Project Khel at Non Formal Education Centers

Summers at Non-formal Educational Centers are brought to life by Project Khel volunteers. The first NEC to play with our very joyful volunteers was NEC, Lohiya Park. NEC Lohia Park is situated right at the heart of the rag picker’s slum. The slum houses over 600 Bangladeshi immigrants, and close to 100 children.

The slum is set in an area of about 10 acre and is saturated with litter. In a small open area littered with plastic bags and discarded bottles, the students had their first taste of organized games. The games conducted by the volunteers were based on concepts relating to basic numeracy and language skills. The parents watching the children’s delight have promised to clean the area for the next game session. Students at NEC Lohia Park now eagerly look forward to the next game session. It is the first time that children from this slum have played together in such big number. Digital Study Hall now looks forward to have games across all the NECs starting this summer.

Posted in NEC

Comic Art Workshop with Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Mirzapur

150 students from Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidalaya, Mirzapur are now part of a grassroots comic art campaign. SHEF organized workshops for the girls in KGBVs that enabled them in expressing themselves on the issues related to their lives in the form of illustrations. As part of the workshop, all the students developed a four-frame comic strip. These Comics were based on issues such as Domestic Violence, Right to Education, Alcoholism, Child Marriage, Gender based Discrimination and safety of adolescent girls.

Trained girls will now go back to their schools and continue to work with their peers in groups. These groups will meet periodically to discuss the issues related to their academic and personal lives and voice their concerns using the medium of comic art.

The work of students will be showcased in a series of exhibitions scheduled next month in Mirzapur and also at a grand event in Lucknow.

A Kick Starter to Issue Based Drama with Students of KGBV, Mirzapur

In an effort to empower the adolescent girls through active participation, Study Hall Educational Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF, organized a two-day drama training for the teachers of all the KGBVs in Mirzapur. The training program aimed at building the capacity of KGBV teachers to provide the girls with a platform to express themselves freely on the issues related to their lives.

The training was held in Varanasi on 27-28 September 2014 and was conducted by the theater group experts of SHEF. The teachers gained practical knowledge of various forms of drama and its application as tool to entertain, engage, empower and spread awareness. The training included detailed discussions on the process and technique of producing a drama presentation. Through examples, trainers explained concepts of script writing, character development, make-up and costumes. They learnt how to use inexpensive props to enhance the overall appeal of the story. Live demonstrations illustrated the importance of body language and speech modulation to evoke emotions. A discussion on the dismal situation of girls especially in rural parts of the country led to identification of many issues and the teachers were encouraged to express their views through drama. The teachers took part in group activities and scripted their own dramas. They enacted these impromptu creations and it was heartening to see how quickly they adopted the techniques shared during the training.

The teachers now feel equipped with a powerful tool which will enable the girls in their schools voice their concerns and in-turn will bring a change in the world around them.

Girls Empowerment Training for KGBVs in Rampur and Budaun

Study Hall Educational Foundation in collaboration with UNICEF has under taken an initiative to empower girls enrolled in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya(KGBV) at Rampur and Budaun district. The program was initiated with a 2 day long residential training for 25 KGBV teachers from Rampur and Budaun district. Two batches of KGBV teachers were trained through 8th September 2014 to 11th September 2014. The prime focus of the training was to enable teachers to conduct dialogues with their students that are contextual to student’s life issues. The training also focused on how to resolve students’ life issues and elaborated on the legal intricacies that need attention in severe cases.
Two teachers from each KGBV were invited along with local community members such as members from local nonprofits, child welfare committee members and members of Police Department. These community members are now part of KGBV teacher’s network and shall now be in touch with the KGBV teachers for resolution of severe cases of abuse and violence. The trainers drew incidents from personal lives where they had faced oppression and discrimination and mapped them to situation of girls and women in our country as reflected in the latest reports. It was an attempt to inspire teachers to dream of a different and gender neutral future for their students.

Drama and Role Play are best tools for initiating dialogues. They are a great help for sending a complex message across. Role play and Drama is an integral part of these student teacher dialogues. The training dedicated a session for teachers to develop a short issue based drama. The session was immediately followed by a in depth discussion on using drama as a tool to communicate to parents on sensitive issues.

Trainer shared the design of the ‘Empowerment Toolkit’ that was developed and tested at Prerna Girls School. Trainers clearly defined the definition of much used and theorized word ‘Empowerment’. The trainers elaborated that empowerment is becoming aware of one’s oppression, understanding and analyzing the causes of oppression and taking action to overcome.

