When 200 kids come together, they create magic!
We are the Teach for India fellows at National Children’s Academy, one of the oldest English medium schools in Wadgaon Sheri, Pune.
Although we have a legacy that precedes us, the current situation of the school not only fails to match up to its legacy, but is rather deplorable, if truth be told.
Our school has four concrete rooms with corrugated sheets for roofs, out of which three host classes 8th, 9th and 10th and the last one doubles as a library under construction/ current warehouse.
The rest of the school consists of four rooms made of aluminum sheets, hosting classes 6th & 7th, Preschool and the staffroom, and an office room set up in half a concrete room, the other half of which had been previously demolished. We do not have permanent bathrooms, but two portable toilets serving over 200 students and staff.
The school ground is the place that forms a small courtyard surrounded by these structures, where the foundation of a demolished classroom still stands.
Given the condition of the school, it was almost impossible to provide our kids with the kind of excellent education we envisioned for them. It was at this juncture that one of the former Teach for India fellows (Michelle, 2015-17) came up with the idea of setting up a community center which would provide a space outside of school for the kids where they can come together and create the magic they are capable of.
The community center (or “Center” as it is more informally known) is located one kilometer away from the school, in the ground floor of an apartment building. The space consists of two rooms, a hall, a small courtyard and an adjoining tin roofed shed. The place has a proper washroom, running water and electricity. The center is a space that is evolving in the most wonderful manner into a platform for kids to learn and apply values of ownership and collaboration as well as further their academic and co-curricular growth.
The center is run by the students themselves for the most part, with the fellows merely paying the rent and providing a structure for the activities at the center. The students come to the center to attend extra classes, do self-study, practice co-curricular activities like quilling and other crafts, use the library and many other things.
They clean up the space every day and have taken ownership of the courtyard, creating glass and bangle mosaics on the walls and a small vegetable patch in one corner.
Extra classes are conducted every day after school, from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. At present, we conduct classes for students from classes 8th through 10th. But the center has been so lucrative that a handful of kids from class 7th and 6th have also started coming to the center to spend time there.
At the center, class 10 spends 3 hours every weekday as well as on most weekends, covering a substantial portion of the board syllabus. We have managed to arrange for a Marathi teacher for supplementing the language lessons in school. Extra classes are conducted for classes 8th and 9th, after which they engage in co-curricular activities or do self-study. We try to ensure that these activities provide them with the necessary and helps them establish self-to-world connections. Most recently, on the 3rd of August, Our kids were invited to attend the Carnival organized at the Amazon Development Centre on their 10th anniversary, where they also exhibited their quilling handiwork and put hand-made Rakhis up for sale.
Our kids at the Amazon Development Centre, WadgaonsheriA specimen of the kids' quilling skills
The kids use the space at the Center to practice for school events like Independence day, Teachers day and the likes. Currently, we are planning to conduct a school annual day as well as a school sports day in the forthcoming months. One of our fellows have also started training the kids in football and kabaddi.
If you have reached this point, we assume that you are interested in our endeavor. We need funds to keep the center running as well as for organizing the annual day and sports day. We are looking at raising a sum total of Rs. 2,50,000, which will be utilized as follows.
Rent (24000 X 6 for 6 months)
Cost of conducting annual day and sports day
DFC Project, Library Set-up
We implore you to donate generously, in whatever capacity possible, in order to keep this amazing space functional and giving the kids an opportunity to create magic.Teach For India Fellows involved in the project
Hiranya Riju, Imamul Hassan, Rupal Chowdhary, Aritra Sengupta, Kalyani Kumar, Vysakh R
Name: Kalyani Kumar
PhNo: +91 8210871686
Class: Grade 1-10
School: National Children's Academy
Address : Sr No 36, Moseswadi, Wadgaonsheri, Pune, 411014
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/NCApune/