AID future. Good quality education is crucial

                                               AIDIndiaAID INDIA is a non-profit organization,founded in 1996, by a group of IIT and BITS alumni who quit corporate careersto work on various development initiatives. Over the last 20 years, AID INDIAhas worked with several thousand schools, village communities and other NGOs tobring about improvements in learning quality of children, in Tamil reading,Math and Science. Our work has deeply impact on the lives of 2 millionchildren.  Vision: Aid India empowerscommunities, particularly the marginalized, to break the cycle of generationalpoverty and become self-reliant by providing support for quality education,health care and shelter.Mission:AID India focuses onthree main mission to achieve a desired peak in education provided to the ruralchildren both in private as well as government schools·        To ensure quality education for everychildren.

·        To envision every child in every village,to get their best education·        To make them achieve his/her fullpotential, and is ready to face the world with confidence Purpose:Several studies conducted by ASER (Annual Statusof Education Report) have repeatedly highlighting the serious of gaps and poorquality education especially in areas such as Fundamental calculations inMathematics and English speaking skills of students in rural areas of TamilNadu in both Government as well as Private institutes. This is especially truein terms of students from 1st Standard to 8th Standardwho even lack the basic of Mathematical calculations such as Addition,Subtraction, Multiplication and Division. Aid India believes that every child has the samepotential and the right for a bright future. Good quality education is crucialfor social change. Trying to bring about a visible change in quality ofeducation through our work in education, health and restructuring houses is themain mission of AID India.Approaches:Aid India works based onfour major approaches·        Model Schools·        After school Centres·        In school programs, and·        Technology in Education  Model SchoolsThe two eureka schools(Eureka Nursery and Primary schools) were founded with the vision to providehigh quality affordable education to children.

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Dedicated outcome oriented approachand child friendly approach makes learning at eureka schools both fun andeffective.After school centres:The Eureka after schoolcentres with clearly defined learning goals were formed with the help oftrained tutors and locally appointed education mentors conduct daily classes.They provide individual attention to each students through learning events andskill achievement meals. In school programs:In school programsinvolving activities and tasks aimed to improve the quality of learning inschools with the help of learning material and training provided to teachers.Workbook and worksheet given to each students in order to build skills.

Skilltracking and regular assessment are done to ensure that learning goals are met.Technology in Education:Eureka tab lab helps the childrenin middle and high schools to develop the skills that are expected at theirgrade levels. Children learn Math, English and Science through concept videosand practice on graded apps that allow them to learn independently at their ownpace.                 Eureka Milestone1996: Women andchildren’s Health and village education centresAIDIndia begin its operation on 1996 in partnership with Tamil Nadu Science Forumwith the focus to improve the health and to reduce malnutrition level amongChildren, pregnant women and young motherWitha focus on 600 villages, Adolescent health classes and sessions for women wereconducted in each village. At the same time, the Makkal Palli Iyakkam (People’sSchool Movement) program started in 200 villages.

The idea behind this effortwas to mobilize communities, including parents, to educate their children. Highlymotivated volunteers ran these centres from the community, who conducted funactivities for children regularly. 2000: Volunteer chapters AidIndia’s volunteer movement had gathered momentum by the year 2000. Volunteerchapters were started in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.2001: Science club andDemo classes:AidIndia’s Science clubs and Demonstration classes formed in 2001 were conducted toclear misconceptions and help them understand science instead of learning lawsby rote.2002 – 2004: Eureka Booksand Eureka Library movementIn2005, Eureka Books was started to ensure that children in rural areas haveaccess to good learning resources.

Cartoon books in Science and Math, Scienceconcept booklets, bi-lingual storybooks and other attractive materials were distributedthrough village stalls, book fairs and schools.In2004, “Eureka Library Movement”, the innovative ‘Library in a bag’ initiativewas launched. The initiative launched a reading movement where children wereable to get access to books at their own villages.

With simple story cards andeasy-to-read graded storybooks, the Eureka library bag was a huge hit amongchildren. 2005: Tsunami ReliefTsunamirelief was formed in 2005, after Tsunami struck the shores of Tamil Nadu onDecember 2004. Aid India’s Tsunami relief was inaugurated with relief materialsand nearly 1000 volunteers poured in everyday from all over the world. Truckloadsof relief supplies were sent to around 1,00,000 people covering about 97villages in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanchipuram districts of Tamil Nadu.

