The social strata in our country decides whether a doctor’s son will become a doctor, or whether a Taxi driver’s son will follow in his father’s footsteps. Although on one hand we can witness technology progressing, on the other, the benefits that our education system reaps out of that progress, is still stagnant. Children still hate the boring atmosphere in the classroom, kids still anxiously await a break, students still follow the method of rote learning, and the books have simply kept on becoming heavier year-by-year.
Where I am coming from is to generate a rough idea of how our education system hinders the over-all personality development of our generation next. No doubt we have sports and extra-curriculum activities, but simultaneously, exams have acquired the status of pressure peaks, and teachers are the villains born to squeeze all the happiness out of a student’s life.
What’s worse is that when we say that a child is studying in an English medium school, how many of us are actually aware about the statistics of how many kids can speak spectacular and fluent English or how many kids have dropped out in the very next month of enrolling?
Countering all this, is an upcoming ‘youth’ organization that goes by the name – The Candle Project (TCP). Based in Mumbai, this is a new volunteer based organization, which provides experiential learning to children from low income/slum communities. With a team of 43 volunteers, TCP right now conducts classes of three hours each over the weekends at the Children Welfare Centre High School, Versova; and definitely looks forward to expand with time.
The Candle Project aims – “at creating a palpable strong hold in society for becoming the new wave of leadership and change.” Apart from merely building the confidence levels of the kids, TCP with a varied accumulation of volunteers, provides exposure to the real world, a place where after all the possible degrees that one can acquire – say graduation, PG, PhD. – one still has to look for a job to survive.
Regular classroom academics syllabus, proper English Grammar… But what’s different is the atmosphere in the class. Firstly – no uniforms! Secondly no home work! The volunteers are no professional teachers; they have simply taken it upon themselves to make the change that they want to see. Ranging from college students, to MBA’s, lawyers, engineers, the volunteers are all from varied backgrounds who have been provided teacher’s trainings prior to beginning their classes; and they thus bring in various perspectives to creating new fun ways of teaching and learning.
If the age group of the kids is from 5-12yrs than the youngest volunteer in the organization is 14yr old! The kids have been divided into three different levels – Beginners (OB), Level 1 – Moderate and Level 2 – Advanced. Based upon their ability to understand, grasp, retain and reproduce, the kids have been allotted volunteers at the ratio of 2:1 for extra care and personal attention. There is English, and there is Vocational (Computer’s) There is also art and there’s also a lot of masti!
Currently in its second month of execution, TCP had enrolled 73 kids from the nearby slum communities. The best part, the kids learn concepts that will help them in application of knowledge in future and besides, there are plenty of fun interactive games played in class. Basically, TCP wishes to provide a platform for the children to be street smart, computer-savy and adequately aware of the opportunities that technology can provide. Because… that is what the future beholds and because…IT MATTERS!
The journey has only begun, and if you wish to be a part of this new revolution, be it donations (stationary, books, workshops, collaboration to spread awareness), contact The Candle Project at…
WEBSITE : www.thecandleproject.org
FACEBOOK PAGE : www.facebook.com/candleproject