School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children

by GOONJ
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children
School to School - Connect Urban & Rural Children

For 6 year old Abraham, happiness is a new shiny pair of shoes… Living in a remote district of Medinipur (West Bengal) and walking barefoot to school most days, it was those little things which make him joyous. Abraham’s father Shukur Murmu is a seasonal farmer and his mother collects and sells forest produce to make ends meet for the 9 member family.

Like books, toys and crayons, shoes are a luxury his family only occasionally indulges and can afford. "Amar Bhalo lagjilo!!” (I am so happy!!) He chirped to his mother after school, when he got a pair of shoes from Goonj under “School To School” initiative.  “These shoes look much better with my uniform and I can now run faster than I did wearing the old pair of torn slippers I have been wearing for years …” He trails off adding at last. That day he ran home early to show the shoes to his mother, excitedly asking her how he could keep it clean and well maintained to make it last longer. His mother proudly comments “Abraham is naughty like any kid his age but he is sensible. He knows the value of things and never takes anything for granted”.

Far away from where Abraham lives similar problem was plaguing many children in Bihar. Dangraha is a small village situated 22km away from the district headquarters Purnia (Bihar). In absence of any decent schools in their village, kids often have to commute long distance for their classes. Mr Shivnaranyan Shrivastav, the teacher corresponding with Goonj field team comments “Their parents are mostly daily wagers and spending money on anything apart from immediate needs get difficult for them. So whether it is summer or winters, kids are mostly barefooted”. 

“I used to go school in broken slippers. Babuji (father) said new sandals will be bought only after maize harvest season …” little Munni innocently utters those words. Her words are reflection of larger condition where kids her age do not even dream of possessing shoes but a humble pair of unbroken slippers.   

Every year a lot of children drop out of school due to lack of basic essentials like books, stationeries, uniforms or a proper classroom to sit in… Something as paltry as a shoe, a uniform or a pencil box might not come off as significant resource but the lack of same ignored basics does a lot of hamper a kid’s confidence, their attendance in school and the larger learning process. For years, Goonj has been identifying such neglected resource gaps in rural schools and addressing it with dignity. The bigger economic impact is that it frees up the meager resources of the parents for other urgent necessities. Abraham’s mother adds, “Many villagers are now willing to send their children to Aanganwadis in the hope of getting new shoes” (Aganwadis are govt. run informal centers of learning in Indian villages).  Gauging the impact, Munni’s teacher Ravindra Nath thakur triumphantly adds “The attendance in school dramatically increased by 25 percent!”




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The entire Goonj team sends Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas wishes to all our contributors. We wish you and your loved ones a very happy festive season. Here is an update with the collation of our stories and ongoing campaigns!   

Not just a wall.. J&K

The people of Reasi, in Jammu & Kashmir, have to face the wrath of landslides throughout the year. When Goonj, which has been working in the state for some years now, motivated the locals of Su Devta village in Reasi, people came together to make a protection wall to safeguard their surrounding area from landslides. The wall was built with stones, the only easily available local resources. Additionally, people also cleaned the shrubs and leveled the hill steps. All the locals who participated in this tough task were rewarded with Goonj Family Kits
 

Shoes with wheels .. Maharashtra

“My head was spinning when I first saw shoes with wheels..but now I can skate around wearing these..I feel so proud!” says 10 year old Raghuved, a student of Vidya Mandir Kadamwadi, Kolhapur (Maharashtra) who recently learned to skate from his teacher, Mr. Bharat, who is proficient in skating. He wanted to introduce it in his school but lack of resources was a major impediment. When the local Goonj team found out we promptly provided his school with 5 pairs of Roller-skates and other sports material such as Cricket kit, Badminton Rackets, and Soccer Ball. “Today when I see my children skating and showing their moves on the village road, my heart fills with joy!” says the delighted teacher. 

 

What You Can Do: 

1. Goonj is currently working in disaster-affected areas in the country and is reaching out comprehensive Relief Kits to affected communities. Your monetary contributions matter. To contribute, log on to https://goonj.org/contribute/

2. It is getting colder in most parts of the country. Join our Odha do Zindagi campaign and make it a warmer winter for someone. To know more click:

https://goonj.org/odz-2018/

Not just a wall.. J & K.
Not just a wall.. J & K.
Shoes with Wheels.. Maharashtra
Shoes with Wheels.. Maharashtra
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Dighalganja is a small pristine village in Golaghat district of Assam inhibited mostly by migrant labors from Bihar and Nepal. For over 4 years, the local Aanganwadi has been operating in a dilapidated room in utter negligence and the floods this year further added to their infrastructural loss leaving them despondent. Nudge by Goonj, the villagers came upon a decision to rebuild it: starting from clearing the overgrown bushes, making fences, renovating the lapsed structures and carrying plantation drive in the vicinity, 71 people made it all possible just within 4 days! The kids took their own part in planting saplings and clearing filths and now, not only do they have better learning centre, but parents are more enthusiastic about sending their children to schools.

 

A similar ripple effect is seen in Kuraria village of West Bengal where entire village pooled in their resources to gift a new tuition centre to their children. Earlier, a lone thatched roof functioned as “class room” - rain or sun, the kids had no refuge elsewhere and had been succumbing to the wilderness and vagaries throughout the year. Moreover, the children have to give up their space during cultural festivals and during other community gatherings for larger community. The conundrum though seemingly trivial, hampered learning process of the children until the villagers brought this issue during a community meeting with Goonj. Motivated by Goonj to collectively work on it, the villagers immediately took up the herculean task – beginning from jointly pooling in their local resource (bamboo, provision of sand & funds to buy tarpaulins / nails) to actually physically working with their bare hands! Sheer grit and hard work of the local villagers made 20ftx8ft sturdy bamboo structure a fully functional classroom cum tuition centre for their kids.

