Thank You “The Funding Network”

Thank You ‘The Funding Network‘ to help us raise funds for our ‘Adivasi Foundation Course’ program. It means a lot to us.

Adivasi Foundation Course enables adivasi youth who are ignored by the normal education system to learn to imagine creatively, reason systematically and learn continuously, to confidently interact with the outside world and possibly become anchors in their community by exposing them to various skills and knowledge while staying rooted in their values.

 

Mundakkunnu village sets its own nutrition center to address malnutrition

In Mundakkunnu village, where Kattunaikkan tribe have been living for many years the villagers faced a problem of severe malnutrition in children below 5 years. Sending them to Balawadi could help to prevent malnutrition – however the nearest Balawadi was 3 km away from the village which makes it difficult for the parents to drop their children there.

To address this issue, Vidyodaya village team and parents decided to build a nutrition centre in their village itself. They brought village youths and built the centre with traditional locally available materials.

nutrition-center-mundakkunnu-2 nutrition-center-mundakkunnu-1

 

 

 

 

 

With this initiative, there is awareness about the malnutrition in village and more children are sent to the nutrition centre. Now we have 15 children in the centre.

nutrition-center-mundakkunnu-3

Foundation Course – Exposure Visit to Mysore

The foundation course students and teachers went on a 3-day exposure visit to Mysore on 20th August to 22nd August 2016.

The main intent of the trip was for the children to get exposed to different places and people – observe, understand and learn from it.There were 10 tribal students and 4 tribal teachers along with non-tribal staffs(1 student couldn’t make as she was sick).

Such long journeys are new to some of us.

Such long journeys are new to some of us.

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Intro session – A warm welcome by RLHP children.

Understanding Organic vermi composting

Learning new ways to do organic vermi composting

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wondering how things work!

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Wow! Mobile Bathroom – utilizing water resources

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Explaining Soap Making to RLHP friends

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Showing them the whole process of soap making

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RLHP friends giving a try with soap making.

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To make friends, language is not always a barrier

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Some friendly talks!

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Eagerness to teach and learn!

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Trying our hands with Frisbee in a bigger ground.

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With a good effort we were able to play.

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couldn’t stop wondering and inquiring.

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A tiring day with a smiling face!

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So much to learn…

We stayed at RLHP Mysore(Ashakirana) which gave a lot of understanding to the children.It was more like an Exchange program between the children of the 2 organizations. The girls staying in RLHP Ashabhavana also came to Ashakirana, to join the activities with VBVT kids and stayed with them for a day.

The 3 days trip was really a good experience for the children as for few of them this is the first time they are travelling outside Gudalur. The various activities during the trip are listed below:

 

Date Place Activities
20-AUG-2016 RLHP Ashakirana
  • A warm welcome by RLHP children.
  • Exchange between students and teachers about themselves and the organizations
  •  Student committees in RLHP on education, finance, health, etc.
Agriculture farm visit

  •  Vermi composting, organic fertilizer, organic pest control, inter cropping, cows, gobar gas, mobile bathrooms, Gangamma’s mandala, growing greens/vegetables/fruits.
  •  Possibilities of learning from Agri college
  •  Maximum utilization of available water resource
Cultural performances

  • Tribal songs and dance performance by VBVT children
  • Karnataka folk songs and dance performance by the RLHP children.
21-AUG-2016 RLHP Ashakirana Soap Making

  • VBVT children taught the RLHP children on how to make hand-made soaps
University ground
  • Watch Frisbee Tournament (VBVT kids love playing Frisbee)
RLHPAshakirana Craft sessions

  •   RLHP children taught VBVT children craft projects
22-AUG-2016 Zoo
Mysore Palace

 

The reflection session after the visit gave good insights with brainstorming, discussions, questions etc.

Some of the key points mentioned bythe VBVT Children and the Teachers are listed below:

From students:

  • “RLHP children do many of the agricultural activities themselves.”
  • “Loved their (Karnataka) folk dances! We would like to learn them too. We also want to sing and use musical instruments while dancing instead of recorded music”
  • “Learnt that crafts can be done using any available materials.”
  • “I was thrilled that I could teach soap making to them”
  • “RLHP children take responsibility in many activities”
  • “I didn’t understand their language, but we somehow managed to talk to them. I was able to understand what they are going through and so avoided sensitive questions”
  • “We tried our hands with Frisbee in bigger grounds”
  • “We would like to play matches like the big teams does.”

From Teachers:

  • “I want to get trained in Frisbee further and become an expert”.
  • “RLHP children also earn for their livelihood from their free-time activities”
  • “All RLHP children are under one umbrella without differences in caste, religion, etc”.
  • “I wasn’t interested with history at all. But this stories on palace really makes me interested to history”
  • Many of them wondered at the things in the palace.
  • Further questions on palace were answered.
  • All of them were keen to learn more about animals.

There were some key ‘Why?’ questions from children:

  • ‘Why do they encroach animals to earn money?’
  • ‘Why do they collect fees for each and everything – palace entrance, chappal care etc?’

