Our flagship program, we started our organisation with the mandate to select and fund girls in deserving areas, to provide them with scholarships to private schools (why private schools?).
We partner with hyperlocal NGOs and non-profits with field operations, from Mumbai to Kolkata and Ranchi. Through them, we administer a fully funded scholarships which cover the cost of tuition for a year. As the cost of fees varies at a state-by-state level, the scholarship includes uniforms, admissions and stationery in some states but not in others. From time to time, we also extend additional support for other academic-related requirements on a case-by-case basis to the families.
The goal of the scholarship is to reduce the economic burden on low-income parents who may not be able to afford low-cost private school fees for all of their children, who may drop out from school (both government and private) entirely.
Between 2013 to 2016, we provided need-based scholarships to more than 100 girls from financially underprivileged backgrounds to attend affordable private schools in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Kolkata and Ranchi.
We track and update the progress of every girl child in the program through our online database which is accessible to all our donors. We work with our on-ground non-profit partners to ensure that every girl child continues schools and enjoys the process of learning every academic session.
Definition of a Gyanada Lab: a place providing opportunity for experimentation, observation or practice in a field of study.
Opus Focus is one of our most effective programs to engage children in the age group of 7 to 14 years every fortnight to create an environment that enables imagination, memory, emotion, curiosity and most important expression. For the children, storytelling tangibly expands and introduces new vocabulary, enhances listening skills, and promotes conversation skills (both one to one and on a public forum). In the past 2 years, we have conducted more than 30 storytelling sessions with about 20-25 children attending every session. We have tied up with Pratham Books, who provide us books on different topics or themes including geography, language, history, science. On World Literacy Day each year, we bring volunteers into the areas we work so they can read to kids in English, Hindi and local vernacular languages. Our work goes on every day, where each day is our own World Literacy Day: our storytelling sessions reach close 100 kids in Mumbai, and we plan to expand our reach.
The Binary Story is one of our new initiatives and we are proud to introduce our girls to a skill which has immense interest and potential. Understanding basic computer skills and programming encourages logic and systematic reasoning, communicating clearly creative thinking and working collaboratively. Through the support of volunteers and a world-class software – Scratch – they also learn mathematical concepts, computer commands and new vocabulary. We believe learning to program – a skill that many of their peers from private and urban schools do not possess – will offer them tangible benefits as well as the confidence and interest in innovation which will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Gyanada uses Scratch, a programming language designed and maintained by the Life Long Kindergarten group at MIT Media Labs. This program is available for free to teach computer coding to children between the age group of 8 to 16 years. We have collaborated with Softklas, who has curated a basic curriculum on computer coding for children using Scratch as a platform. We also collaborated with Diamond Technology Solutions who offered us space, infrastructure and amazing mentors to conduct the learning sessions.
We conducted a 6-month session from January to June 2017. The girls we graduated are now capable of following scripts and creating videos on Scratch. The goal is to create an ongoing coding program lasting a year, broken down into intensive learning, self-learning, then advanced training.