Eros Excellence programmes

“Every child’s right to dream, to learn and to achieve”

 

In the first of its educational projects, The Eros Foundation is working with Pratham, India’s largest non-governmental organization in India, to provide quality education to underprivileged children in the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat. We are supporting large-scale Literacy and Numeracy Excellence programmes in over two hundred villages across the two states as well as providing training for five hundred village volunteers who will deliver the support directly to the children in their villages


Pratham, the largest education focussed NGO in India, have been running similar programmes for over fifteen years. We are joining them in their flagship programme, Read India, which aims to improve the reading, writing and basic arithmetic skills of the children between the ages of six and fourteen. Even though India has made significant strides in improving the enrollment levels of the children, a lot still needs to be done as far as the learning levels are concerned. Many of these children have had no access to basic primary education, or have had little access to learning. Almost all of them are underachieving and are unable to reach age appropriate standards in basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills.

 

In order to support whole villages, the programmes train young people from within the village, to deliver the teaching in addition to any primary education the children are receiving. At least two volunteers join the scheme from each village. In this way, both children and young adults work together for the benefit of the village. Their experience so far has had amazing results – both for the young children who are being supported as well as the village volunteers.

 

One feature of this programme is that the volunteers do not receive payment … well, not in terms of hard cash! What they get instead is “Education for Education”, which means that they get additional targeted training in job finding skills, in ICT skills and in English skills, too. This approach means that everyone wins – and the village benefits as a result of the young people not leaving to flood the cities.

 

 

The Eros Foundation, is working with two large block programmes. These will target the neediest children in the Tapi district of Gujarat and the Sindhudurg district in Maharashtra. The programmes will reach out to approximately 8000 children in all. In addition to the children and the village volunteers, we are also funding for a dedicated, full time resource team who will ensure the successful implementation of the programmes. Plans are already in place for us to extend our commitment to four other Excellence programmes which will see us reaching over 30 000 young people!

 

Helping teachers support children in school

 

support

Teachers are supported in developing new, active methods of teaching.
This includes running sample lessons, workshops and also working alongside teachers.
One teacher said that the methods used by the advisors were so much fun that the children didn’t even realise they were learning so much!
Here is a child taking part in a game of “Leader, Leader” which builds childrens’ confidence in spoken English .

 

Helping mothers to support their children

 

mothers

Mothers are encouraged to do set tasks with their children. This includes:

> Telling stories
> Listening to stories
> Working with simple words and sentences

They are trained by project staff on how to use the teaching materials and how to modify them so that they can help their children with basic reading and writing. They like getting together as a group and working together to help their children.
They fit the work around their other work – farming, cooking, taking care of livestock, caring for their other children and say that they always find time for the work.

Learning Camps

 

 

learning 

 

One of the additional ways in which children are supported is through the provision of Learning Camps. These are run in over a quarter of the villages covered by the projects and take place at weekends. At those camps, children are often set challenges which they have to complete in their own time.
Here is a child who has designed a battery operated fan, complete with an electric circuit.

Village volunteers

 

 

Village Volunteers

Volunteers from each village are encouraged to join the Excellence projects: they are trained, given access to the teaching and learning materials and expected to commit to about two hours’ support each day. Village volunteers are not paid, but are given access to training courses in ICT and spoken English.
Some volunteers are young people who have not made the grade to get into a further education programme or cannot afford college fees, others are parents.
All are very committed to the Excellence programmes and the children that they work with.