How do we know that the Hamari Kaksha model works? Since 2003, we have seen these children breaking free of their inhibitions and doubts, and daring to dream beyond.
The facts back us up, starting with:
Academic Impact & Performance
Last year , out of a total enrolment of 300 school-going children at Hamari Kaksha: 145 got 1st division, and 120 got 2nd division.
120 out-of-schoolers/dropouts and absentee students from last five years started going to school and participating in other school activities. Girls have especially brought laurels as without our intervention they would be either sitting at home looking after younger siblings or got married or earn money as maids or aayas are now graduates/post graduates working in retail, hospitality, education centers.
Every year, a few students who joined Hamari Kaksha as “non-performers” emerge as the toppers in their grade. Several Hamari Kaksha students, previously dropouts, have today finished their secondary education and are pursuing their further studies, and training in vocational fields as well.
Our most extraordinary achievement? The return of our alumni as volunteer teaching assistants to teach the newer children of Hamari Kaksha. If you would like to know more about these civic-minded youngsters, please check out their profiles on the Our Story page
Psychosocial Impact on Child, Family, and the Community
Our work has provided these bright children with the opportunity to not only improve their academic performance but also to helpdevelop their personality and dreams. The activities they participate in, the environment of learning, the care of the teaching staff and volunteers – all of these have gone into building their self-esteem, character and regaining their confidence.
Meanwhile, seeing their children thrive has empowered many a mother to seek literacy classes and attend health camps, thereby bolstering the family.
Lastly, ours is a complete community program wherein the local community itself has played a vital role in building and helping the organization to achieve many of its goals. In the past 12 years, more than 5000 individuals and groups have come forward to contribute to our goal of “Education for All”. Without the support and generosity of the community, we would not have been able to achieve as much. And in that way, the followingawards of recognition of our efforts to educate underprivileged children belong to not just us, but to the community as well.
Initially we would like to expand our model of after-school education for underprivileged children of impoverished communities in and around the tri-city areas of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula. We recognizethat one consequence of urbanization has been the increase in migration forlabourers. Many children in such families seeking work do not attend school due to their transient existence, and remain out of the mainstream even as the family moves on in search for work again. Accordingly, we would seek to expand our work into the semi-urban/ rural areas.
Due to the cycle of poverty often perpetuated throughgenerations, many a parent of the children in Hamari Kaksha have not been able to gain or benefit from an education. While we have been able to intervene with the children and try to rewrite their fate, we believe that adults can alsobenefit immensely from education. Our next goal in this arena is to start Adult Education Centers: Improving not only their basic literacy skills-but also paving the way to learning vocational skills.
We also wish to start vocational centers to enable self-reliance in both our children and their parents. Our plan is to teach every child from class VI onwards a skill or vocation (according to her/his inclination), so that they may become proficient to practice it when they are older. Industry experts and variousinstructors would be hired to teach vocations such as carpentry, plumbing, bookbinding, dyeing, screen-printing, photography, drama & theatre, stage decoration, event management, front-desk management, computer operations, beauty & health care, crafts, tailoring etc.
Our adoption of Responsive Classroom methodology has shown that the unconventional (only in that it is not the “Authoritarian” approach to teaching usually seen in our schools) methods we use are proven to be more beneficial to children. Our staff already visit local schools and Teacher Training Centers and Institutes to give lectures and refresher courses Now, we hope to open formal/nonformal Teacher Training Centers at our centers; this will give interested teachers an opportunity to participate and learn in a hands-on manner and under staff guidance.
We are currently the only educational reforms organization in Chandigarh that allows interested volunteers to contribute a significant amount of time without hassle. We believe that privileged city youth can also benefit from volunteering with us and helping the children of Hamari Kaksha grow. Already, many youngsters take a proactive role in coming to intern or volunteer with us. Some even take on mentoring 2-3 children from their own locality after having learned the ropes with us. We hope to see more and more young peoplegetting motivated to become “second siblings".
We believe that our model of educational reform has immense potential to be implemented across the country. We know what the impact can be, and we hope to see other groups replicating the cost-effective methods. Community members interested in pitching in require no special qualification other than compassion, enthusiasm and patience to teach young children and counsel parents. The daily schedule is short and flexible timings allow ease of volunteering. Most interestingly, the model is not bound by region or language, and everyone can benefit from coming together to help the underprivileged. There is an urgent need to have places like this all across the country, if we are to ensure that real education is indeed for all. Hamari Kaksha would be happy to share our experience, methodologies, and expertisewith any groups interested in replicating our model.