March mayhem-Marathon, Meetings and more..............


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All the action in March from marathon to roundtable conferences. From community meetings to Basic IT projects.
Newsletter cover all the monthly mayhem.

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March mayhem-Marathon, Meetings and more..............

  1. 1. CACR’s Summer Story Citizen Association of Child Rights Foreword: describes activities occurred in the month of March. Events that helped create network for CACR and events that created awareness for parents and schools Volunteer Voices: our volunteer, Dr. Sharad Wagle shares his experience of teaching Basic IT skills in BMC schools and his struggles and success Advisory Board: Ms. Lara explains in detail the RTE act and the initiatives taken by CACR to advocate for children’s right and education Core Members March Events 1/3: CACR Blog begins 3/3:CLP in chembur & DN Nagar begins 4/3:Rotary Club letter to CACR 5/3:Meeting with Mr.Astad from BPCT 6/3:TATA CMC presentation 8/3:CACR 2nd newsletter published 9/3:DNA iCan participation by BMC girl students 10/3:Mid day article 11/3:Kandivali school incident reported to AMC 13/3:Teacher suspended DNA article 14/3:DNA westcoast article about CACR in DNA iCan 15/3:SITE map added to CACR website 18/3:DMC meet about Spoken Eng. Project 19/3:Dasturwadi meeting with Arya and BPCT 20/3:Parents meeting at Petit school, Bandra 21/3:ORF conference 21/3:Meeting with Mickey Mehta’s team 23/3:Visit to Kurla for special children issues 26/3:Program at Tanklane to honor the HM and kids 29/3:CACR Budget meet and AGM 30/3: Visit to special kids home at Kurla CR and CACR and BMC students in DNA iCan Half Marathon on 9th March 4
  2. 2. Foreword March Mayhem As the financial year comes to an end in March, we are busy talking to accountants, making investments, and filling returns. Likewise at CACR we had an action packed month from Community meeting with parents to BMC school kids running marathons. Here are the highlights of all the action last month: CACR BLOG Launch –We launched our Blog that carries volunteer stories, vital information on BMC policies, current non-profit trends and inspiring stories that keep us going. Check it OUT .HERE. Thank you,  Nitin R Wadhwani  Richa Singh  Deepak Wadhwani  Varsha Hooja  Dr Sharad G. Wagle for your contribution to our Blog. In just ONE month we got 1056+ views; 1400+ FB likes & shares! Keep contributing and sharing. Our Chembur volunteers after much trouble to get functional computers and requisite permissions have finally started the computer project in Marwali Church school. Also, with the help of engineering student volunteers from VESIT could begin the project at Chembur Naka School. CACR Partners for Chhatra Adhikar Project and members of many SMCs –The Rotary club of Mumbai gave CACR a Letter of Appreciation. Check it here. We sincerely appreciate all the inputs from Rotarians about their experiences with the SMC in their schools so far. This month also saw a series of meetings with the hierarchy of the education department and Virtual classroom in- charges about rolling out the Spoken English project in a much more planned way for the coming academic year. Kids happily learn from VESIT students at Chembur Naka School Sneak Peak CACR BLOG POSTS
  3. 3. Mr.Astad Parkh from BCPT who has developed this material with TATA interactive met the Deputy Municipal Commissioner along with CACR member Mr.Mohindru Mirchandani. Another CACR member, Dr.Sharad Wagle, could get TATA CMC employees on board to volunteer for the Computer Literacy Project being run by him in Petit and Dharavi TC schools. That led to the visit to CMC office by Mr.Nitin Wadhwani to present the work CACR has been doing & plans to do in future. March 8 th saw the release of our 2 nd Newsletter –More candid & informative. Soon it became one of the “The Most Read Document on Slideshare” and they featured it in the ‘HOT ON FACEBOOK’ section. Have you missed reading it? No problem, you can read it HERE March 9 th saw major event –DNA iCan, India’s only women’s half marathon. CACR sponsored 75 municipal girl students from Petit, Chakala and Gazdhar Bandth schools to participate in the 5 km FUN RUN. It was an educational cum entertaining trip for these students to BKC. DNA Westcoast covered this story ( HERE). Our volunteer blogger also wrote a post about her experience & learning’s from DNA fun run
  4. 4. The fun got better when Fitness & Health Guru Mickey Mehta met CACR members and interacted with Municipal school girls, and later on got in touch with Mr.Nitin to organise a fitness program for Municipal school children come this June/July. Mickey Mehta with the Municipal school Students  CACR has been trying to rectify the student- parent harassment [charging illegal fees] going on in a well-known BMC’s school English medium (alias Varun International School), being run by a private trust. The issue was brought to light by Mid-day in THIS ARTICLE. CACR members are trying to help the community on this issue. In another issue when CACR members learned that a student was being harassed by her BMC school teacher, they met the parent & student as well as took the matter up with the authorities. The teacher is now suspended till further investigation. The story was covered by DNA newspaper HERE CACR members from H-west addressed a community meeting with parents at Petit school in Bandra west. During the meeting, parents were explained the various amenities and benefits meant for Municipal school kids and how participating in the SMC would be favourable for them. Mr.Nitin addresses the parents at Petit school CACR member, Dr. Richa Singh was invited as a panelist in the roundtable discussion on the topic of Innovation and Best practices in Education in Municipal schools organised by Observer Research Foundation (ORF) Mumbai. The
