard boy, won the prize for reciting multiplication tables 1 to 16, without any mistake. He recited the tables and amazed the audience and other students present.
The project is not only helping the rural children in their edcuation, and is exposing them to compeitions and providing prizes for encouraging the children. This makes a tremendous difference for their interest in learning and encourages the parents to support their children's education. We thank all the donors for making such programs possible! Thank you very much for your continued support.
The school strengthening program has carried out the following activities in the last three months:
We are happy to share with you on some of the key activities of the rural school strengthening project in the last few months.
One of the main challenges with many of the rural children is that their memory and concentration varies; we have found that they need individual attention on basic fundamentals and it takes one to two years for us to correct many of the learning challenges. Para teachers placed in schools by the project are addressing this critica issue.
Evening tuition is conducted by para teachers daily for one and half hours after school. The children are gathered in a common place in the village. The focus of these sessions are to help students having the most challenges in learning. During these evening classes the para teachers help the students to strengthen their fundamentals, gain general knowledge, practice tests, helping them to do their home work and also have time for fun and play. Now the children are also doing projects, on special topics, which they prepare and present to other children. These sessiosn are fun for the students, and at the same time they learn better.
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