Sep 7, 2018

A New Step into the World of Reading

To fall in love with reading...
To fall in love with reading...

 

“How do we improve their English?” We, the tutors and mentors at ATMA, have asked this question among ourselves so many times.

English is a challenge for all the girls at ATMA Gurukulam. Hailing from difficult backgrounds, the girls have received very little academic support in their early years. With parental neglect and poor physical health, even their brain development is affected, leading to situations like learning difficulties and scholastic backwardness.

At ATMA Gurukulam, we have a comprehensive academic support plan – we start from the beginning, and tutor every child individually, allowing her to learn and grow at her own pace. Our special educator, Ms Sreedevi Haridas, spends time with each child, patiently guiding her through the nuances of the three R’s.

Most of our girls follow Malayalam medium in school till tenth or twelfth standards. But for higher education, English fluency is a must.

This year, when school reopened in June, we decided to give special focus to English. We were blessed with the support of two very good English teachers - Smt Raji P and Smt Sakhi. Both of them now come once a week, and give personal and group training sessions in essential English. It was an added joy when Ms Abhirami, post graduate student of the renowned English & Foreign Languages University Hyderabad, volunteered with us for a month, giving daily lessons to all children.

Then came the books!

Inner Wheel Club of Trichur organised a poster-making event for the Gurukulam children on August 15th, Independence Day. With a piece of white paper and a set of poster colours, creativity bloomed!

At the end of 2 fun hours of painting and slogan making, every child was given a gift – a beautiful book to read and cherish!

The books had been carefully chosen by Ms Vidya Sanjay, with inputs from our team, according to the reading levels and capacities of each child. They were colourful, simple, and came in all shapes and sizes! And of course, they were all in English. The book distribution became a real festival! The children were excited, and suddenly, to their joyful hearts, English seemed a little friendlier. Their cheer has inspired Ms Vidya, a Chartered Accountant by profession, and an avid book lover, to volunteer for a weekly reading session.

And now, slowly, our children are learning to fall in love with reading. True, Gurukulam is a little untidy these days – you can see books scattered on the tables, on the beds – you might even catch one on a kitchen shelf! But we have learnt not to notice. Because we know that, soon, a young mind will return to it, eager to complete the half-read story, ready to take off into a different world - all the while, unknowingly learning.

Learning a language is an uphill task. Magic will not happen in a day. We know. But, slowly, consistently, when our children tread the path into the world of reading, one day, THEY WILL.

 

A Gift Forever!
A Gift Forever!
Jun 12, 2018

ATMA Gurukulam - Enabling Achievements, Empowering Dreams!

Celebrating our children's success
Celebrating our children's success

ATMA Gurukulam – Enabling achievements, empowering dreams!

“I got an A+ in all 10 subjects?!” Chinchina couldn’t believe it when we told her the 10th Std results. Nor could Sangeetha, our Teacher- Volunteer who has been her academic mentor and teacher at ATMA Gurukulam for the last three years! And then, the children burst into a chaotic victory dance to celebrate her success!!

For all of us at ATMA Foundation, it was a moment of parental pride, a spot of glory. Our child had done it – went ahead and achieved that Perfect 10 – a dream that every secondary school student in Kerala aspires for.

Chinchina came to us after her 7th Std, a timid student with no idea of her own strengths. ‘Forget the past, and look towards the future’, we told her - the standard instruction given to every child who steps into the loving fold of ATMA Gurukulam Children’s Home. And that is exactly what she did. Every day, in every way, she was improving. With regular mentoring support from our founder - director C K Suresh, an expert counsellor and performance coach, she gained confidence and clarity. The camps and workshops she attended as part of our personality development programmes gave her greater exposure, drawing her out, enabling her to express her potential. Extra academic support from our teacher volunteers helped her to improve her basics in all subjects. Surrounded by a multitude of children’s magazines in English and Malayalam, her reading and language skills improved. She participated in sports at school – she was part of the Kho-kho team. She loved the dance classes and the craft classes at ATMA Gurukulam – and went ahead to win a dance scholarship from Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Akademi, and represent her school in the State Art & Craft Exhibition for two years straight.

And now, with her 10th std results, she has proved that she is ready to go ahead and forge her own success story. She is an inspiration to the other children at ATMA Gurukulam, who, too are getting ready to craft their own.

Anumol, another of our 10th std aspirants this year, surprised even herself when she cleared the math paper that she thought impossible – she had to learn a full 10 years’ worth of math in the one year that she was with us! Jayapriya completed her 12th std with an A+ in 4 out of 5 subjects, and has joined a degree programme. Chaitanya cleared her 12th std with a 100% marks in Sanskrit, the subject in which she has opted to do higher studies.

And for the last two months, the children have had an active holiday season – they attended a lecture-demo in Mohiniyattam, 2 workshops on self empowerment and a tinkering lab. They had many outings, and they celebrated Book day with student interns of ATMA Foundation. They had special sessions in English, Hindi, value education, dance and embroidery. They have also picked up pace on their general reading and daily yoga practice.

As we revel in the success and progress of our children, we are also grateful to them – for proving us right in believing in them, and in others like them – children who hail from challenging backgrounds, with no place to call home, and no means to chase their dreams.

We are thankful to all our donors and volunteers who have believed in us, in turn –without your support, none of this would have been possible. And many thanks to Global Giving, for enabling us to reach out across the globe to seek help!

Now, we are taking up the bigger challenge of expanding this project – to develop a residential facility for 150 children – boys and girls. The ATMA Gurukulam is currently functioning in a leased building with limited infrastructure. We have started the efforts to acquire sufficient land to build the new homes with better facilities.

We seek continued support from our donors to realise this dream.

Even as we strive with this uphill task, in the horizon we can see the smiles of hundreds of children like Chinchina, whose eyes would be shining with the joy of success, and the promise of a bright future.

Let us make this happen.

Accolades from all around
Accolades from all around
 
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