Suchana has been working since 2004 to make education relevant, enjoyable and accessible to very marginalised children. Over 80% of the ELG children are from ‘adivasi’ indigenous communities of Santals and Koras, or are in the lowest status caste groups. About 60% have parents who cannot read or write. Most do not speak the language used in schools – Bengali – when they start school. Many attend government schools irregularly and have poor learning outcomes. The ELG offers creative learning opportunities in literacy, numeracy, art, craft, music, drama and sports in a programme which runs alongside the government schools. 140 children attend three times a week and are taught by paid and volunteer teachers from within the community. Younger children are taught in their first language. to read more…
- The Children’s Library
The library aims to make reading a real right for the ELG children. It now has 800 books in Bangla and English, and all 140 children regularly take books home and enjoy them with their families. We use an open-access system that offers children reading freedom, and a colour-coded shelf arrangement that even small children can negotiate. Older children play an important role in managing issues and returns.
Workshop to plan the library 2007
- The Extra-Curricula Programme
This includes weekly sports and games sessions and an annual sports day; occasional educational excursions; art exhibitions of children’s work; ad-hoc crafts workshops, and an annual show exhibiting the Santal, Kora, Bengali, Hindi and English dances; gymnastics and drama skills the children spend two months developing. The children also produce an annual newsletter on Environmental Science; embroidered their own library book bags; contributed to a publication of their writings and drawings “Kokiler Bhashir Sur” (The song of the Kokil bird’s flute), and each year they design a set of greeting cards and notebooks for sale. See some of the children’s work here
Performing a play in English
Dress rehearsal 2007
- The Health Project
Health workers discuss primary health information in a participatory format, provide some basic medicines and first aid, and link villagers in with locally existing health services. Read more…
- Partnerships with Government Primary Schools
These aim to promote co-ordination and exchange between different spheres of education work, and to avoid unwarranted duplication. Suchana supports a local primary school with help to make the vegetable garden which supplements the nutrient value of the government Midday Meal scheme; and with Saturday dance classes. Two Suchana teachers are also government school teachers, a situation which allows cross-fertilisation in these different institutions.
We plan to introduce:
A separate pre-school programme for 3-5 year olds: Suchana aims to give solid foundations in education to pre-school children who are first generation learners, using locally appropriate, child-friendly, activity-based methods we have developed over the last 5 years.
A programme of low-cost tutor groups in core subjects to support secondary school children who are at risk of dropping out
Basic computer literacy courses and practice sessions for adolescents who otherwise have no exposure to computers
A free study space with electricity, resources and mild supervision, where children can study independently, complete homework, work on their own art projects and access the library.
An expanded library programme giving access to children from more villages