Our pursuit of fulfilment and success demands long weeks of extremely busy work time table, with Saturday and Sunday being the only time of leisure, before the next ‘Monday Morning Blues’. Most of us never really want to waste a single moment in the weekend doing any job except for sleeping and ordering food. But, there is group of college students in Andhra Pradesh, who are utilizing their weekends to bring about a grin at the faces of young children, fostering creativity and nurturing desires. Rajesh Mummaneni, one of the foremost members of this group, observed that the manner of presenting education, which in formal terms is called pedagogy, in government faculties isn’t enough for an overall improvement of the kids. And from there emanated the concept of ‘SAAKSHAR’. Established in December 2016, its pilot mission was launched in a mimimal number of five schools across Vijayanagaram and Visakhapatnam with a goal of enhancing the verbal exchange competencies (including spoken English and Telugu) of the students through methods of interactive studying.
Over the course of five months, under Saakshar, several programmes have been initiated for a total of almost 250 school students. One such programme, referred to as ‘fulfil a want’, has a concept similar to the “pleasure of giving” week wherein they are trying to understand the dream of a child and trying their best to fulfil it. As Rajesh places it, “it is not possible for us to fulfil all their wishes, but why not fulfil at least one wish if it motivates them to aspire and dream.” Through different programmes, the Saakshar group tried to redesign the school rooms by using colourful and informative charts at the otherwise stupid partitions of the classrooms. Rajesh realised it had indeed been the right selection, when he saw the students stepping into their newly decorated classrooms and trying to pronounce phrases from the posters with a new experience of hobby reflecting in their eyes. ‘Donation camp’ programmes have also been conducted through which study materials and stationery had been donated to all the needy and deserving children.
Though Saakshar was initiated with the aim of improving the abilities in scholastic and co-scholastic areas of primary school students, they have also put in efforts for helping the secondary students. Saakshar has launched a programme on ‘Career alternatives and Counselling’. For this, a 15 day summer time camp was organized for the secondary grade students to ensure that they have sound knowledge about the numerous career opportunities that they can uptake after a minimum level of education.. Under the umbrella of a better technical knowledge in electronic systems, they organized something named as ‘PC Literacy’. The students were taught quite a few subjects in this, starting from primary computer operations to MS office and simple programming of the languages like BASIC, C, C++, etc. Their weekly sessions, which last for 2 hours, are normally split into sessions, each comprising of one hour, with youngsters being taught a specific concept in the first half of and the second one half of stressing upon their spoken language abilities.
The technique and method to interact with the students maintain evolving from narrating moral stories to teaching them spellings of common words via beginner’s crossword puzzles. Volunteers for Saakshar, as they should be known as ‘change makers’, have undergone a unique adventure of their very own as they strived to innovate new strategies to percentage their expertise.. A few of them were very skeptical about their roles and responsibilities in the beginning, but later on ended up rediscovering their own hidden potentials and capabilities. Thirty-five volunteers from Andhra Pradesh have been actively engaged in the pilot project.
In an attempt to expand the reach of ‘Saakshar’ to all the government funded schools all throughout India, the crew now seems forward to operating with ‘change makers’ from various regions of the country and forming viable alliances with other compatible establishments. Together, they can be a reservoir of all creative ideas which would in turn result in enriching the creativity in the minds of the students.