The Combat to Comeback

 

14- year old Subeena was an ordinary girl studying at Govt Middle School, Kherla when her parents decided to pull her out of school as now she was a grown up and it was normal for a girl of this age to drop-out and adorn home and indulge in household chores rigorously. She was in Class 7 then and the year was 2014.
Her school going friends told her about the activities in school, prizes won in different competitions, visits to Gurgaon and the happenings around campus which now she could only imagine. While her attempts at getting back to school proved futile, her desire to get back to school grew even stronger. After a year long struggle which consisted of persuading parents and breaking social norms, she is back to school and it was October’15.
The moment her parents obliged, she couldn’t wait and stitched her uniform within two hours and was back to the place which had been in her visions and dreams-School. “Subeena has caught up with the lost time and has come back strongly. She’s doing well in her studies and is unbeatable at co-curricular activities. She’s also the monitor of her class” Savita Ratta, Principal boasted of one of her students.
Salute to the girl extraordinaire, kudos to her grit and determination to continue studies. Subeena you’re an inspiration to million such girls who are pulled out of schools. You’ve shown them the way

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“STRIVING FOR QUALITY EDUCATION” WORKSHOPS CONDUCTED ACROSS MEWAT GOVT. SCHOOLS

School Level Workshops on STRIVING for QUALITY education were held at Kanwarsika BA Pur amidst HM’s, teachers, parents, key figures of the village and the members of the SMC (School Management Committee). The workshop started with addressing the stakeholders present in the workshop about the current challenges and issues that are curtailing the quality of education in the school. From students’ attendance to teacher’s performance, from disposal of unused furniture to potable drinking water, all possible issues that are impediment to quality education were brought to light and were discussed upon. The resolution bearing those issues came out as a collective effort of the stakeholders.

In BA Pur, teachers and parents of the students had a few issues among them which was amicably settled when both the parties agreed on emphasizing on certain points which will complement both the parents and the teachers. In the presence of Sarpanch, SMC members and teachers, Infrastructural matters were also dealt to make the campus cleaner, spacious and to make optimum utilization of the building which should ultimately contribute to the imparting of quality education to students. Attendance and dropout rates of the students were critically reviewed and steps to keep it under check were discussed with the teachers, parents and the others present.  Till date the workshop has taken place in Kanwarsika, BA Pur including Sonkh, Rehna, Salaheri and Kherla, but the buck doesn’t stops here and will cover most of Govt. Schools in Mewat.

The workshop brought all the collaborators together and they discussed key points that are obstruction to quality education.  The confluence of all the stakeholders led to an understanding among the community that not one but all will have to strive for quality Education and contribute towards the bright future of the students.

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Swachh Vidyalaya Program Orientation across Mewat Govt. Schools

Orientation sessions for Swachh Vidyalay Program were conducted at Govt. Schools across Mewat Govt. Schools. The HM, teachers and students were familiarized with the objectives of the Swachh Vidyalay Program and were told about the 5 points comprising it. The points are: School Campus Cleanliness, Attendance and Regularity, Health and Hygiene, Discipline and Utilization of Resources.

For the student, of the student and by the student is the mainstay of this Program. The students were encouraged to take initiative in the Swachh Vidyalay cause and they readily agreed. A Head girl, a head boy and 3 students for each point have taken on the responsibility to adhere to the points and also to ensure that it is mutual among the fellow students. The nominated students will be guided, monitored and will report to a lead teacher who will support them with inputs whenever needed.  The Orientation /Bal Sabha was possible only due to the HMs who were co- operative and arranged to conduct Bal Sabha along with the teachers who despite of classes managed to contribute and took part in the orientation.

The program is an initiative of the SRF Foundation and the orientation was headed by Rakesh A. along with Pragati Goel and Shakeb Alam from the Foundation and was supported by Nisha Juneja, Kamleshwar Mishra, Amir Khan and Shakeel Ahmed from the Field Team. The Program aims at instilling leadership qualities in the students and also to develop an instinct to take initiative for different causes. Along with this, the Program aims to inculcate different habits that need to be practiced out by the students which will make sure that they attend school regularly in their school uniforms. In a way the Program addresses major issues which will holistically impact not only the environment of the campus but also boost the capability and spirit of the students.

