Established in 1965, the Seventh-day Adventist School in Andhra, South India is the first child-focused community development project for our partners Helping Hand Welfare Society, and the third for Asian Aid in India. The aim is to ensure that by 2020 all children in the village have access to quality education, as well as developing practical economic opportunities for young people and adults in and around neighbouring communities.
This is it’s first year and we have already been able to take five concrete steps towards our goal:
1. School Renovation
This has had a major positive impact on the morale of the whole school community. After the clean up, the building was painted with vibrant colours. The children were excited to attend a school and classroom which was clean and bright. Parents were relieved to see the children’s new environment was healthy and inviting. Most importantly, it also showed parents our commitment to the children and instilled the belief that more positive change is yet to come.
Through the renovation process we were able to encourage parents to play an increasingly active role in their child’s education. We organised the first ever parent-teacher meeting in the history of the school. Traditionally, parental involvement and participation in a child’s education is an alien concept in rural areas like these. The PTA meetings now give a platform for parents to engage with the school administration and to voice their concerns, while teachers encourage parents to spend time with their children.
2. Getting to the real issues in education
To make fundamental change in the education of children we have needed to tackle difficult issues like the lack of teachers and poor scheduling. Previously, our school had one teacher for every three grades and children had no extra-curricular activities. Through your sponsorship, we have now hired qualified teachers who also speak and teach English. To ensure teachers are up to par on their language skills we have hired a professional trainer to help sharpen their English-speaking abilities.
As of today, each grade has their own teacher and classroom, and the whole school follows a structured and fixed timetable. They are also using computers for the first time for smart classes, interactive sessions and visual aid teaching.
3. Teaching kids to have fun
Learning should be fun! So we’ve introduced extra-curricular activities like sports to encourage kids to play and be active. A library has also been set up and reading has been integrated into the school curriculum.
4. Child Clubs
Child Clubs have been established to provide a safe forum for children to participate in rights-based activities within the school. This not only improves their lives but also the lives of other children and families in their communities. These programs help instil confidence, improve abilities and as a result, school drop-out rates have reduced.
5. Working on sustainable financial stability for families
We have created two income generation programs in the past year–Empowering Women Through Tailoring and Goat Rearing. Projects like these will continue to help mothers and fathers generate a sustainable income to support their families. Financial stability for the whole family means more kids in school and less likelihood of early marriage or children being vulnerable to trafficking.
We owe a massive thank you to you, our supporters, for helping us take these huge strides. We are grateful to you for making these achievements a reality and look forward to further sharing our success.