How we grew
Suchana began almost by accident. Early in 2004, Kirsty Milward and Rahul Bose, who came to live in the area in 2001, set out to do some pre-school activities with their own young children and interested others. The most interested of the others turned out to be primary aged Santal children from the immediate neighbouring village who regularly attended the once-a-week sessions. Their literacy levels were very poor despite being enrolled in primary school, but their regular attendance at these sessions seemed like a clear opportunity to address this. So Suchana’s first teacher, Bhabini Baski, was employed and the Early Learning Group was born.
With the advice of the primary school teacher, more children were introduced to the developing programme through 2004 and 2005, and a series of meetings were held with parents to establish communication, objectives and a governance structure. In June 2005, a 14 member village-based Executive Committee was established and Suchana was formally registered as a Society.
In 2005, the Health Project was started in response to a series of unnecessary deaths and health crises which clearly suggested a need for some co-ordinated and sensitive health inputs.
The Early Learning Group continued to grow throughout 2006 and 2007 to its current level of 140 children. A second weekly session was introduced, and a weekly sports/games afternoon. During this period, the library was also initiated and a system which would make it work for the children was gradually developed. Suchana’s curriculum and teaching methods were articulated, discussed, and put into practice.