Dear friends and well-wishers, Kalanjiyam works with rural communities to ensure that the students going to rural schools do not drop out of school, but continue their education through college. We identify students who are indefinite about going to school and encourage them in various ways, supporting their education financially, by providing them a cycle to travel to school or through scholarships. Each year we are able to support 100+ students to continue schooling either in high school or in college.
We are happy to share a story about a girl named Anushya living in one of our villages in Madhuranthakam. Anushya lives with her parents and has one elder sister and recently completed her 12th board exams. Her mother and father are daily wage laborers and they go for daily wage labour. Her sister discontinued her studies after 10th and got involved in some other work.
Anushya worked hard in 12th and so she can go to college. From childhood, Anushya aspired to become a doctor. She is a studious girl and scored first rank in all her classes. Since she was in 9th class she got support from Kalanjiyam. She benefitted from the computer classes which were conducted in schools and was a regular participant for all the adolescent meetings. She was sincere in her studies which helped her to achieve a good score in her 10th board exam. She secured 465 out of 500 and availed Kalanjiyam scholarship for 11th standard. She used the money to purchase books and stationeries. Taking science and math as her core subject in 12th, Anushya concentrated on her studies well. Due to her families poor economic situation she got support from Kalanjiyam to help her with buying additional note books, uniforms and other things required for school This was very helpful to her in continuing her studies without any interruption. She left all her worries and fully concentrated in preparing for the board exams. She had put in all her efforts and scored 965 out of 1200 in her 12th board exams. Now she has planned to pursue B.SC Math in a nearby college. Anushiya’s mother is very supportive to her studies. She tries and contributes her best for her child’s education. Kalanjiyam is supporting her college education in part. Anushiya’s mother feels proud for her daughter that she is the first generation college goer. Anushiya’s sister is also supporting her in what way she can. All this had instilled a positive energy in Anushya to continue her degree course. Despite of poor financial background, Anushya along with her family have come successfully through the hard times. “I am thankful to my mother, school and Kalanjiyam for being a support system and they all have played an important role in supporting for my secure future”.
In the last three months the project supported students in the adopted villages and schools to prepare themselves for the upcoming annual exams and to help them in planning the next steps / for their future. A number of activities were taken up with this in mind
After school tuitions: were done with additional rigor in all the schools, particularly in the high school and higher secondary school where students were going to face the State Board Exams. The daily session were focused on strengthening the students’’ knowledge, filling their gaps in understanding and helping them with taking practice exams. These after school tuitions also focused on building students confidence in attending the exams.
Motivation sessions: special motivation sessions were conducted for students in higher secondary classes. In particular focus sessions were conducted with 235 10th class students to plan and prepare for the life defining 10th board exams. Students were empowered on how to focus on their studies and overcome the struggles they faced daily while studying and how to take help from other students/ peers who were doing better than them. The sessions also focused on how to score high marks, tips for taking exams, how to study in focused manner, how to improve memory through simple Yoga techniques. Ultimately the sessions helped to encourage and motivate the students to believe that they can do well and to have the confident attitude and approach to studying and taking the exams.
Skills Training Workshop: A special skills building workshop was conducted for 40+ students who had taken the 12th exams in project villages. The focus on this workshop was to empower the students and strengthen their skills and provide them exposures that otherwise would not be possible. The students were helped in the following areas: self-awareness, building leadership skills, understand the process of decision making, learn good communication skills and in expressing themselves, identifying their skills and assets and helping them to develop their writing skills. During the course of the workshop the students also started the process of developing their resume, and were helped to understand the various options they have for their careers.
In addition to above, the project supported to conduct annual day programs in some of the middle schools and helping to bid farewell to students moving on to another school/ moving to high school. To encourage and motivate them to do well in their education, students were provided with parting gifts, like a watch. The expectation was these students would continue to be motivated and continue 9th standard successful.
Rural students require actvities that will faciltate all rounded edcaution. Over the last few months we have conducted some special activities with children in school or during the after school tuition, to make interesting and to encourage the the children. Activities such as drama, songs, stories and play activities were done with 1st and 2nd standard students; Drama classes were conducted, based on moral stories, once a week; Songs in ABL cards were taught with action; and stories were told by instructors and students were asked to develop their own stories as well; different types of games were also taught to the children. For 3rd- 5th activities include games, recitation of poetry/ prose, and GK questions; these were conducted during the tuition classes and student who did well were provided small prizes to motivate them. In addition games like running race, skipping race, puzzles, and brain teasers were conducted.
Competitions: The drawing instructor conducted drawing competitions at the school level and selected the good students and prizes were given. The students in all the schools participated in speech competitions and the best students were given prizes on programs on 26th January for Republic day.
Newspaper reading habit is being encouraged. Each day the Kalanjiyam para teachers present recent / important news stories. Other general knowledge is also being imparted on a regular basis.
Engaging with girl students: One of the needs identified is to begin addressing information needs/ vulnerabilities of girl students. We have started to take efforts to gather girls (in 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th) at the community level to engage with them and start talking to them on their health, importance of education and any problems they are facing in school or at home. We are conducting monthly once awareness programs at Kalanjiyam training center, on reproductive health,
We thank all the donors for your support which makes is possible for Kalanjiyam to implement our programs for rural children.
As part of the efforts to reduce drop outs, the project is supporting students through scholarships and providing bicycles.
In the last three months the project provided scholships to students studying in local village schools. The scholarship is helping to provide for the children's school bags, extra notebooks and other basic amenities that parents are unable to provide for thier children.
Why bicycles: A majority of rural students walk 6 kms to reach a middle school and 8+ kms to reach a high school. Children from our villages have told us ‘walking to and back from school daily is very difficult; we feel very tired and hardly have any energy to study after coming back home’. Parents tell us that their children would get sick walking in the heat and often missed school because of this.
The project is helping to provide bicycles to students in middle school, as a long-term and sustainable solution to address the problem of distance to school, a main reason for drop-outs. The bicycle project is a tremendous success. We see visible differences in school attendance and also a shift in attitudes among students and parents. Students tell us proudly ‘now I have a bicycle; I come to school independently riding the bicycle and am very happy about this’.
Global Giving team member, Neharika Tummala visited the Kalanjiyam projects site in Kancheepuram district, Tamil Nadu, ealy in July. We were able to show the project's efforts for improving hygiene and sanitation and also to meet with students in our adopted schools. It was very encouraging for our team and our schools, to have such a visit from Global Giving. For our staff talking and explaining about the project increases their confidence and improves their skills in presenting information. For our students, visits such as this expose them to persons who have wider world view, and they benefit from the exposure. They also more firmly internalize the efforts of the project and their involvement, and increases their pride and confidence.
We look forward to more visits in the future as well. Please see the photos from the visit.
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