Samavesh Society for Development and Governance
Rs.49,78,350 awarded over two years
Samavesh was established to develop leadership and governance capacity in local communities with a view towards creating a more equitable and democratic society. Our grant supported the expansion of the organisation’s education project to include community involvement in school management.
Government schools in rural areas have a poor reputation of delivering education in dilapidated buildings with unkempt classrooms. Parents often make enormous sacrifices to send their children to private schools, rather than attend local state funded schools.
Tara village primary school, located 25 km from the district headquarters in Panna, has undertaken an enormous transformation thanks to the work of Samavesh and two passionate teachers: Varsha Verma and Amit Parmar.
In July 2015 they were transferred to the primary school at Tara, to find that the school lived up to the dilapidated stereotype. Enrolment at the school was very low, and the few students who attended did so with the food provided under the ‘Midday Meal’ scheme as the prime motivation.
In order to improve attendance, Varsha and Amit set out to engage the local community and restore their faith in the government schooling system.
They centred their work around two focal points – one was to create an intrinsic motivation among students to attend school and the other was to change the perception of the parents about the quality of education offered at their school.
They started the ‘Uphaar Yojna’ gift scheme, under which they provided free uniforms to the students. Next on their agenda was to make the school a place which children would find engaging; the playground was refurbished and the building was repaired and painted with attractive murals.
Mats (Taat-Patti) were provided for the children to sit inside the classrooms and small desks and benches were made by remodelling old furniture. The walls of the classrooms were painted with various learning aids such as the Varna-Mala and multiplication tables.
Child centred activity-based pedagogy was also adopted, with significant inputs and efforts by Samavesh to bring the teaching learning practices in tandem with the interests and needs of the children.
Samavesh played an instrumental role in ensuring the participation of the community in the activities of the school. Along with the community they facilitated setting up a school library, providing books and encouraging children to use the library. The students were also given a sense of agency to conduct ‘Bal Sabhas’ meetings.
These combined efforts by Varsha and Amit, with support from Samavesh gave the primary school at Tara village a new lease of life and transformed the school, setting a paradigm in the district for others to emulate.