As you know The University of Warwick from the UK is working with the Laksh Foundation, a student volunteering program. The University sends students to the Laksh Foundation every year to help the teachers in English and Maths. This year we are having twelve student volunteers in three batches. Each batch has four students that help the teachers and students as well. Every batch is going to stay with the Laksh Foundation for four weeks. There are eleven local teachers working with Laksh. In the morning we organise teacher training classes and lesson plan for the evening.
On 6th of July, 2015 we met four wonderful people it was first batch of the Warwick Volunteers. As you know we are eagerly waiting to meet Mr.Matt, Ms. Fiona, Ms. Puja and Ms. Carli. They arrived here at lunch time. After a delicious lunch they visited the Laksh tutorial centres to say hello to the students and teachers as well. Laksh works with four villages; Manger Village, Silakari Village, Dhauj Village and Alampur Village. They were really happy to visit the centres and saw the students as well. During the dinner we had a discussion about the morning teachers training class and decided to start the class with a brief introduction from the volunteers and teachers. They decided to teach punctuation for the teachers and work on the lesson planning for evening classes as well.
Lots of love x
We started this week with the celebrations of Christmas. As you know we have five centres around the four villages. On Monday, 22nd of December we celebrated Christmas at two centres: Alampur Village and Dhauj Village. We put the Christmas tree and Santa Claus posters on the wall and asked the students to draw something on the Christmas tree. All of the students were so excited to celebrate Christmas and they all drew and wrote their name on the poster. We explained about Christmas and why we celebrate this festival. Then we sang a Christmas song with the pupils while the teachers arranged a little refreshment for the students. They all looked very happy because they celebrated this festival for the first time in the village. Hence, they got an opportunity to know about a different culture.
On Tuesday, 23rd of December we celebrated with the other centres and found it very interesting. Today we played ‘Secret Santa’ with the teachers. We made slips with the teacher’s names on and then asked them to pick up a slip one by one. We asked them to make a greeting card for the person whose name was on the slip, and they all did very well. It was a new thing for the teachers to become more creative.
As we mentioned above, the students participated for the first time in Christmas celebrations, because in rural areas nobody celebrates this festival. So, we are creating more awareness among the students and community that we have to participate in all religious festivals. According to the Indian constitution India is a secular country that respects all religious festivals.
On Christmas Eve we decorated a fig tree in the park of the Laksh Farm. We put lots of decorative things on the tree. We put a big star on the top of the tree and put lots of stars, bells, and tinsel. It was fun and the tree looks beautiful.
Lots of love and Merry Christmas, Madan x
This week we decided to make our morning class more effective and creative, to develop the skills and increase the knowledge of our teachers. As you know we have English sessions with the teachers and we found that we have to make worksheets to make them perfect. So, we used many ways e.g. cross words, word searches, choose the correct word, fill in the blanks, draw the pictures and sentence writing. Everything we have done by using worksheets. The topics we covered are prepositions, opposites, and plural words. The teachers’ performance was impressive. Hence, we are trying to improve their skills.
In regards to creativity, we decided to experiment with mixing paint colours. It was a good way to learn the basics about painting. We want to develop their skills in various ways because painting is a good way to focus the mind and concentrate on their studies. We took paints to each centre and we experimented with the students. They enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
Our teachers are eager to learn more about the world so we decided to teach them geography. We are focusing on each continent in detail, and the teachers are looking at the globe and world map to find the countries.
To make our lessons more interesting we introduced some new whistle games. First we did story writing with the whistle, where the children pass the story around the class when the whistle is blown. It was a successful game for their learning. Also, by passing a ball around the class and choosing a student by blowing the whistle and asking a question about a given topic, we can make sure each child is participating in the class. We’ve used this in all of our centres, and we’re really pleased with the reaction of the children.
Love Madan x
In the second week of December we thought about innovative ideas for teaching. We’re trying to make our teaching more effective and creative, so that we can encourage the pupils to study. We made some worksheets for the teachers, and we made some English alphabet and counting 0 to 9 flash cards for creative teaching, and to encourage their participation level through different ways. We also did cross words and word search activities on prepositions with the teachers, so that we can get ideas to make more worksheets for the students in our centres.
To increase the knowledge and skills of the teachers Rebecca taught some Geography lessons on continents of the world. We looked on the map and marked all the continents and learnt the biggest country in each. Rebecca made some worksheets on the same topic to know how much they have learnt.
Rebecca has been teaching us music along with our everyday lesson planning, for our Christmas celebration. The song is called ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’. We are reciting this song every day for Christmas celebration and we are going to celebrate Christmas in our all centres. We also drew Christmas trees for the celebration, which the children will decorate on the 22nd and 23rd December.
Love Madan x
On Friday, 5th of December 2014, we were reunited with Rebecca Fletcher, one of the Warwick university volunteers which we had this summer. She has returned to India to support the project. The Laksh Foundation is very grateful to the University for sending such great volunteers to help the Foundation.
