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Jul 20, 2020

EDUCATION AT AASRAA AS WE ENTER 'THE NEW NORMAL'

Online class being conducted by the teaching staff
Online class being conducted by the teaching staff

Aasraa Trust was set up in 2009 to empower street and slum children via education, skills training, nutrition, and healthcare. We also run shelter homes for almost 400 boys & girls, to provide them a secure environment & nurturing care.

From basic literacy to pre-school programs; to sponsoring children in school and providing after school tuition; to providing shelter to children who have nowhere else to go, Aasraa programs cater to the needs of these vulnerable children. Thanks to you, we have provided 3351 children just this year with a place to live, learn, and feel safe. It was possible because of the supporters such as you, who played a key role in our success in keeping slum children into education.

With the Lockdown announced by the government due to the Coronavirus pandemic (23rd March), all our education centers are shut temporarily. Therefore, the Education team drafted a comprehensive action plan to keep students connected with their subjects.

Keeping the students’ safety in mind along with their academic concern, Aasraa’s education team endorsed online learning. Traditional teaching has taken a back seat since the COVID outbreak and the following steps were taken to ensure no child loses track of education due to the lockdown: 

  • We connected with our students and their parents through phone to understand the status of their household and what affect the pandemic has had for them. We discussed with the parents the importance of support & motivation for the child, especially at this delicate time. 
  • Understanding the needs of our children, we made sure that emergency ration reached where it was needed – a child cannot study an empty stomach. Our food warriors distributed dry ration packs to 13,106 slum families. In addition to this, 14, 042 relief packages were distributed to thousands of daily wagers, who along with their families, embarked on the journey to their native places.
  • Online education- In our partner schools, the teaching staff made class wise WhatsApp groups and added our children (who are mainstreamed by us) into it. We started with basic interaction and arts and craft activities to hold our children’s attention and let them understand the possibility of online education.  The teaching staff shared worksheets, questions, videos, images, and voice messages. Using the aforementioned mediums, topics and sub-topics were covered. Teachers answered questions and queries raised by the students via SMS, phone calls or audio notes.
  • Distribution of Education kits and ration packages to the slum children- Amidst the lockdown, we also focused on the shape of education to come. We reached out to our children with the class-wise educational packs of stationery and storybooks. The Education team with the help of Outreach, procured the material and distributed it to the children. We have already distributed over 2153 education packs to them while distributing ration packs.
  • Video lectures for mainstreamed children- The teaching staff prepared video lectures so that students could continue getting guidance virtually. They kept a record of the concepts that were covered in the mainstream schools of all the children and prepared the lessons accordingly. Later, assignments and worksheets were prepared on the basis of lecture videos and were given to the students. Our Project Leaders recorded and shared videos on YouTube, to develop the reasoning skills of the children.

(For example:- https://youtu.be/HZhohYdQhJk)

Children enjoyed learning new tricks to solve mathematical concepts and showed positive response towards this new approach.

  • Computer education- Our children also learn computer skills to come at par with other students.  As we were not supposed to have usual human interaction and children were not able to attend the classes amidst the crisis, Aasraa assigned its computer teacher to record and share video tutorials to educate children on basic computer applications. Based on the timetable, our computer teacher regularly conducted computer classes for each class (once in a week) to ensure no one misses the opportunity to learn due to lockdown.
  • Extra classes for Grade 10 students- In this reporting period, the students of Grade 10 who were appearing for their board examinations, missed out on a few subjects due to the Coronavirus outbreak. As no clear information was available regarding the pending exams, the teaching staff conducted revision classes during the Summer break (in the month of June). In addition to online classes, our Maths and Science teacher assisted children in practicing numeric questions and in understanding the concepts of core subjects in depth. 

 

   Activities conducted amidst the lockdown

  • Teachers’ training- Accepting the needs of our teachers, we provided them training on spoken English and basic IT skills. Moreover, pushed and trained teachers to make education interesting and conceptual for the child back at his home with limited access to resources. 
  • World Environment Day celebrations- We observe World Environment Day every year with outdoor activities across all centers. This year, amidst the lockdown, the teaching staff facilitated students to reach out for information beyond the textbooks. Children who have returned to their native places carried out a sapling plantation drive at their respective homes and shared their experiences with the teachers. They learned about biodiversity and recycled plastic waste into useful items like flower pots, pen stand, etc. Children designed colorful posters portraying how to make their nearby surroundings safe and clean to enjoy a safer, cleaner, and more prosperous future.
  • Activity Day – Though the medium to impart education changed from traditional to online, no changes were made to the actual timetable (as followed in the School). Children attended online classes from Monday till Thursday and learned course subjects i.e. Hindi, English, Maths, Science etc. Friday is activity day at our partner schools, to revise lessons done during the week and to express their understanding of the subject through posters, collages, 3D models. Children concentrated on the theme of ‘Corona’ and some carried forward the theme of protecting the environment. Students designed beautiful posters portraying preventive measures and the role of frontline warriors amidst the pandemic.