 

Locals both from Assam and West Bengal in above two cases took up the initiative under Goonj’s “School To School” to address the issue by bridging this gap and channelizing underutilized urban school material as a resource for addressing the gaps in rural educational resources with dignity. Each participant were rewarded our carefully designed “Kits” comprising basic essentials where children were also given their share of reward in the form of “School Kits”. A strategic community participation/mobilization enabled Goonj to reach out to larger audience with cross sectional inclusivity. In 2017-2018, Goonj’s cataclysmic approach triggered voluminous development projects and reached out 39,000+ “School Kits” in over 2000+ Aanganwadis in across 1241 villages in India.

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Children's reaction on receiving school material
Children's reaction on receiving school material

Children in urban and rural schools dwell on two opposite spectrum of resource gaps – one blessed in abundance while other grapples for even basic needs like stationeries, books and uniforms. Goonj’s ‘School to School’ initiative focuses on bridging such gaps and crossing chasms of unequal resources and opportunities in their lived reality. Urban school kids learn to value their abundance as they gauge deprivation of the same in resource starved schools in far-flung villages. Simultaneously, children in villages are engaged in various school activities and given our comprehensive “School Kits” for their efforts - NOT as charity but rewarded for their efforts. These activities focuses on achievements instead of charity, encourages creativity, positive behavioral practices around hygiene, attendance and social issues. Through such intervention, our initiative seeks to imbue dignity and empathy among school children as they are brought together on same pedestal and made to reflect.

Here’s a story from Palghar district in Maharashtra, where various co-curricular activities speech recitation, drawing, dancing and games were organized among 12 schools in 4 villages. Previously children were missing out on such fun activities, due to lack of funds. With Goonj’s encouragement under ‘School to School’, not only did they got opportunity but also received our carefully designed School kits as reward for participation. The excitement and energy of those little kids, on receiving the kits was infectious. A little one chirped ‘Aaj Aai bhahut Khush hogi’ (my mother will be very happy today). The children were surprised to receive goodies including stationeries, toys, books and Tiffen boxes for all for themselves!

Teachers also were equally excited - Mr. Nilesh Patil (Teacher), of Tandelpada Zila Parishad School, Loware village, said “iss mahol se bachcho ko school aane me maza aane laga hai..aaj Goonj ki madad se unhe motivate aur unke talent ko sarhane k liye unki zarurat ki kuch cheezen de paenge..” (Because of this fun environment, kids will now come to school regularly. With gentle nudge from GOONJ, these children will be motivated and will be rewarded for their talent

This year, as we endeavor to reach “School Kits” and other basic essentials to over 1 lakh schools kids, we look forward to a committed group of individuals to support us and take this ahead!. Each contribution matters! Do Your Bit.

Read more about School to School initiative here - https://goonj.org/s2s/

Reaching out up-cycled denim school bags
Reaching out up-cycled denim school bags
School material fulfils basic educational needs
School material fulfils basic educational needs
Drawing activity conducted with students...
Drawing activity conducted with students...
Running competition initiated with students
Running competition initiated with students

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Goonj’s School-to-school initiative addresses the crucial gaps in resource for thousands of children in remote villages and urban slums in India. The initiative seeks to achieve a holistic child development by channelizing urban underutilized materials from urban schools, by engaging them in different activities and implementing activities to enhance self-confidence and to sensitize the urban children towards their counterpart. The process not only teaches empathy and social consciousness to the urban school children, but also fulfills the basic needs of rural school children and instills a sense of dignity and confidence in them. Each of the school material is treated as a reward for the children’s participation in learning activities rather than an object of charity, to recognize and encourage their efforts in learning and behaviour like hygiene, attendance, discipline etc. Goonj’s recycled school kit (comprising bag, belt, water bottle, pouches, cap, scarf, ball, mat, etc.) to students as a reward for their participation. We also build libraries, computer centres, sports facilities and support other education institutions.

The initiative also recognizes the importance of parents and school engagement in children’s growth and wellbeing. It motivated the parents and children in Kadugupattu Primary School in Kancheepuram, (Tamil Nadu) to work on a waste land and convert it into a kitchen garden, which would add nutritious ingredients to their children’s lunch at the school. 32 children joyously joined in assisting their parents in the activity and were rewarded with carefully designed Goonj ‘School Kits’.

Another inspiring story came from Kongal village in Tamil Nadu, where students actively worked and came up with creative models for rain water harvesting, wind energy, and even went beyond text book contents to explore handicrafts and how to follow the traffic rules and regulations. This has made the whole activity all the more exciting as it created the platform to practically engage in interesting topics. The children’s active participation is recognized for their efforts with ‘School kits’ under the initiative. The activities resonates Goonj’s belief that every kid should be learn about dignity and confidence through hard work and sincerity.

This year we are planning to reach over 1 lakh children with school kits and other educational material.. We look forward to a commited group of individuals to take this initiative forward 

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Organization Information

GOONJ

Location: New Delhi, Delhi - India
Website:
GOONJ
Priyanka Tiwari
Project Leader:
Priyanka Tiwari
New Delhi, Delhi India

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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