Happy Horizons Trust uses Human-Centred Design, Technology & Creativity to drive rural development in Primary School Education via the Empowerment of Youth Girls in Rural Bihar. It was established in 2013, and impacts over 5000 children regularly and a total outreach that spans to 40000 students through various short term programs across 6 districts of Bihar. Here is our origin story.
All the fellows part of this program are girls who come from rural backgrounds and their personal and professional transformation during and after the fellowship is nothing short of inspirational.
Impact from the programs:
Currently we have 25 fellows. The 10 alumni from this fellowship program have gone on to join local schools as better trained facilitators of learning experiences that are very outcome driven, become entrepreneurs, or pursued higher education with better guidance.
The students in the primary schools have better foundation as the programs focuses on their holistic development (age appropriate cognitive levels, motor skills, language, interpersonal social skills, creativity levels). They have a renewed interest in education and are less likely to drop out of schools.
The problems we are addressing
Every year the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) report that the eastern part of India has a higher out of school rate than the median state in India, along with the poor quality in education. In line with the enrolment numbers, the out of school rate is higher among upper primary school children. Despite of building of the basic school infrastructure and mid-day meals scheme, student attendance still remains a concern in many rural parts of the country and the quality of education in the schools is questionable. The schools do not focus on the holistic development of the child.
Due to these problems, the students in schools lack self-confidence and an intrinsic motivation to study. The youth in the society, who have themselves have gone through this education system, are often confused about their own career prospects due to a lack of exposure.
Poor development results in reduced communication skills. Poor communication skills leads to the underdevelopment of the child. Often the students are unable to come out of this setback and remain behind. Numerous programs are then run at the later stages, to help the students catch up. But that also sees limited success.
The solutions we created
The organisation puts the emphasis on activity based learning and participatory methods of learning such as reading, writing, storytelling, arts and crafts to improve the quality of education by training the youth in delivering these sessions through the READY Fellowship (Revitalising Education And Development of Youth).
The objectives of the READY Fellowship are as follows:
- To encourage and empower youth girls to focus on their education, career, skills enhancement and overall development.
- To enhance the quality of education in primary schools through interventions in the existing education system.
- To motivate children to attend schools regularly and not drop off school at an early age by imparting education outside the books and use alternative creative learning methods.
- To emphasise on increasing student reading levels, writing abilities, active motor-skills and self-confidence by using the power of storytelling as pedagogy.
- To encourage whole school transformation.
- To involve the stakeholders to encourage stakeholders and people of community spread the awareness about the program and its uses for their development.
How we will utilise the funds
a) 20 fellows X Rs 2000 (stipend) per month X 24 months = Rs 960,000
b) One Project coordinator at Rs 10000 for 24 months = Rs 240,000
c) Bi-Monthly Training program at 10000 per session = Rs 120,000
d) Operational Expenses, Community Interactions, Selections, Travel cost = Rs 180,000
Total (960000 + 240000 + 120000 + 180000) = Rs 1500000 for 2 years.
Why do we select female youths as fellows?
In the communities that we work, there is a lack of equal opportunity for girls. Through our work we seek to empower girls in rural communities. Gender equality has become one of the major concerns in the patriarchal society like India.
We believe that by providing access to opportunities and preparing youth girls for future career opportunities, we prevent early marriages in rural areas. It will decrease the gender disparities when families will be aware of empowering their women starting from their own homes.
The skills developed by the girls, results in their personal and professional growth. They are provided with the stipend in their period of fellowship which enables them to contribute to the earnings of their families and also support for their own education.
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All donations to Happy Horizons Trust qualify for a 50% exemption as per the Section 80(G) of the Income tax Act.