Success Stories

CHILDREN: TAKING CHARGE OF THEIR DESTINY AND FOLLOWING THEIR DREAMS

Seema, the girl who redefined her own fate

Seema belongs to a poor family dependent on the farming. Her mother works as farm labour. Her father on the other hand is alcoholic and spends this hard earned money on his poor habits and often engages in arguments and fights with other family members.
In this environment Seema received the support from GraminShiksha Kendra and since then, despite her family protesting against her education, she has continued her studies in Uday Community School, Jaganpura.She also excelled in sports and is currently the captain ofthe Rajasthan Under-14 Girls’ Handball Team.
When her parents forced her to get married this year, she protested against child-marriage and asked for the support from her teachers, other NGOs and the District Collector. This was widely reported in the local media. In the end, her parents had to give-in Seema was back to the Uday School. Impressed by the courage of Seema, the District Collector has decided to adopt her as daughter and has assured of financially and morally supporting her education.


Meghraj, flying high

Meghraj, the eldest among his siblings, was brought up by his father who is a small farmer in the area. Meghraj does not have a mother and has a sibling who has a disability. His father was determined to ensure his children received a good education. The father’s struggle gradually transformed the children, particularly Meghraj, into being more responsible and together with his three siblings he completely devoted himself to education and kept while working to earn for a living.
Meghraj graduated with extremely good grades from Uday Community School and went to complete his studies further and graduated in science. He also had interest in theater and sports, where he played at the national level.
After graduation, Meghraj volunteered with Gramin Shiksha Kendra and few other NGOs, helping the village communities and the younger children in the school and his village. He applied and was accepted as an ‘air-man’ in the Indian Air Force and is currently a part of the ‘Garuda Force’, a special force created for safety of the national air bases.


Priya Meena and Manraj Meena, they dared to reach for the stars

Priya and Manraj Meena belong to farming families close to Uday School in Jaganpura. Priya passed grade 5 from UdayCommunity School, Jaganpura in 2008 while Manraj passed grade 8 from Uday Community School, Jaganpura in 2009.
Both followed up on their education sincerely and the main learning they took with them from Uday was their ability to be ‘self-learners’.
As a result of this supportive environment at Uday Community Schools, they both cleared the advanced level of JEE in 2017.


The Theatre team that followed their passion

A team of 14 children from Uday schools participated in National Nascent Drama Festival organized at Pauri Garhwal in 2007. The team enacted ‘Ali Baba Chalis Chor’. There was no age-limit on the participating teams and our team members were the youngest of them all. This team left their impression on all the participants and judges and finally stood runners-up in the event.


Sports in Uday – new and powerful for the area

Ranwal is a village situated 2 km away from Uday Community School, Jaganpura. Many of the Uday graduates (class 8 students) take admission in the Government School of Ranwal in grade 9.
Earlier, like many other government schools, there was no participation of children from the government school of Ranwal in any sports event. For the past 5 years, the handball and football teams of Ranwal in under-17category are not only participating at district level but also getting through into the final rounds. The Handball team of Ranwal has remained the undefeated champion at the district level since the last two years.


Lakshmi never gave up and neither did GSK

Lakshmi was a mentally challenged child in the Government school in Sawai Madhopur. She was left by herself in class and never really attended to by the government teachers. We were told that she would never be able to read or write.
Our teachers provided a fear-free learning environment in the school, where the child gradually started to speak-up. By forming the sub-groups within the class as per the learning levels of the children, teachers paid attention to Lakshmi’s learning level. The school also provided her environment such as sports or morning assembly, where she could mix-up with other children.
Today, Lakshmi can read and write in Hindi, perform standard mathematical operations and is at a healthy average levels in other subjects. She also leads songs and poems in the morning school assembly.


SMC’s: DEMANDING AND DRIVING CHANGE

Ganganagar, the community that moved mountains to get their school back

In 2017, at the opening of the academic session, in a bid to rationalize the number of schools, the government decided to merge 2 schools of Sukhwas and Ganganagar, 4 km apart from each other. The reason given was low enrolment. The real reason was poor quality of education and mismanagement in the Ganganagar School that led to the students moving to private schools in the hope of better education. Realizing the difficulty of sending their wards to another village and losing an important institution from their village, the Ganganagar community took the onus of bringing their school back.
The Uday Vistaar initiative provided support to the school. On their suggestion, the parents struck-off the names of their children from other schools and brought them back to their own village school. As there was no appointed teacher in the school, the parents appointed youth members from the village to teach their children in the abandoned school campus, so as not to discontinue their education. During this situation of non-availability of teachers, the Vistaar team also provided services to the school on daily basis.
The community continuously kept pressurizing the government to revoke their decision of closing the school. Finally, after nearly three months of efforts, the administration accepted the demands of the community to reopen the school in their village and appointed a teacher. The enrolment in school has now reached to 90. Almost all the parents in the village are sending their children in the government school and promise to ensure the quality education for their children.
The community of Ganganagar village, through their courage and determination, has not only saved their school from getting merged with the nearby government school but have now taken the baton by themselves to ensure quality education for their children.