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Miss India Aditi- An inspiration

What happens when a role model who is an inspiration to the youngsters and somewhere you aspire to be like him or her comes in front of you in flesh and blood? You are awestruck and amazed by the person present. That’s what happened to the students of SP Nangli when on Tuesday i.e. October 20th Miss India 2015 Aditi Arya paid them a visit as part of Support My School Campaign (SMS), an initiative by Coca Cola and NDTV in collaboration with SRF Foundation that provides infrastructural support in schools. The beauty queen not only charmed the students with her poise but also inspired the students specially the girls for achieving whatever they want. For most of the time spent in the school she talked and motivated students of Shahpur Nangli and urged them to dream and strive to achieve it.
Before that she received a warm welcome by the students who took her around their school with hand in hand. They took her to the Library, Classrooms, Playground, Science Lab, New toilets and through the corridors. She even gave a try at badminton with other girls and yes, she was good at it. She also met girls who went on to excel at State level Handball Championship and was introduced to Wasima who is the Brand Ambassador of our Swachh Vidyalay Program and also a product of UDAAN. At the Principal’s Office she was briefed about the village demographics, the students, achievements of school and was introduced to the key persons involved in the SMS Program by SRF Foundation’s Mr Rakesh.
While talking to girls she shared an anecdote: “When my Mom asked me to wake up and study, I felt like not waking up and felt lazy, at that time it felt terrible to get up and study. But now, when I look back, I think that I did the right thing when I curbed my feelings, got up and studied. I have been crowned Miss India and going for Miss World, it’s all because I got up and did what was at that time difficult for me.”

Apart from that, students talked about what they aspire to become and she motivated and made them believe that they can be what they want to be. It took the efforts of Coca Cola, NDTV AND SRF Foundation to make the visit possible for Ms. Aditi who not only inspired the young and the energetic lot but was instrumental in motivating them. While bidding farewell she was moved by the gesture of the students who presented her with Good- bye cards and requested her to come again.

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SRF Foundation in NEWs

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Best Practices – Classroom Beautification at Salamba GMS

The Classrooms with Painted Walls

Students in Salamba Government Middle School are able to learn from their textbooks, their teachers, and, believe it or not, the walls of their classrooms. The walls of their classroom are decorated not just with artwork by students, but also with informational paintings done by professionals. We visited the school to have a look at the paintings and to speak to their head-mistress, Ms Usha Saini to found out what prompted her to do it.

The classrooms of Salamba GMS with their painted walls.

The classrooms of Salamba GMS with their painted walls.

Why the Painted Walls?

Ms Usha Saini said that she had the paintings made for a few reasons. The colourful paintings beautified the classroom and made it more vibrant – a place where students feel motivated to learn. More importantly, they serve as learning aids for the students. The paintings of the wall depicted important concepts such as the human anatomy, the geography of India and the water cycle.

A painting showing the process of photosynthesis.

A painting showing the process of photosynthesis.

According to Ms Usha Saini, these concepts, such as the parts of the human body or the states of India, can be difficult for the students to remember. Having them displayed on the walls makes learning easier as the students are able to refer to the paintings at all times. They internalize the concepts are able to recite them by heart.

The paintings in the classroom are not all educational – some of them are of a motivational nature. Ms Usha Saini had the “Rights to Education” painted on walls to serve as a constant encouragement to her students of the importance of learning. She also has poems and paintings which promote gender equality, empowerment of girls and religious harmony. With these paintings, she hopes to impart good values to her students.

A painting to motivate students to strive for the best.

A painting to motivate students to strive for the best.

An Intelligent Use of Budget

Ms Usha Saini told us that the paintings were paid for through a smart reallocation of the school’s budget. Every year, a certain sum of money is set aside for the beautification of the school. This usually means painting the walls or planting greenery. Salamba is the only school to have used this budget to have educational materials painted. The innovative head-mistress hired professional artist in order to have paintings which are beautiful, in addition to being informative. By doing this, Ms Usha Saini is able to get the most out of the school’s limited budget to maximize the learning experience of her students.

Hopes for the Future

The painting of the classroom walls is merely the first step in Ms Usha Saini’s efforts to improve the school. She wants to upgrade other parts of the school, as well as increase the school’s overall attendance. Her biggest wish is to provide education for girls beyond 8th grade. Presently, the school does not cater to girls going on to 9th and 10th grade. As a result, most of them drop out after completing 8th grade, without moving on to further education. By providing education to 9th and 10th grade girls, she believes that they will have more opportunities in the future.

The inspiring and innovative head-mistress of Salmba GMS, Ms Usha Saini.

The inspiring and innovative head-mistress of Salmba GMS, Ms Usha Saini.

With Ms Usha Saini’s passion and innovative thinking, we’re sure that she’ll find a way to achieve her goals.

All over Mewat, head-masters are putting into place innovative practices which are improving the education of the students in their school. Over the month of December, three interns from the SRF Foundation visited 7 of these schools to document the practices and to interview the head-masters.

With these reports, they seek to give recognition to these schools, and to share with the world little bits of progress that are being made, even in the most rural of places.