On Saturday, 6th of December 2014, we went to see ‘OPERA GALA’ at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi. The program was organised by the EUROPEAN UNION to celebrate the 10th anniversary of ‘NEEMARANA MUSICAL FOUNDATION’. It was a fabulous program and it was the first time I had seen an opera, so I enjoyed it a lot. The NEEMARANA MUSICAL FOUNDATION was established by Mr. Francis Wacziarg. Neemarana Musical Foundation is supporting to the Blind relief association school and the under privileged children of Khushii NGO. We had a lovely evening and enjoyed ‘OPERA GALA’.
On Sunday, 7th of December 2014, we visited an International Bazar at the Ashok Hotel in Delhi which was organised by DCWA. DCWA (Delhi Commonwealth Women’s Association) was originally founded in 1952 to provide an opportunity for cultural exchange between women of the commonwealth, and helps the poor and needy of Delhi and surrounding areas. As you know the Laksh Foundation has a women’s cooperative which supports the rural women. Lots of women come to the foundation and stitch clothes. The Laksh Foundation was given a free stall at the DCWA mela to promote the women’s cooperative. It was a great opportunity to promote our project and we had a nice experience.
Lots of Love,
Children’s day, in Hindi known as “Bal Divas”, in India falls on November 14th every year and for good reason. Children’s day is celebrated on Pandit Nehru’s birthday as a day of fun and frolic, a celebration of childhood, children and Nehru ji’s love for them.
Chacha Nehru, as the children fondly referred to him as, was fond of both children and roses. In fact he often compared the two, saying that children are like the buds in a garden. They should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and citizens of tomorrow. He felt that children are the real strength of a country and very foundation of a society. He was the loved by all the children who gave him the endearing name of “Chacha Nehru”.
As a tribute to this great man and his love for children, his birthday is celebrated in all over India and we at The Laksh Foundation of course did the same. Most schools and Organisations have cultural programmes for the day. We started the celebration with songs and some starter activities which we learnt from the Warwick volunteers. We sang songs and poems for children e.g. Shalom my friend….., you are beautiful….., Chanda ke prakash me……. (Hindi poem), and lots of English poems.
We also organised a workshop with the help of Ms. Viveka Chatopadhyah for slow learner students. As you know we have some special children in our centres. Ms. Chatopadhyah assessed five students in particular through different activities. She asked them to participate in the activities using her tablet. She had lots of activities and games on her tablet. It was really amazing and she asked arrange in the orders, colours name, match the following etc. She promised to work more with us.
Lots of Love,
Madan Sharma XXXX
At the end of October and during the first week of November, we celebrated the birthdays of two important people of the Laksh Foundation. On the 29th of October, we celebrated Ms. Ila Lumba’s (President of the Laksh foundation) birth day and on the 1st of November we celebrated Ms. Sheela Kumari’s birthday. We celebrated their birth day with cake cutting.
On October, 28th we organised a training programme with the teachers on capacity building to help the project run smoothly. We discussed the following points with the teachers:
- Looking after the smooth functioning of centres
- Coordinating centre teachers for the monthly progress of each student
- Working with the parents to get feedback on students progress and their behaviour
- Creating awareness about the children’s rights and other related issues
- Developing innovative teaching tools for effective teaching and etc
On 5th of November, we made some teaching tools according to the results of our discussion for effective teaching. We all got many new teaching ideas while making the tools and we really enjoyed the work shop.
Lots of love!
Madan Sharma XXXX
This summer the Laksh Foundation took initiative with the youth of Manger and Silakari Villages to encourage them towards a skills development course. The Laksh Foundation collaborated with the ‘Institute of Hotel Management’, Faridabad, Haryana for the skills development course. The principal of the institute invited us to visit the institute and he explained the project, ‘Hunar Se Rojgar’. The ‘Ministry of Tourism’ launched this special programme in 2009-2010. It is fully funded for the creation of employable skills amongst youth belonging to economically weaker sections of the society. This initiative was taken to bridge the gap of skilled manpower in the hospitality sector. Under this scheme, a person seeking admission to the programme should be a minimum requirement of eighth pass and in the age group of 18 to 28. The trainees of the 6-week ‘food and beverage service’ and 8-week ‘food production’ courses are paid Rs.1500/- and Rs.2000/- each, respectively. We motivated ten boys for the hospitality course and two girls for the cooking course. The trainees attended the institute for a six week course which they enjoyed. Additionally, throughout the training programme we saw tremendous changes in their personalities.
On September 19th 2014, the trainees received their certificates from the institute, which they were happy with. The institute offered them one more course for six months, ‘waiter cum-houseman’. They were all excited to get admission here. Furthermore, the Laksh Foundation is trying to reach more people and support them through similar types of programme. There were 35 trainees from different NGOs and institutions, who began training for the house keeping course. However, one of the trainees (Mr.Ramesh) who was sent by the Laksh Foundation scored the highest mark of 88/100 in all of them.
