As a school project, Christel House India students snapped photos of life during the pandemic. Dhanaraj Keezhara, Visual Media Teacher, asked the photography club to document “our student’s survival mindset” through pictures. Over 175 student photos were submitted! Sandhya B., Grade 11, is honest about the assignment. “I just clicked pictures of my reality.” Kids from Grades 5 to 12 participated in the project. Students used their parent’s basic smart phones or school tablets provided for online classes to capture their images. “The students clicked pictures from an agonizing environment and frustration,” says Dhanaraj. “However, there is hope depicted in the pictures.” In a striking color image called “Covid Warriors,” Sandhya promoted safety. “I wanted to emphasize precautionary measures and how to fight the pandemic,” she says. Dhanaraj is proud of the student creativity. “They captured powerful images of the pandemic’s impact on their everyday lives.”
Thanks to generous donor support, the Christel House global "Bridge the Divide" technology fund program has distributed hundreds of new computers with internet access for children at Christel House India (CHI) according to Jaison Mathew, CEO. With the new devices, students can now safely connect with teachers, classes and their homework assignments outside school.
The tablets, keyboards and data packets were distributed to grades 5-12 in Bangalore and grades 4-5 in Atal Nagar. Junior students should receive tablets by early November. “Our teachers can now ensure 100% attendance and participation for each subject and conduct online classes and assessments,” says Mathew. The IT team held training sessions to make sure students and parents understand how to correctly and safely use the technology. For the kids, the computers are an exciting and new interactive learning experience. “Learning at home was difficult. But with the virus, it became worse because my parents had no work,” says Rohan A., grade 12. “After receiving my new tablet, I can now continue learning without being distracted.
Sathya V., a 2017 graduate of Christel House India, is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce. But she says the COVID-19 pandemic has made life for her and her family even more difficult. The lockdown means her family has no income. “In this tough situation, Christel House understood our difficulties and is supporting my family and others in my community,” she says. Jaison C. Mathew, CEO of Christel House India understands the urgent need. “Our families are struggling to survive. Christel House is providing packets of food and groceries, along with face masks and sanitizers to all our students and families,” he says. “That’s the priority for us, right now!”Sathya is grateful. “We are thankful to Christel House India for reaching out to us in these tough times.”
Christel House India CEO Jaison Mathew had long wanted to improve the acoustics in the Bangalore school’s A/V room. He turned to students for a solution. Enterprising members of the 11th and 12th grade classes joined with art teacher Dhanaraj Keezhara to create a fix.
“We were able to apply our research-based knowledge of sound reflection and absorption to a create a 3D design,” explains 12th grade student Pooja P. “It was an integration of science and art.” The students researched materials and design strategies that reduce noise pollution and echoes. Then they used their artistic talents to brainstorm a result that would not only resolve the issue but add a pleasing visual element to the room. In just two weeks they designed and executed a 3D wall installation created with sound dampening boards and foam. A group of Christel House India parents lent their skills helping students cut and package the acoustic artwork. It was truly a community effort. The abstract wall mural is titled ‘The Sounds of Waves’ and has successfully reduced echoes. Dhanaraj shared his favorite part of the project: “The blending of art and science has both inspired and motivated the students.”
Christel House wants girls in India to know they can do anything. The school is encouraging them to learn about career opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Thirty girls from Grades 5-8 were invited to explore options at Nokia in Bangalore. It was an empowering experience. “Women are no less than men,” says Mini M., Grade 5. “I learned anything is possible with hard work and perseverance."
In coordination with GreenLightForGirls, an NGO that inspires girls to pursue STEM careers, the students were introduced to science, technology, engineering and math concepts. Hands-on experiments showed them how STEM can be fun and is everywhere around us. Mentors met the girls and showed them how to be content creators, not just consumers. “The workshop motivated me to pursue a career in the science field,” says Mini.
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