|Photograph: Rohit Gautam
Name: Pearson Foundation
Domain: Campaign 'Support My School' (SMS) sets up libraries in govt. schools. The campaign was created by NDTV and Coca-Cola in association with NGOs UN-Habitat, CAF and Sulabh International.
Date of incorporation/ date of beginning of activities: 2011
No. of beneficiaries: The Campaign plans to reach out to a 103 schools benefitting approximately 50,000 students.
Infrastructure: Physical component is institute specific – books are provided by the company
Investment: A fund of Rs. 1 crore has been allocated by Pearson Foundation for the campaign.
Sheela, Head Mistress of Khewra School, Sonepat feels blessed to receive basic facilities for her students. Now children will attend school regularly, she says, adding; “It will inculcate a school-going habit among children. Our girls will feel secure and safe.” She is referring to facilities received in ‘Support My School campaign’, run by Pearson Foundation, a global conglomerate.
Setting up libraries
Pearson Foundation (PF), collaborates with schools for setting up libraries. As on date 25 libraries have been set up in government schools. Schools in rural areas such as Chawani, Bilkheriya, Padaria and others in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, schools in Deepalpur, Jatjoshi villages of Sonepat, Haryana receive facilities. The Foundation intends to reach out to others States such as West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal, Karnataka among others. “Work on setting up libraries is almost complete in three clusters; Ahmadabad, Bhopal and Sonepat,” says Mark Nieker, President and CEO of PF.
The Foundation works in partnership with Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) India. Using local knowledge expertise through partnership with CAF India and NGO Room to Read, PF decides on the titles to be stocked. The books are in Hindi, English and other regional languages. A few titles include: Ramayana, Our Universe, Stories of Tenali Ram, Ugly Duckling, Meet the Glorious Scientist and a host of others. About 70 percent of the titles are in regional languages so that students can derive maximum benefit. Along with books, atlas and dictionaries are also provided. The books are of Indian authors published by NCERT, CBT, NBT and Tulika among others. PF aims to reach out to 100 schools and extend support to about 50,000 students through the campaign.
|A school room gets completely transformed with books
Installing basic facilities
Of the six components being carried out under Support My School campaign, three components immediately benefit students: improved sports facilities, access to clean water and improved sanitation facilities. In some schools, basket ball courts and badminton courts have been set up whereas in others, swings or indoor games are provided. Water filters, bore wells and submersible motors have been installed and piping and plumbing have been provided.
For sanitation, many schools have followed the twin-pit Sulabh model. Separate toilets have been provided for boys and girls along with hand wash facilities to ensure hygiene. Yagyadatt Arya, principal of government school, Jhundpur, Sonepat says that nearly 100 new children joined school after the basic facilities were made available.
“Attendance of children has also increased ever since,” she says. Toilet facility, especially for girls, which was not present earlier, has been a welcome change. The innovative campaign aims to provide better classrooms, stock libraries well and improve teacher training. “Helping teachers and students is the key to improve the fortunes for everyone in rural communities,” Nieker maintains.
On the reform map: Teacher Training
From April onwards, PF is gearing up for teachers’ training programme, with CAF India’s support. It will target 103 schools in 11 States, through 13 NGO partners. It has allocated funds to the tune of Rs one crore for Support My School campaign.
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