When Ashwini Charitable Trust (ACT) adopted the Government Tamil Primary School in Murphy Town, Bangalore, the twin mandates we assigned to ourselves were very clear - i.) To improve the basic language and math skills of the children studying in the school and, ii.) To repair and rebuild the infrastructure of the school so that the 80+ children studying there are in a safe, secure, clean and attractive environment.
On our very first visit to the school, we fell in love with the ancient colonial era school building and its annexe, and the vast green ground stretching behind it. But a closer look revealed the reality behind the facade. The thick walls of the building were hollowed out by termites, the roof leaked during the rains, the children's toilets were crumbling and choked with refuse, one syntex tank serviced the whole school for both drinking and washing up purposes and the green cover on the ground was actually overgrown weeds and brambles.
Even as we were taking stock of the broken furniture, walls and windows, ACT volunteers were on the job from day one, teaching those children who are weak in studies and were lagging behind others in class, basic reading, writing and comprehension skills. ACT has bought a whole series of graded books, which would take these children through the process of gradually acquiring language skills.
Repair work of the building started with the walls being treated for termite infestation and then filled with concrete before being painted a cheerful yellow colour. One room was transformed into a computer room, with two computer terminals and another into a library. ACT had organised for volunteers from companies like Cisco, Synopsis, Thomson Reuters and Citrix to interact with the school children and teachers as part of their companys' CSR initiative. Cisco volunteers even taught the school teachers, including the Head Mistress, basic computer skills, and 101 volunteers from Synopsis deweeded the garden and painted the classroom walls, doors and windows.
Once the summer vacation started, ACT got the childrens' toilets totally redone with continuous water supply and also organised a lady to clean both the girls' and the boys' toilets twice a day during school days. An aquaguard water filter has been fitted in the drinking water area so that the children get clean poatble water to drink. The washing up area has also been redone with a long, cement wash basin and an outlet for used water.
Tarpaulin sheets have been spread on the roof to take care of the leaks, and the classroom windows have been repaired with all the grills redone in order to ensure safety for the children. ACT has also got more than 50 saplings in the school premises.
Now when we visit the school, we are greeted by flowering plants and smiling faces.
But, this is just the beginning - a lot more needs to be done.
The Government Tamil Higher Primary School is located at Murphy Town .It was was started in 1924.It has 88 children on roll and adopted by NGO Ashwini Charitable Trust.We intend to carry out the needs of the school in a phased manner and based on funding/support we receive from sponsors and Donors.
INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
Here is Ashwini Charitable Trust‘s (ACT) story of how you are helping to Save A School. Your kind donations has enabled us to take up these projects.
Improving INFRASTRUCTURE and RESOURCES
Electrical Works -One room has been converted into a Computer Lab. Before setting up the computers ACT ensured proper earthing of the electrical points in the room. An MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker) and extra plug points have been installed.
Computers - ACT has shared its resources in order to create a computer lab. Two Desktop computers, Four Laptop computers and two computer tables, all donated have been installed in this computer lab so that both the teachers and the students of the school can be taught how to use computers by the ACT volunteers.
Library- Two steel cupboards have been installed in the school for the purpose of storing the library books. ACT has bought a set of 150 books that are age appropriate for the children of the school from Tulika Publications. ACT has introduced Hippocampus’ Grow By Reading programme for the children of the school and has bought books that have been graded for 6 levels. The ACT volunteers regularly use these books to improve the reading skills of the students.
Gardening & Tree Planting- ACT believes in sensitizing the children towards nature. Since we follow Howard Gardner’s theory of ‘Multiple Intelligences’ which says that being close to nature is one way of identifying and arousing the latent interests and intelligences in a child, we are particular that the children of the school learn to take care of the garden and the trees that have been planted by ACT volunteers in the school compound. Towards this end, ACT celebrated a small ‘Vanamahotsav’( Tree planting festival) function in the school on 30.11.13, wherein 32 tree saplings donated by the Karnataka Forest Department were planted within the school compound.
Classroom Furniture – Tables and chairs donated by the Mallya Aditi International School have been installed in the school classrooms. ACT is grateful to Ms. Ann Warrior of MAIS for this kind gesture.
.2. Improving the quality of EDUCATION
Volunteering- ACT’s volunteers have pitched in at various levels to improve the attendance, infrastructure, learning processes and fun activities in the school. Particular focus has been given to improve the reading and writing skills of the poor learners, so that the teachers can concentrate on completing the academic portions before the final exams.
Improvements in classroom interaction and quality of engagement with the children and their families - In order to achieve this ACT has improved one school classroom and converted it into the Library and Computer Lab. We believe that children learn better in an audio-visual manner and in this regard have also started the “Flow of English” Computer Aided English program. The Chipper Sage ‘Flow of English’ programme was commenced in the school on 29-01-2014. The founder of Chipper Sage Ms. Latha Srinivasan conducted a workshop for the teachers of the school in order to familiarize them with this new concept. Chipper Sage is a reading software for beginners which helps the child to read English fluently and willingly. The teachers received this orientation workshop very well and have wanted more of the same after school hours.
Art Classes –Regular art classes have been conducted by an established Bangalore based artist since art helps children to relieve stress and express their feelings.
Computer Classes- Computer classes are being held regularly for both the students and the teachers.
Waste Segregation – Ms. Safeera from ACT has initiated the waste management programme in the school and is educating the children on how to reuse and recycle water.
Home Visits –Ms. Sahay Rose, an MSW worker and ACT volunteer has been visiting the homes of the children who live in the vicinity of the school to find out what keeps the children away from the school.
Needs Analysis – In order to understand the children and their families we have had Ms. Sahay Rose do a Needs Analysis after visiting the homes of the children. According to the social worker the children and families need regular orientation classes on personal health safety, sanitation, cleanliness and hygiene. It has been proposed to have these workshops after school so that the children, parents and teachers can all benefit from the same.