|1||Alternative Education||Asha works with many schools that attempt to provide quality holistic education to children from poor economic backgrounds. These schools come under a special category called 'Alternative Education' schools (Alt-ed schools) because they seek to explore different alternatives in education. Such schools continue to encourage the spirit of enquiry in a child and help them make their choices based on nurturing the child's interest and learning. A lot of importance is given to the child's psychology at an early age so that they loose the psychological fears or complexes they may have towards learning. This encourages children to think independently and become more responsible. Most of these schools are engaged in creating and using innovative teaching methodologies that ensure that rote learning does not happen. As an example - some schools have developed excellent language teaching methodologies. Others may use creative games and experiments to explain difficult concepts in Math or Science. Some schools have changed the class room structure to encourage better children and teachers interaction. Such creativity is typically missing in the conventional education stream practiced by majority of schools in India. Alt-ed schools are often founded by persons with a strong interest in what education means, and what it should provide. Since the established patterns in the conventional education system in India are missing many aspects of what education is for - alternative education schools try to address these inadequacies and create a space for exploring alternatives in education.
Alt-ed schools that Asha supports have been especially created to not only address the pitfalls in the conventional education system but also ensure that children from poor socio-economic backgrounds are not deprived of the opportunity for high quality education. Alt-ed schools assist children in taking the main stream government exams.
|2||Child Home||Asha supports the running costs of several homes for children. Typically the support provided covers the costs of daily and living expenses and schooling for the children. In certain cases the child homes receive referrals and partial support from the state government as well.|
|3||Community Awareness Programs||Asha supports different community awareness programs. These programs provide education that is aimed at raising awareness on various issues and creating an informed society. They empower people with information so that this will serve as an impetus for social change. These programs are located both in rural communities (tribal) as well as cities. They cover a broad range of issues including agriculture, general health, women’s education and community rights.|
|4||Community Based Interventions||Asha has typically started working with our partners through different types of educational programs. As our relationship with the partner and community builds we have worked on different initiatives that can have better overall impact on the community. We have supported costs for providing drinking water facilities, seed funding for women’s self help groups, small scale fisheries, and other types of community based activity.|
|5||Disabilities||Asha works with many schools that specifically reach out to children with various disabilities. There is a huge dearth of schools for children with disabilities in India and very little in terms of law in ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access. Asha has sought to find and support schools for children with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, visual impairment, hearing impairment, slower learning capabilities and other physical or learning disabilities. Many of these schools also actively work with the government in trying to ensure more rights for persons with disabilitites. They also conduct several community awareness programs aimed at educating the community on the whole in areas related to disabilities such as proper nutrition during pre-natal stages (which can reduce cerebral palsy), neighborhood accessibility for persons with visual impairment. They also address common biases that exist in communities against persons with disabilities. Most of these schools have developed good vocational training programs to suit the special abilities of the children and young adults.|
|6||Educational Experiments||Asha has a strong group of volunteers in India who are involved in setting up centers of learning promoting self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship via learning. The basis of the centers created by different Asha India volunteers is that young minds need holistic development leading to self reliance and strong values. Conventional education is only oriented towards jobs, therefore based on competition, which in turn gives rise to pride, prejudice and conflict. The education provided at these centers is based on empowerment by imbibing the spirit of cooperation instead of competition.|
|7||Fellowships||Asha supports a fellowship program that supports individuals of the highest quality and unquestionable dedication. Support is given to those whose work in time will have a large positive impact by creating an institution or a methodology. Fellowships are reviewed after the potential fellow has been nominated by a nominator actively working in India. The area of support is typically of current importance with potential to make large social impact to reduce poverty and injustice in the life of the underprivileged of India. The area of support includes (but not limited to) education, income generation, women's empowerment, integrated tural or slum development, addressing dominant social concerns like child labor, bonded labor and other areas.|
|8||Formal Schools||Asha works with formal schools for children in rural as well as urban areas. The schools provide full time schools for children with the syllabus prescribed by the government. The formal schools being supported by Asha are typically located in areas where there is no other schooling available. The children attending these schools pay little or no fees and come from low socio-economic backgrounds. Some of the formal schools incorporate good teaching and learning techniques to ensure that the education the children receive is effective. Asha has helped support the financial needs for schools including school infrastructure and building cost, land cost, teacher salaries, educational materials, transportation and other requirements.|
|9||Internships||This is a unique experimental program by the Stanford chapter of Asha. Internships are organized for college students in India allowing them to participate in an 8 week summer internship with a partner developmental organization. This program is intended to give students from middle class backgrounds exposure to work done in this area. Such internships hope to inspire more social consciousness and long term involvement from the students.|
|10||Non-Formal Educational Centers||NFE centers are typically created for children who are unable to attend an entire day of school. Often these centers serve as a stepping stone to more formal education. NFEs are, as their name implies allow non-formal enrollment – children can join irrespective of their age. Some NFEs tend to be non-formal in content – they can follow varying curriculums. There are bridge schools that offer several years of curriculum in a condensed manner to help the children join a formal education system. Other schools try to get the children comfortable with a subset of the curriculum such as language and basic maths and sciences hoping to encourage the children to learn further. Asha works with NFE centers that have been started by members of the community themselves i.e started by community groups. NFEs need various forms of support from infrastructural support, running expenses, educational resources and teachers training programs.|
|11||One Time / Infrastructure||This type of project is a one time expense, usually used towards infrastructure costs.|
|12||Other||Choose this type if your project does not fit any of the current categories. Then email firstname.lastname@example.org the project type and it will be added to this list.|
|13||Pre-Primary||Pre-primary education are stepping stone for young children to get accustomed to school environment. In many communities, these help to get children into the formal education system. Usually the teachers follow up to make sure that children graduate to local schools. In these centers the children are provided with a loving & nurturing environment. They learn language & some math. Also they play games & learn poems, songs, dance, stories. Many such centers also provide tiffin/meal. The teachers are well trained & come from the community. The children are of the age group 3-6 years typically.|
|14||Residential School||Asha supports projects which are residential schools for children. The students learn traditional reading, writing, and arithmetic - but also learn cleanliness, community service, and other skills that are not taught in a regular school.|
|15||Resource Centers||Includes Mobile Laboratories, Learning Aids, Computers
Asha supports educational resource centers which aim to improve the quality of schooling provided by different schools (government and non-government). These resource centers serve the important role of documenting and disseminating information on teaching and learning techniques and learning aids. They also serve as a center for exploring ideas related to pedagogy. Resource centers serve as a focal point for disseminating information and training impacting the quality of schooling experience. Ideally resource centers are required in many geographical regions so teachers can attend training sessions easily. This will also help resource centers customize education needs based on local communities.