AidIndia also organized health camps, health awareness sessions for women andclasses for children at the relief camps. After a few months, as people slowlylimped back to re-building their lives, Aid India decided to stay and work withthem in the same blocks to ensure long-term improvement in health andeducation. 2006: Eureka Nursery andPrimary SchoolsThetwo modern schools, Eureka Nursery and Primary Schools, was formed by Eureka AidIndia in collaboration with Banca Sella with the vision of providing highquality affordable education to rural children. Childrenenrolled in Eureka Schools mostly belong to poor families residing in ruralparts of Tamil Nadu.  2007: Padippum InikkumTamil Reading Skills ProgramAidIndia implemented the Padippum Inikkum Tamil reading program in 7,300 schools.More than 10,000 Govt. school teachers were trained and attractive learningmaterials were provided for children. The main aspects of the program were:·        Children were grouped according to theirreading levels·        Colorful story posters and attractivematerials were given to motivate children to read.

·        Teachers were trained on level-specificgroup activities. ·        Daily one hour of focused class was takenby the teacher for the children lagging behind.·        Childrens progress was assessed everymonth.·        The pilot program showed that given aclear goal, a large number of teachers could achieve it in a short period oftime. The pilot also showed that within a short time it was possible forchildren start reading fluently. 2008: Ariviyal AnandamScience Education ProgramTheEureka Lab-in-a-box kit redefined the Science Lab as a box with everydayobjects that could create excitement and wonder in children. The AriviyalAnandam program was conducted in 900 Govt. schools in Krishnagiri andSivagangai.

2009: Eureka Pre-PrimaryProgramAidIndia developed and implemented a pre-primary program in 1,000 Govt. Balwadis.An attractive kit with activities for fine motor development, language andcognitive skills was provided to each Balwadi. Teacherswere trained on conducting fun activities to ensure that these children wereready for school by the age of six.    2011: Eureka after SchoolProgramEurekaafter-school learning centres were piloted initially in around 250 villages. Withthe help from parents, local youth from the same villages were identified andtrained to be Eureka Tutors. These tutors conducted daily evening classes forthe children of their village. The success of the pilot program led to thescaling up of the village centers across Tamilnadu.

Today,the Eureka Village centres are being run in 1,063 villages of Tamil Nadu withthe following key elements in each village:Strong Outcome Focus:·        With the help of Skill Chart every Child’sprogress is tracked which helps the parents and the community membersunderstand the and visualize the progress of their children under Eureka’sEducational scheme. Eureka’s Tutors (or) ET provides a one on one attention foreach children who fall behind when compared to other students.·        To motivate children to learn faster andbetter, certificates and skill stickers are awarded to them at the end of eachlearning goal.Specially ResearchedMethodology·        Attractive group activity learning kits,games and workbooks specifically designed to make classes fun, learning-focusedand effective for children from marginalized backgroundsParent Engagement andCommunity Participation·        Every year after evaluation process, Eurekatutors discuss the development and progress of the children to the parents withthe help of Skill Chart. It is encouraged through Skill Declaration events ineach village·        The entire village comes together tomeasure children’s learning progress and celebrate their successes. 2012: Eureka TeacherTraining ProgramAidIndia’s teacher training program started in 2012 has been training more than1000 school teachers and village tutors on innovative activities, learningmethodologies and classroom management techniques to ensure better results forchildren.         2015: Eureka Tab LabsAidIndia’s Eureka Tab Labs (Tech Enabled Classes) in schools and in after-school centres,were formed in partnership with content providers to help the children learn English,Math and Science through visual means such as videos and mobile apps.Childrenlearn several concepts with the help of videos and by practicing them on appsthat can be easily gasped to their levels.

These assessments help themdetermine how well they have progressed. Eureka Tab Labs redefine the access togood quality education for children in villages. 2016: Intergrated VillageDevelopment programManyvillages lack basic needs, there are few villages where the deprivation is evengreater. Aid India works in these most backward Irular, Dalit and tribalvillages, with the aim of improving the quality of life, mainly for women andchildren. Village education centers are set up for the children in thesevillages..

