Going to School Fund

Going to School creates design-driven stories to teach India's poorest children skills at school. We're an award-winning nonprofit trust with a 10-year track record of inspiring millions of children in India to stay in school, learn skills, use their education to transform their lives and create their own opportunities. Our journey began in 2003 when we created Going to School in India, a children's book that tells 25 stories of what school can be, from going to school in a tent in a desert to going to school in the dark with solar lanterns. We made the book into a pioneering TV series that aired on India's leading television networks reaching 65 million children. Our next se...
Dec 16, 2015

Gaming for change

It's the end of the year and we're still going. We created three digital games to teach kids entrepreneurial skills at school and we realised that while content is imperative, it's not just about content. As we visited a selection of the 1,500 high schools we work in, in Bihar, India - we discovered that making great games for kids was not enough. The computer rooms where we wanted to install these games were locked. Or, there was no computer teacher. Or, there was no electricity or the key to the generator was missing in action. So while technology is wonderful, where we work in India, it's still going to mean 100 people need to go there, turn up every day to a different school with 100 tablets. Hardware + software :) And that's just what the intrepid team has been doing. It's cold, frosty, misty (not to mention, Patna is the seocnd most pollluted city after Delhi, which is the world's number one). Sometimes the fog is so thick you can't see your hand in front of your face. But still, in this, there are children going to school and teachers too, and when we've made it with our games, we've had as many as 140 kids playing at one time. What are these games? Maya and the Storm. Maya and the Night. Maya and the Banyan. Maya is a naughty, curious girl in jeans and checked shirt who is trying to manage her time to protect her village before the storm hits. Then, she's building all different kinds of renewable energy to get lights back on where she lives. And Maya and the Banyan - well, you'll have to visit the all play stores in 2016 to be able to download and play it. It's a lot of fun.

We know this is working because we ask our teams to take selfies in front of the school. We then get to GPS tag the school and kids game scores get uploaded to the server.

Our lesson of 2016: digital games are great for kids, but it still takes the human interface of turning up each day to ensure kids get a chance to play.

Game on Going to School Bihar, we're very proud.

2016 we aim to have 100,000 kids gaming. Stay tuned and thanks for your support this year!

Going to School.

Sep 22, 2015

Design-thinking with kids in India

Design-thinking is a wonderful set of words. It's human-centered design, designing with and for kids, so that it reaches them, so that when the story arrives, it connects with their emotions, their potential, their innate ability to change their lives and the world around them. We've been design-thinking since 2003 when Going to School in India began. We just didn't know it had a name. 2015 has been a year of completely creating anew. We received a report on our teacher training that said it was good, but could we do better? We responded to the challenge by doing what we know best - we created all new stories. With teachers as customers, creators, co-creators and collaborators we dropped the words 'teacher-training' and found a new voice: The Sound & Light Show. As you read this, this show has been on the road, to 10 districts in Bihar, India, sometimes playing in four locations at one time. It's a three-screen adventure, three laptops, movies and images surrounding you - screens made of bamboo and white cotton (our Indian invention at work - it was too expensive to buy and move ready made screens). We did this in 5 weeks - the redesign that is, and it's been playing now for 10 weeks. And the good news is very good. We've had 100% attendance from teachers in far-flung districts, words have spread like wild fire from teacher to teacher: there are movies, there's music, leaf plates serve lunch, feedback after every session and a chance to teach, to re-create and co-create. We've never had 100% attendance. I think we'll call this this Sound & Light show from now on.

 

Then, as the show makes it's way through Bihar and Jharkhand, the Delhi teams have been creating new skills stories. We have our all-star stories that teachers and kids love: Bijali brings the carnival to her village, Seher's Bolt of Lightening business, My Secondhand shoes. We're thankful they are all-star-stories. But even those things we love we have to remake a new - so new kids and new teachers recognize stories that reflect their lives in this changing world in which we live. There are six new stories. Kids can now open bank accounts in India - so there's a story about how to make that happen. A second story about a young woman with a bicycle repair shop and how she figures out the right price, just like prices are set in giant vegetable markets and stock markets. There's a story about taking a risk - just daring to speak up and do what you dream. Another about how a coin, one rupee, travels from you to me, adding and losing value, connecting us all. Climate change. Sustainability. Entrepreneurial skills. Getting started.

 

The Sound & Light show Part 2 will role out again in early December with six new stories. Come on down, this is what design-thinking is in India.