These are mobile laboratories that provide children with the ability to perform practical experiments in science and other subjects. The mobile laboratory is placed in a bus or van and driven from school to school. The schools catered do not have any labs on their premises for children to learn from. The mobile labs also carry books, videos and other educational materials which help children learn during their interaction. They thus also serve as mobile libraries bringing a wealth of information to the children.
Asha is working with organizations such as the Tamil Nadu Science Forum to produce and disseminate educational and science communication videos that can be used in schools, by NGOs and by Science Movement activists in villages. We are also involved in a collaborative effort in terms of developing supplementary curriculum material and supporting costs for production of material for further distribution.
Asha works with organizations such as World Computer Exchange and Friends of Young Minds to collect working computers in the US from corporations and individuals, pack and ship them to India where they are put to educational use mostly in government schools which do not have the benefit of such facilities.
|16||Special Needs||Special Needs Children From Socially Disadvantaged Backgrounds
These are for children who have special problems created by the lifestyles they are forced into such as prostitution, rape, drugs and living on the streets. These children face great social disadvantage because of their backgrounds. They often represent extremely disadvantaged urban communities such as those of street children, sex-workers' children and children addicted to drugs. In most cases the children are often without any kind of parental support. The schooling for these children typically includes appropriate education and vocational training. Where relevant, treatment, therapy and group counseling is also provided. Some groups work with the children for many years till they are ensured placement in jobs.
|17||Support a Child||Support A child program efforts help sponsor the costs for health, living and educational costs for individual children. In certain cases only medical costs for the children are covered.|
|18||Tuition Centers||After school support centers provide supplemental learning to compensate for poor quality education provided in the government school. In some cases they offer evening classes to child laborers. These centers have been fairly effective in increasing the pass rates for the standard examinations held in 10th and other grades, and in ensuring that children stay in school and not drop out. Children benefit from more individual attention and sensitivity to their community problems in these after school tuition centers. In many cases, providing education is part of a wider community intervention by the partner group.|
|19||Vocational Training||Vocational training is an integral part of the work carried out by many of Asha’s project partners. This is particularly relevant in the context of children with handicaps to enable them to stand on their own feet. Vocational training programs cover a broad range of subjects from Computer training, tailoring, bee-keeping, agriculture (growing of certain plants), screen printing, carpentry, making greeting cards etc .
Asha has also supported learning centers for continuing education for adults.
|20||Working with the Government||Includes Government School Improvements, Educational Reform Support, Government School Curriculum interventions
Government School Improvements
Asha works with partners to reform the type of education that is provided by government schools. Government schools in India cater to the poorest sections of society and have suffered from years of indifference to the dismal plight of schools. They are plagued by several problems including poor infrastructure, poor teacher attendance, bad teaching quality and complete lack of sensitivity to the communities they cater to. There are several groups in India whose specific mission is to reform the government schooling system since most of India’s poorest send their children to government schools.
Asha has been working in conjunction with several partners in making improvements to infrastructure and quality of schooling. In some cases we have supported social workers who work with existing schools to make changes. We has also been involved with infrastructure improvements in some government schools. We have also supported fellowships to individuals who have taken up the task of reforming the teaching quality of a group of schools.
Educational Reform Support
Asha volunteers have been actively involved in campaigns involving review of government proposed curriculum frameworks. We have also actively supported innovative education experiments. In cases where innovative reform has run into problems with the government we have actively shown our support for quality education initiatives and campaigned along with our partners in India. The basic premise behind these interventions is the firm belief that the State should be held accountable for providing affordable, yet quality education to each child.
Government School Curriculum interventions
Several groups in India are involved with creating innovative curriculum in different areas such as mathematics, languages, sciences and new areas such as environmental awareness, social issues and health-care. Some have chosen to work with government schools to ensure that the quality improvements being made are available to children of poorer sections. Asha is working with partner groups in providing support towards developing prototype educational material, conducting teachers training and awareness workshops, researching future areas of work.
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