Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Photography at Olcott School

Children can never be stereotyped and should never be! Because, you never know when they can pull a surprise on you. It happened at the Olcott School... I’ve not seen this bunch of Children at the school as excited and happy, as they were last saturday, showing off the photos they clicked.

Photos clicked by the children...

Usually, it takes some coaxing to get them to talk – but today was different. We had students enthusiastically come to the front of the class, show us what they clicked, describe the photo and explain how they clicked.

Usually, the children wait for the ‘school bell’ at 12:30 pm – today , was different . We had to close the class at 12:45 , against their wishes!!! The children were hanging around at the class, eager to show what they clicked and also to listen & learn from the volunteers on photography.

These sessions drive home the point real hard – Make learning more fun for the Children. Every child is curious and wants to learn. Through an activity that engages the children , our class must utilise their natural curiosity and enthusiasm, to make them ‘learn’.

This method is not just for Photography - Can we extend the fun learning to English & Computers too ?

Btw, The activity for the day was to split the class into groups of 4/5 students. Each group was guided by a volunteer with a Digital Camera. Children were free to go around the school and click photos on 2 themes – what they like about the school and what they do at school.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Education NGOs in India - Segmentation / Big Picture

A few weeks ago, i had met Dr.Balaji Sampath , to understand the 'Big Picture' in the Education NGO space in India. It helped me get a lot of clarity on the way forward for Deepam
According to him there are 3 models working well in India, presently
  1. Asha / Aid ( US Chapter) - Fundraising organisations - they primarily raise money. their impact measured by the number of organisations they support - For example : 200 orgs supported in India in 2009 etc
  2. Pudiyador / Sukrupa - Centre running orgs - They ensure Kids come to class. They hire teachers or invite volunteer orgs to teach. They are supported by fundraising orgs. Measure of impact - no of kids reached out, improvement in their standards
  3. Content Orgs - Eureka books / Pratham books - These orgs primarily focus on curriculum . They research on the best content / curriculum and provide this for free / at a low cost to NGO's
  • The 4th type of Organisation - he says are slowly emerging - Deepam is one such. They go out and teach the kids in a focussed way. They can take content from 'content orgs' , go teach at 'centre running orgs' , which are funded byFundraising orgs
According to him, the value that Deepam has created is enormous - So far, the NGO space has been missing "consistency" and "focus" among the volunteer teachers. Someone going to a centre at the alloted time and teach the kids, a specific subject. He says this is quite rare and wanted us to build on what we have created so far.
He says when all 4 of the above is done by 1 organisation in the social sector, everything goes for a toss. Balajihas tried doing all of this in his initial days and failed. Finally, he decided to focus on content and content development.
Anyone here has a better way to segment the Education NGOs in India ? Would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Talent Event at Pudiyador - Feb 14th 2010

Thanks to the our special invitee Subha for coming to Pudiyador center over the weekend. She paid rapt attention to every item, I am sure she had a hard time saying which was No1, so everyone were declared winners.


Silambattam: You have seen silambattam. For the uninitiated, a long stick is rotated skillfully held away from the body in a dextorous and beautiful manner. These children went one step further, they tied cloth to the ends of the sticks, doused it in kerosene and set them on fire. We had an amazing fire display! Five of these kids aged 10-14 years were on fire with their display!
Then, they laid a stick (lit completely on fire) and jumped over it, somersault etc. You should've been there! All of us were going ooh-aah for this one.



Skit/Mime/Drama: The children had make-up on their faces with powder and paint. Set on the theme of creating awareness, about 6 boys mimed scenes like throwing the banana peel down, talking on the cellphone while driving, hanging out of a train, then they reenacted the scene depicting the proper way of doing this. Another mime was played out based on religious unity. To each of these scenes, the children did their own personal comedic touch. It was a very good one and apt!




Dance: The younger girls did two popular dances, the older girls did one dance. I must say the bharatnatyam classes(that take place just before the Deepam sessions on sunday mornings) are having quite an effect. Such beauty and grace in their steps and movements. Kudos!
The smallest kids (about 4-6) entertained us too.
Sathish is invariably the dancing star of Pudiyador (He is Hemesh's friend and classmate btw)


The credit for encouraging the children and bringing out their talent lies with the Pudiyador people. Their dedication to bring the best to these kids is outstanding. These kids were coached in dance and skit by Mr.Lenin. I have noticed the children here are so confident in their speech and manner. Last year's talent event was amazing, but this year topped that too!
I consider myself very lucky to have been a part of this rare performance.


Check out more pictures of the event at Pudiyador and other centers on our Deepam Facebook page (login not required)

Collage at Pudiyador - Feb 7th 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words. A collage too! As the children at Adyar-Pudiyador created art from junk material!

In preparation...


Work in progress...


The volunteers and children engrossed...


Art from junk!


Thanks Bharani for judging this piece as a winner!


Check out more pictures of the event at Pudiyador and other centers on our Deepam Facebook page (login not required)