  5. 5. Chief Guest was Chief Secretary Mr.Saharia and DMC Mr.Dhamne among others. Details on the discussion will be given in next newsletter. Dr.Richa at the roundtable discussion As discussed in the last newsletter, CACR is trying to help in relocation of handicapped children from their far-off school in Kurla to a school closer to their homes in Sakinaka and Marol. Mr.Nitin went to the Kurla community on the 23 rd and met the parents and students. On 26 th March, a cultural function was held at TankLane school to give Sanskriti Award to students and the Hindi medium Headmaster Mr.Ajay Singh was given the Ideal teacher’s award. CACR members attended this event. CACR budget and annual meeting was held on 29 th March to finalise the new projects to be undertaken this year. We at CACR Plan to:  Conduct massive student enrolment drives with the MCGM to induct more students  Prevent further drop outs through parent and community interaction  Organise Health & Sanitation Awareness workshops in Municipal schools  Impart training in Basic IT skills to teachers so that they can mitigate the digital divide further  Create scholarship programs for students passing out of 8 th and 10 th standards so they can pursue their higher studies To successfully and efficiently manage these ideas, we need your help with funding and volunteering. Both Individual and Corporate support is welcome. We are yet to get 80G exemption, but we are sure our enthusiastic members, partners’ and friends will support us. To DONATE, find all the details on our DONATE PAGE I hope you support us and enjoy reading this newsletter. Connect with us: Website .Blog. Facebook Twitter LinkedIn. Slide share Do let us know your views on our newsletters. Eager to hear from you’ll. Cheers! Dr. Richa Singh CACR
  6. 6. Volunteer Speak Bridging the Technology Divide We live in a world today that is increasingly moving to a service economy where computer literacy and inter-personal communication are pre-requisites to landing a job (even as a shop attendant). Computer Literacy and Spoken English are two skills that will help the under privileged BMC primary school students to bridge the widening gap between themselves and the private school students and give them a chance to live a better life. It was in July, 2013 that I stepped for the first time in a BMC school to conduct my first lesson in computer literacy. I had no prior knowledge about the students, teachers, curriculum, building or equipment, hence there was bit of trepidation at what I may discover. The new, spacious building of BMC Petit School in Bandra (W) is as good as it can get as a healthy teaching environment (granted there is no playing ground). Students in uniform also help as a study enabler. Spacious computer room well furnished for a set of desktops means the infrastructure for teaching computers is there. It took a month to get to know the following things: 1. Four mediums (Urdu, Marathi, Gujrati and English), 2. Four schools within the building, 3 Friday is a half day and Saturday a full day for the Urdu medium, 4 Availability of only five desktops (but of latest vintage from Acer), And many more new things to assimilate. The students were the biggest surprise. Their enthusiasm to learn and work on a computer is infectious. It has not diminished even after eight months we have been with them – as soon as one of us voluntary teachers enters the school students from different medium and standards (4 to 7 which we cover) clamour up asking if today they can come to the computer room. We had to decide on the pedagogy to be used. IIT, Mumbai has developed software called Spoken Tutorial with funding from the HRD ministry to teach computer literacy which essentially means teaching the Libre Office suite of Writer, Spreadsheet etc. I found the IITB spoken tutorials good, but not tailored for the level of BMC school students. I had to therefore look at an alternative. CACR has various volunteer groups to teach at multiple BMC schools, mostly in H-West ward. These groups have been autonomous in selecting the pedagogy and thus there has been lot of experience with different methodologies including teaching using IITB software. I accepted the definition of computer literacy to be student's ability to use Office Suite (Open Office, Libre and Microsoft are three such suites, of which the first two are free). I ended up writing lessons for teaching at Petit and quickly wrote up a mini-book so that other volunteers could use it to teach. After four months, when I had run through the Office related lesson I felt the need for more lessons and decided that in today's age Computer Literacy (CLit) must include lessons on internet. I added four lessons in that category. By November, 2013 and after much study we finalized on the pedagogy for Spoken English (SpE) based on a set of eight animation DVDs made by Tata Interactive. Most students even up to 7 th standard, had difficulty reading English alphabet and in differentiating the use of capital letters and when to use them. The vocabulary was virtually absent which means that any word in piece of text is nothing more than a sequence of letters. Teaching CLit often became frustrating and seemed hopeless.
