March mayhem-Marathon, Meetings and more..............
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
1/3: CACR Blog begins
3/3:CLP in chembur & DN
4/3:Rotary Club letter to
5/3:Meeting with Mr.Astad
8/3:CACR 2nd newsletter
participation by BMC girl
10/3:Mid day article
incident reported to AMC
article about CACR in
15/3:SITE map added to
18/3:DMC meet about
Spoken Eng. Project
with Arya and BPCT
20/3:Parents meeting at
Petit school, Bandra
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
30/3: Visit to special kids
home at Kurla
CR and CACR and BMC students in DNA iCan Half Marathon on 9th March
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.
Nitin R Wadhwani
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
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.
saw the release of our 2
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
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
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
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
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
and met the parents and students.
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
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
standards so they can pursue their higher
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
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.
Dr. Richa Singh
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
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.
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
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
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
Read full article: Click here
1. WEBSITE UPDATES: www.ngocacr.com got 2 NEW sections-----SITE MAP for easy
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
2. CACR’S COMPUTER LITERACY PROJECT BENEFITS 1100+ STUDENTS IN 11 BMC
Computer literacy project TEACHER TRAINING FOR
H-WEST on APRIL 11, 12 AND 17TH
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
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
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
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
Richa Singh & Zinal Shah
CACR Editorial team
Citizens Association for Child Rights
www.ngocacr.com or www.cacr.in
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
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
She is the Trustee and Hon. Secretary of the 'H (W) Ward Citizens'
Federation' and the 'Gen. A. K. Vaidya Nagar Rahivasi Sangh' of
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 &
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."