Enabling Enriching Learning Experiences in ARISE Schools: A M4C & TMF Collaboration
“Confidence and determination come not from always being right, but from not fearing to be wrong.”
What does a leader look like? Take a moment to envision that image. Does it include enthusiastic, innovative, and passionate children? While we might not typically associate children with leadership, it's increasingly becoming a reality in schools in Karnataka's Anekal, a block under Bangalore District, thanks to the support of ARISE.
ARISE, or All-Round Improvement in School Education, is a CSR education partnership program between Tech Mahindra Foundation and Mantra4Change. Its primary goal is to provide quality primary education to children from marginalized socio-economic backgrounds and unlock their full potential. Through their commitment and collaboration with Mantra4Change, students in Anekal have brought about meaningful change that has positively impacted their personal growth and the broader community.
Now, let's delve into three inspiring stories of transformation that exemplify the success of ARISE in Anekal:
Soumya: A Role Model in the Making
Let's begin with Soumya, a 6th-grade student at Government Higher Primary School, Old Chandapura, located in Anekal, Karnataka. Soumya is naturally inquisitive, often posing thought-provoking questions to her teachers to better understand the world around her. Her background may be humble, but her innate leadership qualities shine through as she actively engages in group projects and collaborates effectively with her peers.
Soumya's abilities caught the attention of her teachers when she took on leadership responsibilities in the school assembly, a micro-improvement initiative Mantra4Change has been working to implement across schools. Micro-improvements make the improvement process easy, simple, and achievable for every teacher and leader in the education system. The approach uses the 'learning by doing' concept.
With confidence and dedication, she assigned students to deliver thoughts of the day and read news articles during the assembly. Soumya maintained discipline, ensuring lower grades formed orderly lines. In the absence of teachers, Soumya took charge, conducting dictation exercises and engaging her peers in various activities. Soumya's newfound confidence allowed her to be an inspiring leader, motivating her classmates as she became a role model for her peers.
What enabled Soumya to become a leader?
The 15-day summer camp organised by the ARISE team Soumya attended helped her embrace her leadership abilities with confidence. Initially designed as an activity-based learning experience, the camp eventually evolved into a "Student Leadership Forum" based on valuable feedback from the Cluster HM meetings.
The program incorporated a range of subjects, including Child Rights, Student Cabinet, the Importance of Student Leadership, and Classroom and School Management. The curriculum includes arts and crafts, songs, dance, drawing, painting, and science-based activities. Throughout the camp, Soumya actively participated in all the activities and showed eagerness to express her thoughts. The collaborative nature of the activities encouraged teamwork and communication, enabling Soumya to refine her skills in guiding and motivating her peers. The experience of working with other student cabinet members further strengthened her confidence and ability to take charge. Her inquisitiveness allowed her to engage deeply with the topics, offering insightful perspectives and sparking meaningful discussions.
Today, Soumya stands as an exemplary student, making a positive impact in her school community. Soumya's story serves as a testament to the immense potential within every child when provided with guidance and opportunities.
Old Chandapura’s Story: Collective Action
GHPS Old Chandapura is a semi-urban school under the Chandapura municipality with a total enrollment of 180 students and four teachers. After only a month of the school reopening, the students and teachers faced a challenge; there was no water source, and the tank was broken. This is the story of how collective action at Old Chandapura solved a problem in a new and innovative way.
As the bureaucratic process of getting funds for a new water tank took time, students had to fetch water from a distance, causing a disturbance in their academic routine. The longer it took to resolve the issue, the longer students spent time away from their classroom and books to fetch water.
What worked at Old Chandapura?
After discussing the water problem, the students found an innovative solution inspired by their entrepreneurial spirit from the summer camp. They used their painting skills learned during the summer camp to raise funds. With newfound project management knowledge from the camp, they approached the ARISE team for support in finding buyers.
Over a week, the student leaders continuously tried to create beautiful paintings, combining their recent work with pieces they had completed during the summer camp to create an impressive collection.
Just as they were working through ideas of where and how to sell the paintings, Khushboo, co-founder of Mantra4Change, approached them, looking for handmade gifts she could use at an event. By a stroke of luck, what Khushboo had in mind was precisely what the ARISE team was looking for on behalf of the students of Old Chandapura.
The students bought a water tank for the school with the money earned from selling the paintings, i.e., rupees 8250. Rounak Jahan, assistant teacher of Government Higher Primary School Old Chandapura, said, "Today, I felt incredibly happy because my students, whom we had seen engaging in notorious activities in the class previously, showed great empathy towards other students and the school. It was a heart-touching moment for us. Finally, the water problem has been resolved. Kudos to our student leaders!”
Rakshit’s Story: Pursuing Passion
Rakshit, a 12-year-old ARISE-KPS School, Anekal student, is curious and enthusiastic about learning. His parents, humble vegetable vendors living in challenging conditions, found it difficult to support Rakshit's passion for science. However, everything changed when Rakshit discovered the 'Natkhat Lab' at his school. Natkhat Lab is Mantra4Change's affordable STEM Labs that gives hands-on experience to students on various complex science concepts. Rakshit was mesmerised and intrigued by what he could do in the lab, he made some fantastic working models, and there was no going back. He prioritised his newly discovered passion and broke the shackles of family tradition to pursue it.
What makes Rakshit’s story a success?
Out of desperation and fear for their child, his parents even imposed sanctions on him and asked him to choose either one of two: to live with them and do what they wanted or pursue his education and expect no support. Even though his parents didn't have enough trust in him, Rakshit refused to listen to them and stayed true to his desire to keep pursuing his education seriously. The time he spent exploring and learning in his school’s science lab gave him confidence and trust in himself as he prioritised his education, despite challenges in his family environment.
The curiosity imbibed within him with the introduction of the science lab helped Rakshit understand what he wanted. The lab also helped him socialise with his peers, engage with teachers, and discover his interest and abilities. It provided him a platform to showcase the knowledge and learnings he had gathered, motivating him to break the family pattern and choose a path of education instead. Rakshit’s father told his teachers later, "Being confident and determined doesn't mean you're always right; it means you're not afraid to make mistakes."
The collaboration between Mantra4Change and Tech Mahindra Foundation is nothing short of inspirational. Through the ARISE program, we have demonstrated a commitment to providing an enriching learning experience for every child in the schools where we work. These stories of leadership and innovation showcase the transformative potential of education when combined with resources and mentorship. As we celebrate these young leaders and their remarkable journeys, we are reminded that every child holds boundless potential, waiting to be unleashed through the power of education and collaboration.
Written By: ARISE Team, Mantra4Change