  7. 7. In January, 2014 a development took place which in retrospect was for the better. When our organization, Citizen Association for Child Rights (CACR) started teaching at BMC schools the desire was to be able to get volunteers who had to go to a nearby school. Since Bandra (W) was the closest to us (I and my wife Archana) living in Mahim among the initial set of schools we had been going to Petit school there. In October, CACR decided to take on additional schools, made representation to BMC's education department and got permission to teach in more BMC schools. I completely revised my approach to CLit and began with asking the students to type in simple two paragraph text in multiple repeat lessons. Not withstanding having taught up to Presentation tool at Petit, I started this approach at Petit too. By the end of January, 2014 I began to see the benefits of my new pedagogy. Students across 4 to 7 standard and across medium were on the whole were beginning to type and edit the text given to them on a piece of paper. I then got them to graduate to a more complex and longer piece of text to type and edit. Finally, I got them to save the text to a file of their own and re-open it to check. Today, at the end of current academic year and before the students at both Petit and DTC schools go on summer vacation, I have the satisfaction that the students have become computer literate even if it is only to type and edit…. Read full article: Click here ====================================================================== Partners Speak Let us act together for children… Are you on board? The Constitution (Eighty-sixth Amendment) Act, 2002 inserted Article 21-A in the Constitution of India to provide free and compulsory education of all children in the age group of 6-14 years as a Fundamental Right in a manner as the State may, by law, determine. The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009, which represents the consequential legislation envisaged under Article 21-A, means that every child has a right to full time elementary education of satisfactory and equitable quality in a formal school which satisfies certain essential norms and standards. With this, India has moved forward to a rights based framework that casts a legal obligation on the Central and State Governments to implement this fundamental child right. The Act calls for 25% reservation of seats in unaided school as well for children of economically weaker sections. And when we say all children, we must include children with special needs and differently abled children. Thus an environment of inclusive education is desired and demanded. Also, the RTE states that every school must have a School Management Committee (SMC) consisting of school administration, parents and community members to manage the school and ensure that the children receive quality education. We need to come forward and participate in the functioning of our neighborhood municipal schools! This thought was conceived and executed a few years back via the volunteer program of a leading child rights NGO. The project grew and organically emerged as a formal association of citizens. CACR – Citizen’s Association for Child Rights was registered (2013) to bring together like-minded people to work with the education department to improve the BMC school system in Mumbai. CACR has nominated many citizens representatives in the SMC of various schools. They have been playing an important role to discuss the challenges such as dropping enrolment in
  8. 8. NEW SO WHAT’S schools, quality of mid-day meal and cleanliness in schools. They have been playing a constructive role in improving the quality of education by conducting regular workshops on computer skills and introducing interactive Spoken English program. Since CACR members have been observing and helping BMC schools for many years, they are aware about the administrative and technical bottlenecks. CACR core members have even conducted SMC training programs in schools for teachers and parents. CACR members are improving the situation with some short term inputs like sharing of experiences in formal forums of the education department, RTE training, teacher training, enrolment drives and spoken English classes. This is to impart consistent and good quality teaching of English to children from the economically disadvantaged strata who are attending free vernacular medium schools. The spoken English DVDs are scientifically and attractively made by The Bombay Community Public Trust and TATA Interactive systems. CACR is also forging some useful