Making a Difference

NGO – School Collaboration in a Bangalore Slum

As you walk through the narrow lanes of Rajendranagara slum, in Koramangala, you may walk past this building and not even notice that it houses a school. The English-medium Greenland Public School was set up in a decade or so ago by an engineering graduate, Ms. Kowser Zehra. The school, which is from nursery till the 10th standard, supports about 250 children, mostly from economically very poor homes.
Over the years, the school’s management has been struggling to provide quality education to the children since about half of the parents are in no position to pay fees. The school faces many other challenges, from limited infrastructure to need for more adequate staff and teacher training.
Headed by Venkatraman Iyer, the Bangalore based NGO Swabhimaan has been working in the Rajendranagara, LR Nagar, and Neelsandra neighbourhoods of Bangalore. It provides a range of services, including education, healthcare, microfinance, and food and clothes distribution. This year, Swabhimaan decided to adopt Greenland Public School to help it improve. Along with the school management, it drew up plans to work at various levels to transform the quality of education. In just a month, the school was provided with four additional classrooms. It facilitated the repair and refurbishing of walls. It helped identify and invest in a good number of trained and qualified teachers to augment the staff. An administrator was hired. Teachers were enrolled for training and were offered incentives based on performance.
The school had no playground, because of which the children had never participated in any sports. “We started football each morning, and also started a community computer centre to help these kids learn computers and bring science programs and value training to the school”, says Venkatraman.
According to Venkatraman, there is suddenly a spurt in energy that is visible both among teachers and students. The children’s parents are happy with the new excitement in their kids who now seem eager to come to school. “Just in three months, improvements are visible. The goal is to create a model school in the community that other schools can emulate,” Venkatraman explains.
(For more details about Swabhimaan, see https://swabhimaanweb.wordpress.com/
If you’d like to help in the work of Swabhimaan, you can contact Venkatraman Iyer on [email protected])

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