The first community Learning Center was established in the year 2005. The authenticity of our Learning Center model was reiterated when many communities and schools (both near and far off), approached us to establish similar Learning Centers in their locality. Children who started with us at age as young as 6, are now young adults, some of whom are interning and working with us. While some have gained specialization in Taekwon-do, some have moved on to setting up own businesses. Many are pursuing education in mainstream colleges and have taken up various vocational courses. These first generation change agents of communities have created a ripple effect of empowering more children. We have also witnessed a trend in the communities that the dropout rate of school children has reduced.
Government schools in India are mired with many institutional failings. Teachers are under-motivated, syllabi are overstretched and rigid, pedagogy is teacher centered and insensitive to the needs of children, and therefore dropout rates are alarmingly high. Our interaction with children alerted us to the fact that change needed to be brought about within these schools. Our approach was to collaborate with government school teachers to bring about a paradigm shift in the way education is being imparted to children. The shared visioning done by Makkala Jagriti along with the government school teachers has given scope for influencing the teachers to adapt to child-centric approach in their classrooms.
The Government has set up boy’s and girl’s homes for runaway and orphan children. Children come from difficult family and social situations, having bitter experiences in life. Since they are exposed to harsh realities at a tender age these children have immense fear and anxiety issues. Makkala Jagriti in 2007 established a Learning Center at the boy’s shelter home, a platform for them to express and learn in an open environment which otherwise is far from their reach to experience. With the success of our approach and model with boy’s home, on much demand we set a Learning Center at the girl’s home too. Here for however short period children stay we create a learning space for them to overcome their inner conflicts and dilemma, rebuild trust and self confidence and also to realize their potentials, thereby re-integrating them to society with a newer perspective of self and others.