Jun 19, 2018

Transforming the classroom environment through life skills - Impact report

Impact assessment for all classrooms in Chennai
Impact assessment for all classrooms in Chennai

We at Bhumi strive towards providing holistic education and sustainable livelihoods for all. With over 12 years’ experience in handling classes at shelter homes, we have recently forayed into urban slum communities and low-income schools; for we believe education must prepare a child to become a well-rounded adult by tuning to each child’s unique needs and skills, and and influencing emotional, cognitive, social, and physical spheres.

In 2017-18, over 1,500 children honed essential life skills along with 57 teachers in Chennai and Uthiramerur. It is observed that across these 53 classrooms, there is a 48.98% increase in the children’s ability to interact with others, 66.91% increase in solving problems, 65.05% increase in taking initiative, and 63.38% in managing conflicts and 50.90% increase in understanding and following instructions. We believe that continuing this effort in the classrooms for one more year will only strengthen this foundation, and help children transition into individuals sensitive to their needs and those around.

Teacher development programme is a major component of the programme. The workshops equip teachers to acknowledge and develop inter-personal relationships, self awareness, empathy, coping with emotions or stress, critical thinking, decision making and more. It also promotes personal development through focused conversations, facilitated and driven by trained professionals.

A facilitator’s testimonial narrates the impact of the programme. “I was apprehensive when I attended the first workshop and wasn’t sure if the children would be involved. After several classes of life skills, when children were asked to thank the one person who has been their pillar of strength, many children came forward to recount and share their memories and gratitude. My moment of pride and joy however was when a physically challenged child, who is withdrawn and mostly quiet otherwise, shared his story voluntarily. I was touched to see this transformation.”

Why Life Skills:
Life skills are essential abilities that enable an individual to deal effectively with demands and challenges encountered in everyday life. Bhumi’s school transformation programme in partnership with the Learning Curve Life skills Foundation, aims at integrating socio-emotional development into the school’s schedule, thus transforming a classroom into a collaborative, fearless space for children to foster in. Positive social and emotional skills can impact how children function at home, school and in the community. For a child, this includes:

  • Being in control of his/her own feelings and behaviours
  • Possessing the ability to understand the feelings of others
  • Getting along with other children
  • Building meaningful relationships with adults

Overall, the school transformation programme has raised the edifice of an ideal classroom environment in which everyone has an opportunity to learn and improve.

May 3, 2018

A year that culminated in a festival of experiential learning

Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18

There is no one perfect way to make formal-education more effective and interesting. Bhumi volunteers have made sure that our children appreciate what they learn, through their practical teaching methods and radical education fests. A pole-star in Bhumi’s Ignite education programme is the Ignite Fest, an annual inter-shelter home education fest conducted in Chennai. 

At Ignite Fest, hundreds of children from different shelter homes and lower economic schools participate to display competence they have gained through the subjects taught by our volunteers. Children demonstrate project related models, conduct experiments and attend workshops, and thus get a unique opportunity to learn, compete and grow. It serves as a platform to ignite the potential within.

This academic year, the Fest was organised at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Chennai, and over 950 children took part; some displaying interesting projects made by themselves in teams, guided by volunteers. More than 260 Bhumi volunteers helped in organising and conducting the event. The stage has inspired children to bring out their otherwise passive potential. Apart from the project expo, there were technical games and workshops for children. In all, the day proved to be an ensemble of talents, an inspiration to participants and the guests.

Children participated in interesting games that showcased their thinking and learning capability. Stalls were set up for Mathematics, giving a magical experience with numbers for children. Games were conducted to analyse how well the kids have grasped the concepts taught to them and how easily they are able to apply the same in solving real-world problems. Workshops on Paint and Power Point were organised, where many interested children got benefitted. Scintillating science projects done by our kids were exhibited. Children were also introduced to 'Klee art', inspired by Paul Klee to explore color theory. Children in teams, guided by volunteers, constructed their own mini, operational robots.

Children were well appreciated by guests who had come in to observe and participate, and thus, ended a beautiful, memorable year on a high!

Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18 Stall
Ignite fest 2017-18 Stall
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Ignite fest 2017-18
Feb 20, 2018

An ignited mind, igniting many more

Rahul with children from his native village
Rahul with children from his native village

In the ongoing journey to achieve quality education for all children, Bhumi volunteers have enjoyed many proud moments. One such moment of success was experienced by volunteers in Delhi when one of their students started educating other children in his hometown, joining a group of volunteers there. The child now believes that guiding and educating children can have immense impact on our society.

Rahul* (name changed), a child from a village in Uttar Pradesh, was residing in Delhi at an orphanage that provided shelter for children till Class 10. He was enrolled in ‘Ignite’, Bhumi’s education programme. After being a part of the Science programme for two years in middle school, he moved into the mentoring programme in high school. The latter pairs underprivileged children with volunteers who act as their mentors and role models. These conversations help the children realise their potential and transform them into more socially conscious citizens. Though Rahul was in the mentoring programme, volunteers from all educational programmes under ‘Ignite’ in Delhi supported his education.

Soon after his Class 10 final exams, Rahul moved back to his hometown and has been continuing his higher education. He has been in regular contact with Lakhbir, one of his volunteer-mentors with whom he shares his experiences and at times seeks guidance. During a recent conversation with Lakhbir, he shared with great joy and satisfaction that he is educating more than 150 children in his hometown through an after-school programme. Along with five other volunteers, he has been volunteering to train younger kids in their village.

“I am liking it (teaching other children) so much. Time passes so quickly while teaching them. They are very eager to learn”, Rahul shared with Lakhbir, our volunteer.

Our volunteers were exhilarated on learning about how Rahul drew inspiration from them and decided to give back to society.

Ronil, who was teaching him Science says, “I taught Rahul for two years and I must say that he has always been a passionate student. Always looking forward to next week’s class and always asking questions and not only related to the subject but in general as well. As I see him teach kids today, I feel very proud, and I see the same enthusiasm as he showed when he was a student. I am sure he will continue to influence many more kids.”

Lakhbir says, “The contribution he is making to society at such a young age is an inspiration. For me, to see my student grow into an individual who is inspiring many more is the biggest reward I can ever ask for. All I feel is pride as a mentor.”

Rahul stands as a leader to many underserved children in his village, just like how he was led by volunteers during his time in Delhi; this is one vital success for Bhumi. We take this opportunity to thank all the compassionate volunteers who contribute their time and effort to impact society through quality education. Bhumi thanks its donors for supporting the Ignite programme, without whom these children would have been devoid of such opportunities.

 
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