‘Why?’ questions from the teachers:

  • ‘Why can’t I use my free time like RLHP children? They use their free time to do agriculture, craft, etc They also earn from agriculture activities’
  • ‘Why don’t we have a similar home for our tribal orphan children?’

We had discussions on these inquiries. We will try to build on these reflections as much as possible during the course.

Thanks to RLHP for providing us food and accommodation, and making all the arrangements in such a short notice. The children enjoyed their time there and also learnt a lot of new things from RLHP children.

Thanks also to Green Hotel Mysore for providing us lunch on the day of the Frisbee tournament.

 

Camps for Children – 2016

Camps had always played an important role to build relationships among the children. 92 children attended the camps this year – with lot of learning, brainstorming, fun, observations, discussions and reflections.

Children Participation Info:
Kattunayakan Betta kurumbha Paniya Boys Girls Total
Camp 1
Devala        May 3 – 6
1 1 24 4 22 26
Camp 2
Ayyankolly May 10 – 13
 –  – 26 5 21 26
Camp 3
Ponnani    May 20 – 23
2 2 36 20 20 40
Total 3 3 86 29 63 92

Activities in the Camps:

Village Visit:

Talking to the village Thalaivar

Observations about the village

Observations about the village

Discussing and Reflecting about the village

Discussing and Reflecting about the village

Cultural Songs and Dance:

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Cultural dance at the village

Anti-Alcoholism sessions:

Anti-alcoholism discussion

Anti-alcoholism discussion

Art & Craft:

T-shirt painting : Reflecting their adivasi values through art

T-shirt painting : Reflecting their adivasi values through art

Sports: Frisbee Training

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A sport that is enjoyed by both boys and the girls

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A sport that is enjoyed by both boys and the girls

Camp 1 (Devala):

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Camp 1

Camp 2 (Ayyankolly):

Camp 2

Camp 2

Camp 3 (Ponnani):

Camp 3

Camp 3

Feedback from the Children:

  • We wish the camps run for 2 weeks.
  • We got some ideas to tackle the problem of alcoholism
  • I have got one more family and will keep in touch.
  • We learnt about different adivasi culture.
  • We would like to have regular monthly camps with the teachers.

VBVT would like to thank the donors who supported the camps.

Name Amount (in Rs.)
Cavery Bopaiah 5000
Yesudoss 3000
Chanakya Kocherla 20000
Pamela Lima 20000
Mallika Ragavan 5000
Beatrice Marcel 14273
 Total 67273

Mundakunnu Village Visit

We went to Mundakunnu village. This is part of the curriculum in our school. This village is deep inside the forest. The children learnt about that village , what do they do everyday and how do they do agriculture etc.,. The children were amazed to know how long people of this village had to walk to reach their school or hospital. This trip is important to children in education ass they get to know the real life people live in villages.

 

IMG_20160123_111536                                 walking to the village

 

IMG_20160123_114202                                 Village thalaivar talking to the children

IMG_20160123_121434                                 Children with village thalaivar.

*post by Bindhu, Teacher

Teacher Training 2014

Viswa Bharati Vidyodaya Trust has been conducting an intensive residential Two-year teacher training programme for batches of around 15 youth from the adivasi community since 2009. This purpose is to equip at least one or two persons in each village who will help children in their studies upto Class 8 (Elementary)level and thereby enabling

  • to conduct evening classes in the village
  • to take week-end classes at the area level
  • to teach full time in schools
  • Teach in Centres for drop-out children and help them join the mainstream schools.
  • To make parents aware of educational needs, their child’s learning levels, and advice them about the best options for their child

In the current batch there were 14 candidates from three tribes – Paniyas, Kattunayakans and Bettakurumbas initially but 3 of them left during the second year for various personal reasons. The batch had already completed the first year of training in 2013 and the Poristes funding helped the second year of training. A new batch of candidates is being taken in the year 2015.

The students are taught all the subjects essential for them like Tamil, English, Mathematics, Science, Social studies, Art & Craft, Health Education, Library, Teaching – Learning method, Child Psychology, Adivasis of the world – history and their knowledge, Adivasi Munnetra Sangam, Philosophy of Education, Challenges in Education, and  Institutional management. During the second year they also began an intensive teaching programme in the Vidyodaya school where they are supervised and mentored. Only after this is completed are they given their certificates.

A baseline study was conducted at the beginning of the session. The students were tested in all subjects. They are continually tested during the course of the programme to ensure that they maintain their standards. They mentioned that they found English and Maths particularly challenging.

The process of their end of term Assessment:

After revisiting the method used for the first batch of Trainees, the Trainers felt that an exam mode of Assessment really didn’t give us a good picture of their progress and development. After a prolonged session it was decided that a a two pronged method of Evaluation be done.

The first- Each subject teacher would give the Trainees a kind of a challenge, like a project, or preparing a question paper for a Class five student in a subject like Math or Science, or study a by observing a child and making a case study of the challenges it faced as a learner – for a subject like child psychology .. and so on for different subjects.