An important addition to the training was a session on superstition and how it has restricted personal freedom of women and girls for ages. The session on superstition compelled the teachers to think deeply about how many superstitions have deeper gender specific rules. However, the trainers did discourage all superstitious practices.

KGBV teachers now have a new role to play at their schools. They are now advocates of the girls’ rights. To help them brave this new challenge they were equipped with literature that elaborates on legal girl rights, digital media to initiate student teacher dialogues, posters & planners to stay the course and a support from Study Hall Educational Foundation to fight the battle shoulder to shoulder.

Girls Empowerment Training for KGBVs in Maharajganj, Balrampur and Shravasti

Study Hall Educational Foundation, in collaboration with UNICEF, conducted a two day training for the teachers of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas of Maharajganj, Balrampur and Shravasti. Participants were invited in two batches – Maharajganj on 20th and 21st August and Shravasti and Balrampur on the 22nd and 23rd. The training was conducted at Hotel Royal Residency, Gorakhpur and the training hall was done up with a banner and bright posters.

After the registration, the participants were welcomed by the trainers. They were asked to fill a baseline form. Though many wardens had been trained for conducting Meena Manch, none had attended a training concentrating on empowerment. Then, an icebreaker game was played. The participants got to know each other started talking freely. In the first session, the participants were made to understand the need for empowerment and concept of Critical Dialogues was explained. Through the shocking statistics in her presentation, Dr Sahni, President and CEO of the foundation, showed how grim the situation is for underprivileged girls. After this session, the participants got into groups and discussed one major challenge faced by the girls. The groups then shared the gist of their discussion and suggested solutions. The next session dealt with superstitions and rituals that oppress the girls and women. A very lively debate ensured full participation of all the trainees. A video of a critical dialogue session was shown and the trainees understood the need to incorporate drama during the dialogues. The groups were given time to devise a short play based on the problem they had taken up for discussion. They were also provided with material for making a poster based on the theme they had taken for the discussion.

The next morning saw the participants sharing their views with their new friends. CWC members and local NGOs were also invited. While they were registering, the KGBV teachers watched a video about domestic violence and had an intense discussion about it. Then the new participants were introduced to the KGBV teachers through a pair game. After this, there was a brief revision of the Aarohini programme with emphasis on building a supportive network for the girls. Findings of the Vulnerability mapping report were shared to substantiate the need for support. Now it was time for unleashing of the teachers’ creativity. They presented the plays they had prepared. Despite the lack of make up, props or a stage, the plays had an impact and were received very well. The best play and the best poster got prizes. The NGOs and the CWC members had an interactive session with the teachers where they explained the nature and scope of their work and how they could help. The next session was even more enlightening where the participants got to know the important laws relating to the girls, their rights, recent changes and their impact on girls.

The training ended with awarding of certificates and handing over of the Aarohini tool kit, comprising of critical dialogue DVDs, a calendar, posters and printouts from a gender handbook for teachers. Both days, the participants were literally kept on their toes with impromptu question answer sessions using a ball. They also loved the three songs they learnt. All the 52 KGBV teachers and 24 NGO and CWC members were happy with the food and stay arrangements and sincerely appreciated the efforts of the caring and friendly team from Digital Study hall.

Inter KGBV Folk Song Competition, Jaunpur

Folk music has been a very powerful medium of expressing feelings and the village women have been literally singing away their blues for centuries! Study Hall Educational Foundation has been incorporating music and drama in the programmes it has been running for the empowerment of underprivileged girls. For the past three years, the Foundation has been involved with the Kasturba Gandhi Vidyalayas, residential schools for girls from very poor families.

Girls in Kasturba Gandhi schools of Jaunpur district were asked to search for songs that reflect the social status of girls in the society and the result were overwhelming. All the 19 schools sent their entries and the songs poignantly bring out the feelings of the girls about dowry, domestic violence, and ill treatment by in-laws, patriarchy and denial of their right to education. The listener can feel the pain in the young voices and one is forced to think how much more needs to be done before we get to hear some notes of joy.

Winning Entry
KGBV Jaunpur, Karanjakala

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First Runner-up Entry
Aarti and Chandrakala
KGBV Shahganj, Jaunpur

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Second Runner-up Entry
KGBV Mugrabadshapur, Jaunpur

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Kajal and Pooja
KGBV Mariyahoo, Jaunpur

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KGBV Dobhi, Jaunpur

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