We are very proud to have been recently shortlisted for a Social Impact Award at the 2019 Asian Voice Charity Awards. We shared this two minute video at the awards ceremony to provide an overview of the impact of our projects in Bakhel. We are grateful to our incredible partners and supporters who enable us to bring about changes in the lives of all our beneficiaries, transforming their futures and the future of their community.
Our mission is to ensure integrated provision of education, healthcare and community development services in Bakhel, and to support improvements to secondary educational provision in nearby schools. We work in close partnership with local expert organisations to successfully achieve this and to comply with Indian legislation.
Our ultimate aim is to enable socio-economic transformation in Bakhel and the surrounding area. This is a long-term goal. Change does not happen overnight. However, change is happening. This is clear every time a child crosses the threshold of Hunar Ghar, to come to school, to learn, to eat, to have a health check, to discover what the future could hold for them.
Onward Enrolment in Secondary Education
As the academic year at Hunar Ghar ends, farewell celebrations have taken place with final year students. However, they remain in close contact with school staff. The Hunar Ghar head teacher, Ajeet Sangia, and other staff members have held individual meetings with all students and their parents to discuss their plans and preferences.
We are delighted that, for the fourth year in a row, nearly all the students are choosing to continue their studies at secondary level. Many of this year’s students have been inspired by previous Hunar Ghar graduates who are studying at secondary school. Secondary education is the next step in these children’s journeys to become independent adults with skills and qualifications which will enable them to make choices about their futures.
Our partner, Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti (RBKS) has arranged for students and their parents to visit several different secondary schools so they can see what their learning and residential environments are like.
Our team members are compiling mini prospectuses about schools in the area so that the children and their families have as much information as possible to aid their decision-making.
Providing Appropriate Support
We have carried out a survey to find out more about final year students’ attitudes towards secondary education and further studies. We are analysing the results at the moment. We want to improve our understanding of influencing factors and people in students’ lives, and gain more insight into their future aspirations and visions of where they may live, study and work.
This data gathering is an important part of our overall evidence-based and consultive approach. By engaging with our beneficiaries, and finding out more about their circumstances and wishes, our team can provide support and information to meet their needs.
Developing the Aspirations of Older Students
We are increasingly focusing on how to support older students at Hunar Ghar to reflect on their future options and pathways.
This March, the team organised the first ever Careers Week at Hunar Ghar. This provided students with opportunities to find out about a range of different professions and occupations.
Guest speakers ranged from teachers to healthcare workers, elected community leaders to small business owners. All shared details of their work, qualifications and training. The talks helped students understand the wider context of why attending school and studying is important.
Monitoring Students’ Health
As well as supporting students with their personal growth and learning journeys, our team also keeps a close eye on students’ physical and mental health. This month, all Hunar Ghar staff went on a comprehensive training course organised by our partner, the Global Hospital and Research Centre. The training covered: how to identify unwell children and how to treat them at school; basic life support (cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR training); understanding mental wellness and behavioural changes; first aid and TB control.
In May, a dental camp took place at Hunar Ghar so that students could have an oral health check. Awareness of the importance of oral hygiene within the community is growing. It is a big focus point at school when the children learn about health and hygiene.
Women’s Self-Help Groups
Our health and community team support the running of three women’s self-help groups in Bakhel. In April, RBKS arranged for women from the groups to meet some other women’s self-help groups which are part of the National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM), a government of India initiative to support women in rural communities to increase household income and to have improved access to financial services. The Bakhel groups were inspired by what they learnt. It may be possible in future for them to join the NRLM scheme.
Our partner, Kshamtalaya, continues to work closely with a number of schools in the administrative area where Hunar Ghar is located, including two secondary schools, Jhed and Mandwa, where we are supporting the placement of additional teaching staff. Over the past few months, Kshamtalaya team members have been strengthening their relationships with school leadership teams and local community leaders.
Kshamtalaya has been offered use of community spaces as places where young people can gather outside of school hours to study, to use a laptop or to practice new creative skills. It is becoming a habit for young people to spend time at these spaces, supported by Kshamtalaya team members.
Kshamtalaya is capitalising on the growing engagement of young people and community members and leaders. In March, a second wave of learning festivals took place. This time, the focus was on encouraging children, teachers and community members to share ideas about how to improve their local government schools, including Jhed and Mandwa Secondary Schools.
We are very grateful to a growing number of trusts and foundations who are supporting our work. These include a grant to support children to attend Hunar Ghar from The Carmela and Ronnie Pignatelli Foundation.
In April, new school uniforms were distributed to students at Hunar Ghar. For many children, their school clothes are their only clothes, so they suffer a great deal of wear and tear. We are very grateful to the Gilchrist Educational Trust for a grant which covered the cost of new uniforms for all those in need of new items.
Over the past few months, we have also been grateful to a team of fundraisers from Eton College, who are raising funds on our behalf, as well as many other individual donors, who have chosen to support our work.
We are very grateful for each and every donation. These funds enable us to continue to transform lives in Bakhel through our projects and partnerships.