With the start of the new academic year in April, Aasraa’s education team is prepared for the ‘new normal’ for the 3,351 children studying across 39 education centers of Aasraa. Though we are eagerly waiting for this phase to pass, to re-engage with the children, we are strictly adhering to the guidelines issued by the government and will re-open our centers as soon as the situation permits.

It has been an exhilarating journey as we have watched the children thrive under our care. We are both humbled by and so proud of what our children have been able to achieve. Truthfully, we could not do this without you. We, and the children we serve, sincerely appreciate your generosity.

In the coming editions of our regular newsletters and reports, we'll share the details of the developments at Aasraa that have become possible because of your continued support.

Thank you!

Assignment submitted by a student through WhatsApp
Assignment submitted by a student through WhatsApp
Distribution of Education materials by Outreach
Distribution of Education materials by Outreach
Aasraa's teacher recording a video lesson
Aasraa's teacher recording a video lesson
Designed by a student on World Environment Day
Designed by a student on World Environment Day
Useful craft made from recycled materials
Useful craft made from recycled materials

Links:

Aug 9, 2019

The Foundation To Excel - Wings

Wings at Abdul Kalam School
Wings at Abdul Kalam School

“Thebestway to predict thefuture is to create it.”AbrahamLincoln

Wings of Doon is an after school program that reinforces education. It raises the bar.

Presently, Aasraa, with the support of all friends and donors, has 1879 children across 14 after school support projects under Wings of Doon program for mainstreamed students in Dehradun.

Wings program aims to provide conceptual and curriculum support to children who live in slums where they have no desks to study at, no lamps to read under and no one to answer their questions when they don’t understand something. No child can study when he is sick or hungry. Nutrition and medical care are integral parts of the proposed program. We provide adequate nutrition ranging from a fruit, a glass of milk to hot meals. Our dedicated medical team ensures that all children in our programs are healthy and are given necessary healthcare support.

Eight out of the fourteen Wings projects run in government schools. In two government schools we run the program through a mutual agreement with the school management and other six schools comes under an MOU between Aasraa Trust and Department of Education – Uttarakhand to improve the quality of education and resources available in a select group of 6 Government schools in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Program is called School Quality Enhancement Program (SQEP). The incredible potential of improving Government school’s infrastructure, training teachers to use updated teaching methodology, improving TLM and using Computer Aided learning to impact the learning levels of these underprivileged children is enormous.

The aim of this program is to show, using a sample selection of schools, how this intervention can seriously impact and improve the enrolment, attendance and learning level of children by providing additional resources including additional teachers and outreach staff, capacity building, Teaching and Learning Materials TLM), Computers & Computer Aided Learning (CAL).

Recently, an impact assessment format has also been designed and implemented to measure the difference between school class room learning and the Wings after school support programs. It measures both conceptual understanding and retention.

We see the positive impact every day as school results continue to improve and our children have started to excel at their studies.

Thank you for your incredible support which is helping our children  soar towards excellence.

Computer Aided Learning
Computer Aided Learning
Wings at Araghar
Wings at Araghar
Wins at Kanwali road Hub of the Rag pickers Colony
Wins at Kanwali road Hub of the Rag pickers Colony
Aug 6, 2019

Breaking Barriers To Make Society Inclusive

Identifying children not in school
Identifying children not in school

There is only one thing that proves to be more expensive than education in life. The lack of it. – GB Santiago

At Aasraa, we firmly believe that providing children with access to quality education, supporting them in a holistic manner and working with their families and community, we can successfully influence the community outcomes. We are not just providing education, but ushering in a larger social change. Through your support, all children at Aasraa get a chance to achieve their full potential and transform the lives of not just themselves but their families and communities.

 Education is a secondary consideration in the lives of the street children and  residents of the  slum clusters we work with.  The struggle to earn a living takes precedence. Child labour is common as  children rag-pick, work in tea stalls, clean people’s homes. In most families, both parents work, so children are left to be supervised by the older girl children in the family. The level of alcoholism and abuse is high in these neighbourhoods. Life is hard and dreams are few. 

As we spend more time understanding how our children live their lives, we see the many barriers that impede their advancement - poverty combined with illiteracy, poor health and  lack of nutrition, marginalises and excludes the children. To become an inclusive organisation, in addition to education, we have to rear healthy children who do not feel excluded from their peer group in schools for lack of good health. With good health comes self esteem and the confidence to compete . Hence, healthcare, which includes nutrition and medical care is a mandatory part of our work.
Thank you  for supporting us in delivering solutions to break down the barriers created for the marginalised.

With your benevolent support, we now impact the lives of 3250 children who are educated, immunised, fed, mainstreamed to school, get remedial support and  we provide shelter for those who are homeless.

Mobile Learning Centers reach out to children
Mobile Learning Centers reach out to children
Including all children in our programmes
Including all children in our programmes
Education Centers on refurbished vendor carts
Education Centers on refurbished vendor carts
Fighting gender bias for inclusivity
Fighting gender bias for inclusivity
Meeting with the parents & community
Meeting with the parents & community
 
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