The second – Each Trainee would be asked to choose a Trainer from the Trainer group and sit with them on an individual basis ans try explain their own progress in many areas, to the Trainer of their selection. Two or three days time was allotted to make the Trainee feel  happy and confident to talk about themselves, in an unhindered manner. This got us many insights into the problems faced and resolved, the self doubt they went through, the determination to resolve difficulties in the manner they had tried out during the Training course and lastly the importance of working together in a group irrespective of the individual differences among them.

Students were also taken to various exposure visits to courts, police station, government offices etc to build up their confidence and to give them exposure of the world around them and what they have to deal with. Students were also taken to Calicut city, as no one of them had been to a city where they got to see the airport, shipbuilding yard, planetarium and above all what surprised them most was the sea and that its water was actually salty!

About the course from a Trainee

‘When I came here I wanted to learn about teaching, but it seems that I am learning more about myself and my community. Doing a Teacher training course has equipped me with leadership skills and now in the village, the same people who earlier saw me only as a child now recognize me as a leader and come to me for any of their problems.”

Skill Upgradation Course for the Teacher Trainees

Introduction :

There are around 3330 adivasi children enrolled in government schools and private institutions in and around Gudalur today. They do not receive quality education in these schools due to the lack of competent teachers. Keeping this in mind, there is a need felt to have highly trained teachers in the areas. The skill upgradation course was initiated chiefly to meet this need.

The course shall be a two year programme and shall help in enhancing the ability of trainees to impart good quality education to adivasi children. This batch comprises of 7 girls and 8 boys.

The course module shall comprise of the following topics:

  • Leadership & Communication
  • English
  • Maths
  • Science (Theory & Experiments)
  • Spoken English
  • Computer Science
  • Games
  • Art & Craft

Post course completion:

1) The ability to teach well with self-confidence.

2) Can take evening classes for children in villages.

3) Can conduct classes at the area centre twice in a week.

4) Can help drop out children to restart their education by joining open schools and by taking regular classes for such children as done in day-schools.

5) Can teach in schools and in SSA centres.

6) Will help in Personality Development and in enhancing communication skills.

7) Shall help to develop management skills.

Thus, the Skill-Upgradation Course is essential in ensuring that individuals become capable enough to impart quality education.

The course is intended to ensure the progress of education at the village level through the making of capable teachers.

 

Posted by
Gangadaran
Program Co-ordinator.

The benefits of a children’s savings program

In the adivasi context in particular and in any case the way we do it at Vidyodaya, the program has a special significance. First of all, one must remember that adivasis have never felt the need to save for tomorrow. Given their environment of plenty they lived in, they were well provided for. The idea of saving money has come with the use of money itself (this generation) which is a rather new experience for them. So when the parent actually decides to put aside money for their child then it is to be seen as a transformative step into the future itself. Also it means that the parent has decided that the education is important enough for them to invest in it. It is also their way of expressing their appreciation.

How do we do this?

We encourage children to bring one or two rupees whenever they can and this is collected by a teacher during the school assembly. Each child has a passbook wherein the teacher enters the amount collected. This way, both the child and their parents are aware of the savings they are making.  In addition to this there is a regular income from the handwork the children make and we sell. In 2014, our 100 students collectively saved Rs 37, 000.

Seeing the impact of the program in the school, we decided to extend it to the village. We handed a small wooden box which was locked to each child. The key rested with our Coordinator. The idea was to open it once a month and calculate the entire savings. Much to our delight, the program spread to over 200 villages with more than 500 children saving close to Rs 2, 50, 000!

Learning to use the money

From the very beginning, we focused on utilising the money only for educational purposes and nothing else, even if it was urgent. So the children now had the responsibility to use their money wisely. And they did! From buying their school stationeries to clothes and funding their excursions, children used their savings for a variety of purposes. During times, when children needed more than what they had accumulated, we allowed them to borrow money, and sign an undertaking that they would repay the same over a fixed period of time. This made them feel important and even more responsible. So loans to buy books, umbrellas, clothes, slippers or to pay for some fees were taken. Sometimes the loan was 50 rupees, but never more than 500 rupees. All these were repaid at the rate they fixed, usually Rs 5 or 10 rupees a month which could be deducted from their account. Even if the saving was more than 10 rupees the amount deducted would remain only Rs 10.

This further encouraged children to save. For the parents, they remained out of this and only had to make their regular contributions to the child. During school meetings, teachers show parents how the savings money has been utilized by the child. These remain moments of pride for every parent involved.

To sum it up, not only did the savings program helped children to take responsibility of their educational lives but also instilled confidence and gave them strength to make responsible decision about their futures.

This article also published in Ashoka India website

Padayatra-through-villages

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Vidyodaya School, Gudalur, organized a camp for thirty students from four different tribes in Ponnani village. Every day the children divided themselves into two groups and went on a ‘padayatra’ through the local villages. They had conversations with the elders as well as the children and advocated for the need for education and campaigned against child labour and alcoholism. The campaign was very successful as many children enrolled themselves in school. We found that children sharing their ideas with others were far more effective than adults.