Toimprove the health of women and children, health awareness classes are held andnutrition supplements are provided. The integrated village development programis a long-term effort, but when the change happens, we are confident it willmakea significant difference to the quality of life in these villages.EurekaHolmes were formed with an aim to help old people and families that literallylive under plastic sheets or old houses providing them with much needed shelter.To prevent any form of struggle or misguidance, the whole village is involvedin the decision process for deciding these poor families who needs shelter. Asof now Eureka have constructed 244 homes for the poor people across Tamil Nadu.  2017: Eureka Walk andTalk ProgramAidIndia initiated the Walk ‘n’ Talk English program in all the Eureka village centresto help the children with their English skills.

In this initiative, childrenlearn to read and speak English. This learning is not just limited to the classroom, but the students are made to visit the family members and elders of theirvillages to ask and answer simple questions in English.   TheEureka Walk n Talk program builds, not just the skills of children, but alsotheir self-confidence.    Achivements andRecognization·        2011: Aid India received the Times ofIndia Social Impact Award for global contribution to India·        Pratham USA Achievement Award for work onimproving reading skills of children in Tamil Nadu was awarded to Aid India·        Received the Distinguished Service awardRotary Club of Madras South.·        The MIT Indus Technovators Award 2005 wasawarded to Aid India for innovative work on Science Education and VillageLibraries·        Design Shares Merit award for Innovativedesign was awarded to Aid India’s Eureka Elementary school·        Dr.

Balaji Sampath, Founder, Aid India wasawarded distinguished alumni award by IIT and University of Maryland, collegepark in 2016. On 30th july 2014, he was also awarded with Smt.Saraswathi Endowment Award for Education and Service·        Indian of the year 2016 was awarded to Mr.Selva Ganapathy, Volunteer and Inern coordinator, Aid India                    Media and News letterRecognition2015: Quitting for aCause2015: After school tutorscross-rivers to build bridges:2012: Corporate Studentdiscovers learning is fun      Education:Eureka Village CentreAid India’s Eureka village centres were started in2010 as part of the vision to solve the poor quality of education and pointingout serious gaps even in basic foundational skills like reading and arithmeticin schools in rural Tamil Nadu as reported by several independent studies includingNational rural survey’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). Today, the Eureka Village centres are being run in1063 villages of Tamil Nadu. In each village, local youth from the communitiesare identified, appointed and trained as Eureka tutors.

Eureka tutors conduct daily evening classes in thevillage throughout the year. In some villages, tutors focus on Math, Englishand Tamil skills for Std. 1-8 children, while in others village tutors havestarted the program with a focus on English alone. As part of the daily ‘English Walk ‘n’ Talk’sessions, children are encouraged not only to learn English in the class, butalso go around the village and teach their family members and elders how to askand answer simple questions in English. This creates a buzz of excitement and asense of achievement in the entire village. In Science, children learn aboutthe world around them through fun and exciting experiments.

With weekends filled with learning events wherechildren put up role plays in English and demonstrate science experiments, theEureka program build not just their skills, but also boosts theirself-confidence.The key elements of the Eureka program in eachvillage:Strong Outcome Focus: Every child’s progress is tracked using a simple visual aid called the skill chart, which also helps the parents and the community members understand the learning progress of every child.Eureka tutors provide additional one-one attention for children lagging in a particular skill to help them achieve their learning goals.To motivate children to learn faster and better, certificates and ‘skill stickers’ are awarded to them at the end of each learning goal.Specially Researched Methodology Attractive individual /group activity learning kits, games and workbooks specifically designed to make classes fun, learning-focused and effective for children from marginalized backgrounds.Parent Engagement and Community ParticipationEureka tutors discuss children’s progress regularly with parents using the skill chart.Community involvement is encouraged through ‘Skill Declaration’events in each village, where the entire village comes together to measure children’s learning progress and celebrate their successes.The significant improvement in the learning levelsof the children that has been seen in the Eureka village centers program sinceits inception has reinforced our belief that Every Child Can Learn ifthere are clearly defined goals and a focus on measurable outcomes.