partnerships for children. It has partnered with the Rotary Club of Mumbai to monitor for the Chhatra Adhikaar Project to monitor and improve the quality of education in schools. As a part of this program, the Rotary Club of Mumbai oversees the functioning and quality of education in BMC schools with CACR. CACR and IIT Bombay has partnered to impart Basic IT skills (CLP program) to students using spoken tutorials. IIT has developed self-learning, spoken-tutorial CD with multiple language options that can teach students computer skills such as typing and saving a text document, making an excel sheet and presentation slides, etc. The course is made for students of class 5th, 6th and 7th standards i.e. students in the age group of 10 to 13 years. CACR needs more dedicated volunteers, who can participate in implementing this national-level project as approved by the Ministry of HRD.... Read full article: Click here ====================================================================== 1. WEBSITE UPDATES: got 2 NEW sections-----SITE MAP for easy NAVIGATION And Searching for GR on midday meals? List of schools in Mumbai? RTE act? ALL AVAIABLE UNDER ONE ROOF –Where you ask? ON OUR HOME PAGE
  10. 10. ANNOUNCEMENTS:  Computer literacy project TEACHER TRAINING FOR H-WEST on APRIL 11, 12 AND 17TH By Dr.Wagle. TELL YOU School Headmaster.  Student Enrolment drives Handbills rough copy created and given to department for approval.  ENROL YOURSELF FOR THE SMC IN YOUR NEAREST School ===================================================================== STAY TUNED FOR MORE NEXT MONTH…..  Social plays to spread awareness on municipal education planned  Content for virtual classroom –exploring options! Got SOME ideas? write to us here  MORE PROJECTS ANNOUNCED FOR NEXT YEAR  Donate your MONEY and TIME to CACR initiatives. HERE _____________________________________________________________ THAT’S IT FOR NOW Thank you all for contributing to the Newsletter—Dr. Sharad Wagle and Lara Shankar. I hope our readers find this edition even better than the last one. NOTE: All letters in BLUE are hyperlinks which will help you to view the content/photos in detail when you CLICK on them **If you think our newsletter shouldn’t be in your inbox. Please CLICK HERE to unsubscribe. ** Best wishes, Richa Singh & Zinal Shah CACR Editorial team
  11. 11. Citizens Association for Child Rights or CONNE CT WITH US! Mr. Nitin R Wadhwani (Founder & Director) Nitin is a Science graduate from Mumbai, with a Diploma in Radio Electronics. He has Anchored Mumbaiites for Child Rights (M4CR), a CRY initiative, for almost 5 years, before proceeding to establish CACR, a NGO registered as a Section 25, Not for Profit Company. From time to time he keeps on interacting with concerned authorities in the Education Department for overall improvement in functioning and quality education in Government Schools for underprivileged children. Nitin Says: I strongly believe in creating awareness and in citizens’ participation on child rights issues with focus on ensuring free, quality and compulsory education for all children. Mrs. Vidya Vaidya (Director) Vidya is an Artist and Social activist. She is an Alumnus of the Sir J.J. School of Fine Art, Mumbai and has had a number of exhibitions in Mumbai and other cities. She is the Trustee and Hon. Secretary of the 'H (W) Ward Citizens' Federation' and the 'Gen. A. K. Vaidya Nagar Rahivasi Sangh' of Bandra Reclamation. Vidya Says: Public involvement and child rights advocacy can aid to improve the quality of education in schools Mr. Deepak Wadhwani (Director) Deepak is a Commerce Graduate and a businessman in the trading industry. He hails from Amil Community (Hyderabad Sind). He has been associated with NGO’s and ALMS’s such as AGNI and ALMANAC contribute to various civic social issues for the past 3 years and also has worked earlier as a CRY volunteer. Deepak Says: Having met like-minded volunteers, now with Citizens Association for Child Rights, I want to ensure improved functioning and quality of education in BMC schools. Dr. Richa Singh (Head– Projects & Branding) From early days Richa (Bachelors in Dental Surgery) was keen to volunteer and make a difference in the fields of education and health care. She has also obtained a professional diploma in management from Thadomal Shahani trust, Mumbai and holds a certificate in Management Principles from ILM, UK. Richa Says: CACR is a citizens’ movement to reclaim our government schools that are fast vanishing due to decrease in student enrolment and a decline in quality of education." Core Members