SMC Ajeetpura, - Making Teachers Accountable

Gramin Shiksha Kendra organized a SMC Sammelan at Bodal where the roles and responsibilities of School Management Committees were discussed with the SMCs of all the schools covered under the Vistaar programme.
The discussions and experience-sharing by other SMCs inspired the SMC members of the government school of Ajeetpura and they reached their school on the very next day to assess the situation. Amongst other things it was found that one teacher was consistently late in coming to school. The SMC questioned the teacher and though the teacher had a number of excuses, the SMC was unwilling to take them.
The SMC was quite clear that the first process of change would be making sure that the teachers began coming to school regularly and on time. The SMC gave him an ultimatum and under pressure from the community, the teacher has now bought a motorcycle to commute to school. He is now on time each day and more importantly, the SMC has realized their power and their responsibility in making the school function properly.


Women taking charge of the SMCs

Gramin Shiksha Kendra emphasizes strongly on the participation of women in the school-related affairs and organizes School Management Committee (SMC) Conferences every year. Earlier, there was a meager participation of women SMC members where only 2-3 women would show up. In the SMC Sammelan (SMC Conference) held in 2017, we witnessed a rise in the participation of women, where 30 women shared their experiences and opinions about education in public. We see this as an important development and the role that women play both as members of the committee and mothers is helping change their perception about themselves, about their children, about the schools and about education.


PARENTS: UNDERSTANDING THE BENEFITS OF QUALITY EDUCATION

Communities taking charge of the schools

The focus of GSK’s work is to enable the communities demand quality education and we are beginning to see the communities understand the nuances of quality in the education. These communities have started helping their schools in provisioning the right environment for education. The community of Kundera village donated fans and a water cooler to their school.The community from Mukundpura contributed in the form of installing a main gate and got the toilets repaired in the school premise.
The classrooms of Uday School, Jaganpura were damaged by high speed winds and the community pitched in to repair the roofs.
In Girirajpura, the community took the responsibility of getting the classroom constructed. In this process, they also contributed in the form of ‘Shram-daan (contribution in the form of labour)’ while constructing the classroom.


Uday Schools - providing a nurturing environment to children

The Superintendent of Police of Sawai Madhopur enrolled his 3 years old daughter Ananya in Uday School at Sawai Madhopur. She remained there for a year, where she used to play, sing, dance and learn through various activities. Ananya loved the environment in the school. She enjoyed being in the company of her teacher and other children at school.
The next year, her father was transferred to another district. In the new location, there was an altogether different environment in the school. Ananya felt lost in this new environment and was reluctant to go to school. Her father had to often make her talk to the Uday teachers on the phone, hoping to convince Ananya to start going to the new school happily.
This maybe Ananya’s story but demonstrates the need and importance to make the school a happy and loving place which makes children want to go to school. The school is not a scary evil space as is made out to be. It also shows the children are happy to learn and enjoy while they learn.


TEACHERS: TAKING OWNERSHIP AND LEARNING A NEW PEDAGOGY

Manju Sharma, Learning a new way – and now advocating it

Government school teachers are trained in a standard way and follow the traditional class room practices where the children are usually on the teacher either on the blackboard or on the chair and all children following a common class. Manju Sharma was no different. She had little exposure to any other form. The Vistaar programme helped change that. Through class room demonstrations the Vistaar team exposed her to the multi level multi grade system and the use of carefully designed teaching and learning material. While it was a big change for her, she noticed two important changes by doing this. She found that the children were far more attentive when she was speaking with them, using teaching and learning material made it so much easier to communicate with the children and most importantly she was able to see a major change in the learning levels of the children.
The best part however is that she is now sharing these ideas with other government school teachers.


Ms. Sharifa Bano, Changing the Education Ecosystem

Ms. Sharifa Bano is the head-teacher of Government School, Bodal. Gramin Shiksha Kendra adopted the school in the year 2012 for five years.
Initially she was reluctant to the methods of building a child-centric environment proposed by GSK but slowly she began to understand its importance and began supporting the Uday pedagogy. Gradually, she also started to involve parents and School Management Committee in all school related matters. As the school was getting limited funds from the government, the maintenance of toilets and water facility was also an issue. She encouraged the parents to support the school financially which the parents appreciated and agreed to. While many schools do not wish to involve the parents in running the Mid-day meal programme at school, Sharifa asked parents and SMCs’ assistance to keep an eye on the procurement and quality standards of the meal.
The school is now witnessing regular monthly SMC meetings with a pre-decided agenda that is followed by proper documentation. Today, Sharifa shows the confidence of running her school effectively without being dependent on Gramin Shiksha Kendra.
It’s not a surprise that the school shows 100 percent enrollment. Over 90% regularity and also a 100 % enrollment and more that 80% regularity of children coming to the Bodal aanganwadi which is adjacent to the school – all set to make it to her school in the next couple of years.