 Eureka Schools:Eureka Nursery and Primary Schools were foundedin 2006 by Aid India and Banca Sella, with the vision of providing high qualityaffordable education to rural children. These two schools are located atParameswaramangalam and Venkatrayanpettai villages of Kanchipuram andTiruvannamalai district respectively. They cater to more than 300 children eachyear, mostly first-generation learners residing in villages around the schools.Parents of these children are predominantlyagricultural or daily wage labourers.What’s different?At Eureka School, teachers andchildren learn together. In a child-centric environment, dedicated teachersensure the best for every child.

With a strong focus on outcomes,teachers ensure that children learn by understanding and doing, rather than byrote memorization. Help is always given to children who need extra support.Each child’s unique talents and achievements are showcased in events throughthe year. Through regular coaching in sportslike juggling and football, children gain a large amount of self-confidence.Eureka Schools help build and nurture dreams and provide children a strongfoundation to achieve them.

 Eureka Tab Labs:Technology is an enabler. When technology iscombined with well-designed self-learning content, the potential to create animpact in education quality expands tremendously. Aid India, in partnership with content providers,has been piloting Eureka Tab Labs – Tech enabled classes for children to learnEnglish, Math and Science. The tab lab classes offer children advanced skillsin English, Math, Science and Tamil. Using technology (video lessons and mobile apps),these ‘Tab Labs’ provide a high-quality learning environment for children. Volunteers from Chennai, and from the US, havebeen participating in online live virtual classes in these centers, where theydirectly teach children in remote areas without having to travel there.    Eureka Training Programs:Aid India works as a resource group for severalgrass-root organizations and schools all over the State. The objective is toleverage the work of several of these organizations and schools and catalysetheir efforts to achieve better learning outcomes.

With a focus on basicskills, Aid India has been training more than 1000 schoolteachers and villagetutors on innovative techniques, learning methodologies and classroommanagement to ensure better results for children. At the end of each term, the training team visitsthe school or after-school center, assesses the children and awardscertificates for children and tutors who have achieved their goal. Plans are discussed with the teachers forremedial action to help the children who have not yet acquired the targetedskills.  Eureka Homes:The ‘Eureka Homes’ program was started in 2016,to identify the most vulnerable and needy families and give them a dignifiedliving.

In many villages, there are old people and families that literally liveunder plastic sheets or in a dilapidated house.As part of its ‘Eureka Homes’ initiative, AidIndia has constructed 244 houses for the poorest families so far. The wholevillage is involved in the decision of identifying the families. The familyparticipates actively in the planning and construction of their home.

Eureka Homes provides the much-needed shelter andsecurity for the poorest families to live with dignity. Integrated Village Development:While many villages lack in basic needs, thereare few villages where the deprivation is even greater. Many have moved awayfrom their traditional livelihoods, which are no longer viable.

There areseveral cultural and social barriers, which need to be overcome to make adifference to their lives.Aid India works in these most backward villages,with the aim of improving the quality of life, mainly for women and children.We believe that an independent intervention in education alone is not adequateto make a lasting impact on the people and their lives. Given that the issuesare inter-connected, a multi-pronged approach, which integrates solutions tothe key issues like education and health becomes important.

Aid India’s integrated tribal development programis a long-term commitment to bring about significant change in tribal villages,over the next 5 years. To begin with, we are working on education and healthawareness interventions in about 30 villages across 5 blocks of Tamil Nadu.  The interventions include·        Running Eureka after-school centre in thevillages·        English intervention for spoken and readingskills and to build children’s confidence·        Setting up a ‘Learning Lab’ or a tinkering lab,which will provide a non-traditional approach to learning. This component willbe specific to each village. Children will be encouraged to work on localissues. There will be workshops on cycle repair, use of cell phones, use ofcomputers, robotics etc. Through these workshops, we will also tap into theirindigenous practices and traditional skills which are soon disappearing and getchildren to document the same.

Children will do projects to document localknowledge like home remedies using herbs for which these communities are knownfor. ·        Health camps and awareness programs foradolescent girls·        Nutrition interventions to improve their levels·        Identify the most vulnerable like old couples,single women and build homes for themThe integrated village development program is along-term effort, and it may take several years to make small improvements inthe lives of these families. We know that we are in it for the long haul.However, when the changes come, and we are confident they will, we believe thatthey will make a significant difference to the quality of life for thesefamilies.

           

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