Lots of Love!
On September 29th 2014, we organised a co-curriculum activity at Manger Village centre. Ms. Sheela led the activity with the older students dividing them into two groups. We gave them two different themes and asked them to write their own thoughts about the theme. We gave the first group “as a child, explain your expectations i.e. the things you ask and the things you do” and the other group had “if we have two moons then what would happen?” We used this activity to develop their creativy and understand their thoughts. As a child, everybody thinks different so we wanted to have a glimpse into their imagination and engage them in creative thought. The first theme gave us lots of different views. For example, one child said “I ask my parents for lots of toys”, another said “I go to visit temples or to visit village fairs”. We tried to gain an understanding of their desires and expectations. The second activity was centred on imagination. If we have two moons, some children said we would have two nights, others said we would We found that they all were very creative, with everybody having different views. It was new thing for them and they all enjoyed it.
As we know, it is monsoon season in India right now and during this season lots of people suffer from fever due to their lack of awareness. Children suffer from fever more often, so we decided to introduce awareness in the centres about Dengue fever.
The number of cases of Dengue Fever is much higher this year than last year in cities like Delhi and Mumbai, even in rural communities as well whose already overworked hospitals and civic bodies are struggling to contain the ailment and treat the unwell. We attained information from internet about Dengue fever and explained it to our students at Alampur centre today. Mr. Ramesh briefly explained about the fever and informed them of the precautions they need to take to be safe. We also said to them “if you have fever then don’t try to self-medicate and stay at home. Please go to a doctor.” We are trying to create awareness in the students so we can therefore reach more people in the community.
On October 2nd 2014, we celebrated Gandhi Jayanti on account of the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi. People called him “the priest of non-violence”. A group of farmers from New Zealand became the part of the celebration. They came to the farm at 11 o’clock and spent four hours there. They liked our project along with the organic farming we do on the farm.
We celebrated Gandhi Jayanti at Silakari centre with the favourite song of Gandhi JI (Raghu pati Raghav Raja Ram, Patit pavan Sita Ram.) Then we heard a short speech about him, all prepared by the students. They sang one more song (Shalom my friend, Shalom shalom…). It was an admirable programme prepared by students.
Last week of September 2014
As you know the 3rd batch of the Warwick volunteers left us on Friday 19th of September 2014. We all were very sad and the Warwick volunteers were as well. They worked very hard with us. They made major changes at Laksh foundation. They were a miracle for the Laksh teachers and the students. So I would like to thank the University of Warwick, for taking a great initiative and introducing us. This initiative is an amazing way to develop the community and uplift the underprivileged children in this area. I hope the Warwick university keep continue this programme, expanding and reaching more and more people.
Every day we faced challenges while working and tried to sort out them, proving our resilience and hardworking nature. We are learning and trying to develop ourselves alongside the project. I decided to provide training to the Laksh volunteers on pronouns for English and multiplying fraction by fraction for mathematics. I saw the pupils found it difficult to use the appropriate pronouns to fill in the sentences and multiplying fraction by fraction in mathematics. I taught them kinds of pronouns e.g. Personal Pronouns, Demonstrative Pronouns, Reflexive / Intensive Pronouns: the “self” pronouns, Indefinite Pronouns, Interrogative Pronouns
We developed worksheets in the morning classes with the teachers to make it easy. We practised with lots of examples and ensured to what we learnt was implemented in the evening classes with the older students because they have same content in their school syllabus. I realised that we are trying to improve their learning skills and have to encourage them towards study. The worksheets we had created for mathematics were really successful with the students and they seemed happy at the end of the lesson. The pupils are having fun with learning. But we want to work with them on the other issues like health education, special education, child rights education, moral education etc. As you know we are working with underprivileged and first learning generation, so we are looking forward to use our resources in order to help make teaching these issues possible. Many times we find difficult to coordinate with the community people because they believe in superstitions. They don’t believe in the education of girls, they don’t send them outside their home for study after the 5th standard. This year Laksh Foundation took initiative in Silakari village, we motivated parents and 15 girls got admission in 6th standard. They went there only for 2 months and then they all dropped their study – it was a great disappointment and of course made us very sad. We asked their parents, and then they said “we need their help in our domestic work and agriculture as well”. So we need to create a good awareness among the community people and children so that they can understand the importance of education and motivate their kids for further study.
On 25th of September 2014, we decided to organise a workshop on health and hygiene. We demonstrated the right way of teeth brushing. We got some resources from Ash, a Warwick volunteer for the workshop. First, I asked a group of 26 students about brushing their teeth, but I was shocked to hear that nobody brush the teeth every day. Then picked up a student and gave him a brush with toothpaste and explained them the right way of brushing his teach. I explained following points:
- Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
- Clean the chewing surfaces
- For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
Lots of Love,