Mera Sahara: 6 Month Update & Funding Proposal March 10, 2013 Project Steward: Sneha Thatipelli Co-Steward: Harika Reddy
Project Description • Location: Nithari, Sector 31, Noida, U.P, India • Area (urban/rural): Urban • Primary Focus: - Poor children of Nithari Village • Project Type: Primary School • Amount Requested (US$): $7500 for next 6 months • Purpose of Funding Request: Lost one of major funders, Tech Mahindra • # of Beneficiaries: About 150 children • About 40-50 children that come occasionally for skills training
Project Goals • Enable regular and easier transition to regular schools • Provide a safe place for children while parents are away at work • Community involvement • Most teachers and caretakers are from the community • Many adults attend evening adult education classes in the same premises
Current Status • Tech Mahindra, one of their big funders recently withdrew • Closed one of their centers • Consolidated both centers into one • Number of teachers has reduced • Serves 150 underprivileged children • Monthly parent teacher meetings • Cutting & Tailoring, Rug making training • Computer classes • 12 children got into mainstream schools in 2011-2012 • Admitted 13-15 new girls • Mothers were concerned for their safety when they were at work
Monthly Updates: Sept 2012 • Accommodating Pre-schoolers in 2 rooms rather than 1 • Weekly parent-teacher meetings • Teacher’s day • Teacher’s participated in Labour Commissioner of Noida’s meeting on benefit schemes for domestic and construction workers’ • Women of community meet monthly to discuss civic problems affecting children’s health
October 2012 November 2012 • Lioness club organized health check up camp • Tata Consultancy Services organized “Visit to Delhi Monuments” • Celebrated Deepavali with Rangoli • Moral Education classes for 1-3 standards. • Equality despite gender, religion, language, caste, etc • “Girl Child Celebration” skit at DilliHaat
January 2012 December 2012 • 5-day half-year assessment • Basic computer literacy courses • Parents/community members had a meeting to discuss different forms of violence that occur on women and children in response to Delhi Gang Rape • Discussion on child’s rights • Invited children of Nithari, TCS volunteers, Lioness
Feb 2013 • PragatiMaidan Book Fair to participate in Science Activity Corner
Future Directions • Expand to include 4th and 5th grades • Increasing attacks on little girls, rape and murder, especially of Dalit and migrant children in UP, Haryana and Delhi • Thinking of starting classes 4 & 5 in the same building, after 2:30 pm if available funds
Impact • Center expanded allowing more children to attend school • Children participation and eagerness to attend school has increased dramatically • Community involvement is strong and growing • Asha contribution seems to have played an important role
Questions Answered • 1. How many crafts/tailoring teachers are there? Is there just one or two? The proposed budget indicates two different salaries, but it seems as if only one person was paid 24,000 Rs. in the expense report sent. • Rupees 24,000/- in 6 months mentioned in your email means Rs. 4,000/- per month. This is divided between 2 staff members @ Rs. 2,000/- per person per month
What are the rates of children entering government school, vocational training programs, etc.? • The total number of children who have joined other schools after they have completed their term with us is 48. Those who have taken admission into our Centre this year is 52. • After the children have completed their learning in our Centre and have appeared for their annual examinations, and have qualified for admission into mainstream schools, they are assisted by us to take admission in government schools. Some children leave us after class 2 and those who qualify, after class 3. We have had to hold back 3 students in class 3 as they seemed to require more help. Once they are admitted we ensure that they continue to do well. Those who require assistance come to us after school hours for coaching. • Those who have been promoted from one class to the other keep our number uniform. • Those who undergo vocational training have been enabled to become absorbed in local computer centers and tailoring units for their livelihood . Some have gone for advanced training. Several young girls after their training have started small tailoring units in their homes and stitch clothes for the people nearby or do piece work to earn money.
In the year 2010-2011, a total of 9 children went to Govt. Municipal School, Nithari. (class 2 and 3) • In the year 2011-2012, a total of 13 children went to Pvt schools in and around Nithari.(class 2 and 3) • 8 of the students who qualified for 3rd and 4th have moved to their villages in Bengal, other 10 have migrated to Delhi in the last 2 years. • 10 students go to rural schools near Dadri and other villages (parents are farm workers.) • 2 students have migrated from UP to MP. • Many of the children who were in the older age group dropped out of mainstream schools as their parents did not feel safe to send them, especially girls. Some of them have started coming to our adult education center and tailoring classes. Older children want protection and education and hence the parents are keen that we start 4th and 5th standards in Mera Sahara. The parents are looking for a place where both mother and daughters can become literate. • Most of the parents are encouraged to take the children to the Govt. school and those parents who can afford ( very few ) are advised to seek admission in pvt. schools so that needy and very poor children in the community can be accommodated in Mera Sahara. Since we have limited space we are unable to accommodate the children of these parents. • In the year 2012-2013, a total of 11 children will be going to Pvt. schools in Nithari.(class 2and 3)
What are the learning objectives for Mera Sahara? Are there specific standards that children need to meet before progressing to the next grade? Do they coincide with government school learning objectives? • We are a preparatory school in the State of Uttar Pradesh, preparing children to get admission in local mainstream schools. Therefore we have to follow the Uttar Pradesh school curriculum.From class 1 onwards we provide the children the prescribed (prescribed by the UP State Govt.) books for each subject and follow the official State syllabus. This enables our children to be fully prepared to seek admission in any school government or private. So far our children have passed entrance exams before admission to the schools of their choice and are doing very well. We keep track of their work and give them coaching when they come to us after school hours.
I know Mera Sahara is trying to expand to 4th and 5th standard if funds are available, but I wanted to know what the overall future goal for Mera Sahara was. Is the end goal to try transition students to government schools or keep expanding? • Our end Goal has been to become a fully recognized school, but with limited resources and insufficient space as required by the government ( this has been mentioned in our Report) we are unable to qualify for the same. For the time being we are a free preparatory school for children who come to our Centre. • Despite the Right to Education Actpassed in 2009 there are considerable gaps in the provisioning laid down and local government schools especially in Dalit & marginalized areas do not function properly. The teachers are often on leave or given other tasks, school buildings are requisitioned for other government purposes and text books are not supplied. Besides private schools do not admit economically weaker children as a practice. Our Centre provides the possibility of good preparatory education for these children. With the Asha for Education support we have been able to provide quality education, text books, nutritious breakfast while providing a protective area for the development of children belonging to migrant communities who are mostly Dalits, minorities and the discriminated. • We continue to be a resource Centre for the community members who require information and attention on health issues and legal matters.