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Recap of Scratch Class Mumbai

September 13, 2016

Children Enjoy Learning from Rinsa On 27 August 2016, the Gyanada Foundation conducted our first ever coding class, Coding with Scratch, in Mumbai, India. This was the first collaboration with Softklas, a team of enthusiastic teachers working to introduce computer programming through Scratch & Python to children.

We chose to start with Scratch, a free visual programming language developed at MIT specially for children between the ages of 8 to 16, because the children we work with had not been exposed to programming before this class commenced. We hoped that just as Scratch opened doors towards computer literacy for millions of children around the world, an introductory class would also do the same for them.

We selected a group of 12 children in Mumbai — not just Gyanada students, but also other children in their community such as their siblings and friends. As we learned from our previous experience introducing hardware and electronics to Gyanada children, we believe it is important to open up access to such programs to their friends and family as well — as best as we can.

Despite having no prior programming experience, the children learned to develop a game in a fun and accessible way, gaining skills in using the Scratch project editor and completing their tasks ahead of time. Their enthusiasm and interest shone through — this was not simply about teaching children to code as a means to and end (i.e. to eventually have a programming career in the future), but about providing them with the first step towards greater digital literacy which is much needed in their future.

We thank Gyanada and Softklas facilitators staff for their efforts in preparing the materials and curriculum, all volunteers for dedicating their time and effort to the education of our children. Special thanks as well to Dr Pratiksha Oswal for so kindly hosting our Scratch class.

Have a look at some of the pictures of the class in our gallery below.

Announcing New Fee Structure for Gyanada Sponsorship

June 28, 2016

We are grateful to all of you for your continued support over the years.

To reflect an overall increase in school fees due to our girls progressing in school and achieving higher grade levels than before.

When we began we supported many girls around the ages of 7 to 10, and these girls are now in the secondary grades and costs have gone up generally across the board.

Some of them have shifted to significantly better equipped private schools (compared to the cheaper private schools we worked with in the past), and we will be featuring some of their stories here very shortly.

The new yearly sponsorship fees are:

  • S$300 per year to support 1 girl
  • OR US$240 per year to support 1 girl
  • OR INR 14 000 per year to support 1 girl

The best way to support us right now is to contribute to our Milaap campaign. More payment options are upcoming, but those will take some time due to our limited technical resources in introducing any form of online payment gateway at this point.

In the days to come we will be showcasing some stories of girls who have benefited from attending better schools — that do cost more. The rest of them have also seen a rise in fees associated with the programs that we have started doing more of.

Reading programs, financial literacy programs, electronics bootcamps and other programs have been run as pilot events, and we are interested in doing more of those.

If you have any questions are all regarding the rise in school fees, especially if you have supported us in the past, please send Adrianna any questions you may have at adrianna@wobe.io.

Gyanada Electronics Boot Camp in Ranchi

January 31, 2016

Update: We are fundraising for the next year’s activities! We really loved doing this electronics camp, contribute to our Milaap campaign so that we can do the same thing in Kolkata this year.

There are many wonderful things about returning to Ranchi, Jharkhand! From the cool temperatures, to the wondrous food, and getting to spend some time in the hometown of legendary Cricketer, Dhoni, how could we not fall in love?

Despite the decades that have passed since the Naxal insurgency and the struggle for revolution that plagued that time period, the Naxal imprint is not just history, it’s something that lives on. Some of the girls we work with live in Naxal territory just outside of the city, while others live in Jagannathpur, a messy sprawl of an urban “slum” not far from the Jagannath Temple. In Ranchi we learned a few things from our conversations with parents, children and their field workers, namely that our kids don’t get to spend a lot of time with computers. One of our biggest worries is that the children aren’t learning technology and as a result they’ll miss out on opportunities. Our children don’t even have basic computer skills which are becoming essential in seeking opportunities in the future. Our children are just as smart and talented as their counterparts in Dehli and Mumbai even though they’re not always afforded the same opportunities. We don’t think technology is the only way to solve the world’s problems, but we do believe technology can play some role.