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Best Practices – Sports & Games at Chandeni GMS & GPS

An Emphasis on Sports and Games

Sports and games play a very big role in Chandeni Government Middle School and Chandeni Government Primary School. Mr Man Singh and Mr Bhagwat Dayal, the head-masters of the middle school and primary school respectively, took it upon themselves to ensure that the students are given the time, the equipment and the opportunity to play. They saw that sports and games benefit the students, not just physically, but in other aspects as well.

A student from Chandeni GMS playing cricket.

A student from Chandeni GMS playing cricket.

We visited the campus and sat down with the head-masters to find out how they incorporated sports and games into the curriculum, its benefits and the problems they have faced along the way. We also saw for ourselves the students at play, filled with enthusiasm and competitive spirit.

Kho-Kho, Wrestling, Kabadee and More

The students of the school enjoy a variety of games. These include traditional games such as kho-kho, wrestling and kabadee, and the more modern ones such as volleyball, badminton and cricket. The students also engage in athletics such as sprinting and long jump. These activities take the students out of the classroom, while teaching them skills such as communication and teamwork.

During our visit, it was clear that the students were enjoying themselves. They were competitive, yet not aggressive. They showed a high-level of athletic ability and sportsmanship. For example, we saw two boys, who were playing wrestling shake each other’s hand and pat each other on the back, despite being engaged in fierce competition only moments before.

Students shaking hands after a round of wrestling.

Students shaking hands after a round of wrestling.

The Implementation of Sports and Games

The head-masters and teachers told us that there are a few factors which contribute to the excellent implementation of sports and games in Chandeni GMS and GPS.

Mr Bhagwat Dayal, Head-master of Chandeni GMS.

Mr Bhagwat Dayal, Head-master of Chandeni GMS.

Purchasing equipment for the students

Sports such as volleyball, badminton and cricket are only possible with the right equipment. The head-master of the schools shared with us that since the government did not provide a budget for sports and games, they took it upon themselves to buy equipment for their students. They purchased balls, rackets, bats for crickets and even a net for the volleyball court. Mr Man Singh said that even if they had to use their own money, they felt that it was worth it because they recognize the value of sports and games.

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Girls from Chandeni GMS playing badminton with rackets bought by the school.

The Opportunity to Play

In addition to playing games during recess, time is set aside for a game period where students get out of the classroom to play. The school also encourages the students to continue playing games even after school, lending them equipment if necessary. A teacher from Chandeni GMS also shared with us that the school organizes volleyball games on Saturday mornings.

Students enjoying a game of volleyball.

Students enjoying a game of volleyball.

A Dedicated Physical Education Teacher

Something which is unique to Chandeni GMS and GPS is the presence of a dedicated Physical Education teacher. The physical education teacher, Mr Mahinder Singh, is the one who conducts the game period, where he teaches the rules of the different sports and games to the students, and gives them advice on how they can improve their performance. He also looks into how sports and games can be improved in the school.

A Healthy Body is the key to a Healthy Mind

The head-master shared with us that their emphasis on sports and games are paying off. Beyond contributing to the students’ physical development, the students have fresher minds, which according to Mr Bhagway Dayal, allow them to pay better attention in classes. He firmly believes that a healthy body is the key to a healthy mind.

Moreover, students learn important soft skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication, and it instills into them a never-say-die spirit that can only be experienced through competition.

A fierce game of kabadee.

A fierce game of kabadee.

Sports and games have also had an impact on the attendance of the school – students now have an additional incentive to go to school. In competitions, both on district and state level, the school has also performed well, thanks to their focus sports and games. Their students have brought back certificates and medals in athletics such as long jump, high jump and relay races.

Problems Faced

While the school has seen success, the head-masters admit that there is still room for improvement. Due to their limited budget, they can only focus on a few sports, and within those few sports, the equipment has to be shared with many students. They circumvent the problem by getting their students to play sports which do not need equipment, such as kho-kho, kabadee, wrestling and athletics.

Another problem the school faces is the lack of a steady supply of water, which is especially important for the students when they engage in strenuous physical activities.

Mr Man Singh, Head-master of Chandeni GPS.

Mr Man Singh, Head-master of Chandeni GPS.

Sports and Games – A Part of Life

The head-masters and teachers of Chandeni GMS and GPS recognize the importance of sports and games and have gone to great lengths to ensure that their students are able to benefit from them. They see sports not just as a distraction, but as an important part of the students’ development

A girls’ race at Chandeni.

A girls’ race at Chandeni.

Their commitment is admirable, and the encouraging results they have seen is a sign that perhaps, more should be done to promote sports and games in schools in the country. For now, we hope that the students of the schools can continue to play hard and reap good results.

All over Mewat, head-masters are putting into place innovative practices which are improving the education of the students in their school. Over the month of December, three interns from the SRF Foundation visited 7 of these schools to document the practices and to interview the head-masters.

With these reports, they seek to give recognition to these schools, and to share with the world little bits of progress that are being made, even in the most rural of places.

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