Transforming lives of slum children through Education
Some months ago, the secondary school examination results were a talk of the town in Hyderabad and Chennai cities. The reason being, the students of the government schools operating from the slums scored big in the examinations, surprising many including parents, teachers and the government officials. The schools were part of the Aide et Action’s ‘Arambu – Gurukul’ project which is operational through 18 community clubs (often referred as Police Boys Clubs) in Chennai and 2 government schools in Hyderabad.
“Around 3600 children attend these clubs. We conduct a competency assessment of every child and based on the results give special attention and help the children improve their reading, writing, arithmetic and application skills,” says Albert Bosgo, Project Manager, Aide et Action. The clubs provide complementary educational skills through volunteers who spend quality time in the evenings or mornings.“ In addition to support provided by AEA, we also have HCL employees who engage with the children in the school/club teaching academic subjects and other extracurricular activities,” Bosgo adds.
“Within a year of the project initiation in our school in Hyderabad, the results surprised me. Our school which has been consistently scoring as low as 45% for the last 15 years veered into a high scorer at the block level. When AEA started working with us, I was expecting that the results would be better, but to my surprise, we stood first in the Medchal block” says an elated Rajender, Headmaster, Balanagar Government High School in Hyderabad.
“All our batchmates of Xth class who attended the club passed the board exam with good grades. We are very happy and motivated,” says Venu, a class Xth pass out from the Balanagar School in Hyderabad. He scored 8.5 percentile and is pursuing intermediate education. In addition to the educational support, the project also encouraged the children to take part in sports like football, running and caroms. When the entourage of 35 children took part in the National Level sports meet, the results were outstanding.
The children won 5 medals including gold and silver. “I would have never dreamt of taking part in a sport’s meet in Delhi. This exposure was possible only due to the club. I give full credit to the Arambu club,” says Dinesh Kumar, an Xth class student from Aainavaram police club, who won the 400m running race in HCL National Sports Competition. “I want to become an IT professional in future,” adds Dinesh. The girls in the project have also been faring well in both academics and sports. Naseema, a class Xth student, for example, could witness substantial improvement in her grades.
Apart from the tuitions, she was also introduced to caroms by Meenasri, the -volunteer at the Aainavaram police club. She won a gold medal at the National level Sports meet. “I started coming to the club when I was in my 5th standard. I was introduced to the club by my brother and sister who would come here and study. I am so glad that I could myself witness lot of improvement in my studies,” she says. With this new confidence, Naseema is determined to become a doctor and serve the society.
As a sustainable strategy, the community members are encouraged to play a critical role in the functioning of these clubs. They are involved in all strategic activities like – planning, implementation of planned programmes/activities and monitoring & reviewing the club activities. On the whole, the project, which is supported by HCL Foundation, is reaching out to 3600 & 738 children in Chennai and