With the help of our volunteers from Singapore we set forth to launch our very first Electronics Boot Camp. We hoped to inspire girls to see the value of technology in our world and in their everyday lives. For many of our children electricity had little to no relevance. Without even having lights in their homes, how do we expect them to want to learn how to connect a circuit? Light is important. Just as important as science, computers, technology, experimentation, and wild failures and wondrous learning through curiosity and action.

The goal for our Electronics Boot Camp was to give our kids in Ranchi a new kind of challenge! We didn’t want them to simply just learn or memorize information about electricity, we wanted to facilitate a hands on approach that would allow them to work together to build something fun and really figure out what electricity is all about. We hosted the workshop in two locations, one being an urban setting and one being a rural setting. While the kids involved had varying levels of skill and interest in the topic, they all had one thing in common: they were all extremely engaged in trying, learning and most importantly learning by trying.

Their objective was to make an LED light come on, and to take things one step further and also figure out how to make a sound buzzer go off. Our objective was to facilitate inclusivity, encourage diversity, and remind our children that kids rule the world. To foster inclusivity, we opened our Electronics Boot Camp to both boys and girls. We encouraged the girls to still take charge and approach the tasks with an “I can do this!” attitude. We embraced diversity by bringing together kids of different ages, skill levels and interests and pairing them with an experienced educator that embraced student centered learning. We reminded kids that they are the true leaders of world by taking a backseat to their understanding, innovation and collaboration. We encouraged children to take the lead from the very start, to make their own rules, and to be candid about what worked and what didn’t. It was a wonderful thing to see children that live in such a hierarchical society and that come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds be leaders. We know from our work in the field that providing children with the opportunity and space to practice leadership is much more important than any economic or academic indicator; and a necessary step in grooming successful, well-adjusted scholars.

 

Moving Forward

We learned a lot from our first Electronics Boot Camp and are excited to make a few tweaks to make the workshop even better the next time around. For starters we’d like to host the Electronics Boot Camp during each vacation. Another future goal is to set forth a project that’s engaging to children of different skills and abilities, we want to challenge our advanced children but also want less skilled children to learn the concepts and actively participate as well. We want to continue encouraging our young girls to take charge, to feed their curiosity and continue to excel along their male counterparts. Other ideas include catering to more advanced students by linking vocational training or higher education opportunities and teaching public speaking and presentation skills.

Do you have a passion for teaching electronics? We have events in different cities in India from time to time, just sign up here as a volunteer to learn more.

Preparing For Our Trip!

December 21, 2015

This December we are excited to be traveling back to India and visiting Kolkata, Ranchi, Mumbai and Chennai! From the very start of the foundation, we knew that field work was important to us and we wanted to remain invested in the most important parts of our work. We want to continue to build genuine and lasting relationships with our field partners, field workers, the children supported by the foundation and their families as well. India is a large country and some of the cities we work in are far apart, so at times it can be a little difficult being able to spend time in all of the cities we operate in but we truly believe in building lasting trust and communication and have committed ourselves to doing what it takes to have some quality “face time” with our network.

For this trip we have a number of activities lined up and are looking forward to spending time in the country we love with the girls that are supported by the Gyanada Foundation. For this visit our activities will include a craft session for Kolkata kids with our Partner, Calcutta Rescue, an Electronics Bootcamp in Ranchi and a stop in Mumbai to visit Mulund children. In Kolkata we will meet the girls in the centre near Burrabazar run. We will be spending a little more time in Ranchi and are thrilled to be hosting our first ever Gyanada Electronics Boot Camp. The idea of the Electronics Boot Camp was inspired by our goal of increasing access to computers, internet and basic technology. We know from our experiences working with this community that our children are extremely bright and deserve access to the same opportunities that their peers have.

Meet Gyanada in Delhi

September 24, 2015

Gyanada Girls After an encouraging week of field work in Jharkhand, our team is in Delhi this week to meet partners, our kids, and make plans to expand our work and impact here in Delhi. We would love to meet Delhites who are interested in learning more about education non-profit work.

If you have ever thought about contributing to or being part of a non-profit, or if you’re passionate about girls’ education in India, come say hi to us here.

When: 26 September 2015, 5PM
Where: Kunzum Travel Cafe, Haus Khaz Village, New Delhi

RSVP here, or just show up!