Jun 29, 2015

Going to School Summer 2015

 

At Going to School, stories are the tools to learn. Everything we know, learn or share is through the medium of stories, either read or narrated orally. Going by the rate of unemployment, the future working generation are currently in school without the right set of skills to either get a job or create a job for themselves.  We are creating a set of design driven stories that each teach a set of entrepreneurial skills like making a budget, how to make strong social connections, learning how to negotiate, take a risk, innovate etc. We derive inspiration from real life success stories of entrepreneurs who take risks, identify problems and solve it by starting an enterprise.  

Our story books are read by more than 1, 30,000 kids in Secondary Government schools across Bihar & Jharkhand. Last year we printed one book for each child so that they can own it, take it home and read it with their friends & family whenever they want to. This is our third year in Bihar, and as we are just around the corner with this year’s annual report, s data shows that kids have announced their verdict- They love the Be! Books and the amazing way each book has been designed differently from them.  Children also loved playing the games and skills challenges that come as part of a complete book. This year, we have come up with five completely new story books that teach a universe full of skills, and with each book, there is one exciting new game that is followed up with an adventurous skills challenge.  We would like to share our new releases of summer 2015 with you.

Book 1: The Indian Train Journey: A Postcard Adventure. This book introduces the concept of entrepreneurs, enterprises and the different skills they have. The story revolves around the postcards exchanged between a brother and a sister. The brother meets new entrepreneurs in his train journey and writes back inspiring stories about them and their skills to his sister.

Book 2: The Book of Leaves. This book is based on a theme of Solution for Pollution and how the solution of using leaf plates is universal. The story starts with Archana, a real life entrepreneur who makes Areca leaf plates in Karnataka and how the same leaf plates are then made by our real life entrepreneur, Jitesh who lives in Bihar but makes leaf plates out of Sal leaves locally available to him. It focuses on the power of using local resources and being environmental friendly.

Book 3: From here to there, women drivers are everywhere. The book is based on how a young girl stops driving as she grows older, because she sees no role models, or other women drivers. However, in her search, she finds a large number of women drivers who drive autos, bikes, cars, and even tractors breaking the stereotype. This book gives an inspiration to women and young girls who ride cycles and bikes but eventually stop due to societal pressures. In a world where there are women pilots, astronauts, train drivers, tractor drivers, young girls should never stop riding their cycles.

Book4: Plan Bee is based on real life entrepreneur Neelakantesh who starts his own beekeeping enterprise. The story presents a solution to the problem of depleting nature of our farms due to the use of harmful toxic chemicals. The benefits of honey bees that help in increase the productivity of the farms as well as provide organic honey. This story introduces the concept of beekeeping enterprises that can help us save the farms.

Book5: Seher’s bolt of lightning. The book focuses on finding a solution to the problem of no electricity and how the protagonist does extensive market research before starting her own solar light enterprise. During her market research, she also meets our real life entrepreneur, Rita, who runs her own solar enterprise in Bihar.

With every skills book, a game was designed to teach a consecutive skill.

The Perfect Match Game that teaches how an entrepreneur looks at a demand and solves it for his customers by the perfect enterprise. With four set of shuffled cards- Demand, Supply, Enterprise and Customers, kids flip through, discover, and find out the perfect match for each demand.

The Cash Flow Game teaches children that in an enterprise, there are many odd situations that come up every day or every month. It is essential to keep a track of every transaction, money that was earned and money that was spent in a statement. This game comes with a board and a deck of cards with different situations where the player decides which situation to go with- to make the payment or incur the loss in the following months.

Social Connection Game teaches the importance of social connections and how we can connect to anyone through simply 5 people, including you. The concept is based on the theory of six degrees of separation which states we can connect to anyone in the world with the help of six people, including you. Children also add the place where they met a particular connection and the skill they used to reach the next connection.

The Marketing Game teaches children to choose between available options and make their best marketing strategy for their enterprise. The board game lets two players compete towards a better marketing strategy which runs against a time frame of 1 minute in each round.

The Business Plan Game teaches children how to make their own business plan by choosing the best options from a deck of cards for nine different categories that include which enterprise, what problem it solves, the risks, the customers, the skills etc.

Our brand new five books are also available to read online on our digital library www.goingtoschool.com as well as on our new book app Skool https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.goingtoschool.books, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store.

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