Tag Archives: Schools

Samarthanam: a vision for the future for the visually disabled

I recently had the opportunity to host an amazing group of people visiting from India. The Sunadha dance troupe, part of the Samarathanam Trust for the Disabled based in Bangalore was visiting Boston. We had the opportunity to see them perform at the Sri Lakshmi Temple where the visually disabled dancers performed an amazingly choreographed set of dances.
Dancers from Sunadha troupe

Dancers from Sunadha troupe

  

 

  

Samrathanam was founded by Mahantesh, who is also visually disabled, to help provide opportunities for deserving, young, and talented children with disability of any form, or from marginalized economic backgrounds. Over the years they have built a school that provides education for over 600 disabled children and is designed to meet the needs of the physically challenged.     Continue reading

Akanksha – engaging children in education

Akanksha Classroom

Typical Akanksha Classroom

Last year we had the chance to host Vandana Goyal and Ruchika Gupta from Akanksha when they visited Boston. Over the years we had heard of the wonderful work this NGO had been doing in India and it was great to hear about their plans for expansion when they presented to a small group of interested folks at MIT. When we decided to visit India around December, we made sure that we had set aside some time to visit Akanksha at one of their facilities.    

Twenty years ago, the first Akanksha center opened for children from the slum communities of Mumbai, an innovative after school program designed to provide them with fun, engaging learning opportunities. Founded by Shaheen Mistri at the age of 18, these centers develop children’s English language fluency as well as equip them to go on to college, attain a good job and become change agents in their communities. Today, over 80% of Akanksha children go on to college to begin professional careers compared to only 30% of Indian children who successfully complete the 10th grade.     Continue reading

A visit to the Agastya Center in Kuppam

Last year I had written an article about an interesting organization, Agastya, that was transforming rural education in India by bringing a fresh new approach to teaching and introducing science and technology concepts to parts of the country that are typically ignored. Since then I was fortunate to visit Agastya founder Ramji Raghavan in Bangalore and accompany him to their Agastya Center in Kuppam.

The Agastya center is strategically positioned on 170 acres of rolling hills with panoramic views of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Each day a small flotilla of buses ferry hundreds of kids from neighboring schools to attend a day long series of sessions with Agastya teachers. The center has several discovery centers rooms each dedicated to a subject – biology chemistry and so on. Eager teachers encourage the students to explore, examine and investigate the scientific phenomena being discussed through hands on experiments. Continue reading

Agastya – transforming education in India

I had the chance to visit Agastya’s operations in Hubli earlier this year. Agastya is a NGO based in India that is hoping to transform the educational system by making it more interactive, experimental and interesting for children. Recently Ramji Raghavan, Agastya’s founder visited Boston and I had occasion to meet and hear him speak passionately about why he started Agastya after a career in banking. It was wonderful to hear and see some of the videos he brought along about the great progress and impact that the organization is having.

I wrote a piece about it in Lokvani which I am reproducing below .  You can also see it at Lokvani. I will post the pictures I took a little later. Continue reading

OLPC India Tidbits

For those who are tracking the progress of OLPC in India, here are few tidbits gleaned from the web: A fairly in-depth description of the OLPC pilot and a recent update on Nick Negroponte’s visit to Mumbai in August.

Here are some interesting photos from the wiki of thier initial pilot in Khairat village, in Raigadh district, Maharashtra. It is on the OLPC wiki and makes for interesting reading.

One room school house at Khairat (from OLPC wiki)

Continue reading