A highlight of the Hunar Ghar School calendar, is the annual inter-school sports tournament, organised by our partner, Rajasthan Bal Kalyan Samiti, and hosted at Hunar Ghar School. This February, twenty schools participated, with over 600 children taking part in events, cheered on by their peers and community members.
Providing Primary Education
We are grateful to the Gregory Mills Foundation for its support of the Hunar Ghar Inter-School Sports Tournament. It is a fantastic opportunity for children to display their talents, demonstrate teamwork, make new friends and develop their sportsmanship.
Hunar Ghar Library Development
A local artist has decorated the library with vibrant artwork, creating an even more inspiring space to read and study in. Regular reading sessions for all classes remain a popular part of the school timetable and our Hindi reading specialist, Pushpa, has been using the new paintings as inspiration for creating stories for the children. Older students are able to use the library in their free time, and many are choosing to come and read the growing collection of books and newspapers available.
Our Hindi and English reading specialists recently visited Delhi, for some training arranged by our expert partner Let’s Open a Book, to help them review how to further develop use of the library.
Additional training has been provided to all Hunar Ghar staff to enable them to use Story Weaver, a digital resource for sharing stories with children. A trainer from educational NGO Pratham Books demonstrated how teachers can use this resource and find stories that match children’s interests and reading levels.
National Science Day
To mark National Science Day on 28th February, Hunar Ghar students created amazing models to share what they have learnt about a variety of topics. They presented information to invited guests. Some students were taken to a Science Exhibition Fair in Kotra, a town about 40 minutes away from Bakhel.
Hunar Ghar students continue to receive two nutritious meals a day to aid healthy growth and development. The school menu always includes protein, fresh fruit and vegetables, all of which are often lacking in children’s diets at home. We are very grateful to all funders who donate to support our school meals programme, filling empty tummies is vital to good health and good learning.
The Hunar Ghar kitchen has also been freshly decorated and recently Class 4 students had an English lesson in the kitchen learning vocabulary and discussing the different functions of a kitchen. It is certainly a much bigger and brighter food preparation and cooking space than students are used to seeing at home. Most families in Bakhel cook indoors over an open fire.
Community Health Outreach Work
Improving Child Health
The RBKS health team at Hunar Ghar have been making sure that all children attending Balwadi/pre-school at Hunar Ghar have received polio drops. This is part of our health programme which aims to ensure that all Hunar Ghar students receive all recommended vaccinations.
Maternal and Infant Healthcare and Support
The team continues to visit pregnant women and new mothers in the community to provide health advice and support. Our new initiative to share information through videos as part of these visits is going well. Whole families are taking an interest in the films, and they are proving to be a great way of raising more awareness of healthy behaviours and health recommendations and entitlements.
Improving Secondary Education
Hunar Ghar Graduates
There are fifty students who have completed their primary education at Hunar Ghar and who have decided to continue their studies at secondary level. These students attend different secondary schools, including some which lack teachers with specialist subject knowledge.
During the December holidays, former Hunar Ghar students, now studying in Class 9 and Class 10, were invited to attend coaching sessions at Hunar Ghar. These sessions took place over ten days and focused on Science, Maths, English and Sanskrit. The sessions were led by Hunar Ghar staff and the aim was to help bridge knowledge gaps and to help Class 10 students in particular to prepare for their board exams. (Students must pass these exams in order to continue their secondary education.)
Students who participated in these coaching sessions were very positive about them and the support they provided.
Exploring Tertiary Options
This year, some of the very first Hunar Ghar students, who walked through the doors of the school when it opened in 2007, will complete their secondary education. All are keen to continue studying and they are finding out about different opportunities available to them. Recently they visited an Industrial Training Institute in Jhadol, run by our partner RBKS, to learn about vocational training courses.
We aim to improve the quality of education provided by two government secondary schools near Hunar Ghar, Mandwa and Jhed Secondary Schools, through a carefully designed programme of interventions delivered by our partner Kshamtalaya. Additional teachers, selected and mentored by Kshamtalaya, have been placed in these schools and work closely with students, staff and community members.
As a result of their efforts, regular school attendance has significantly increased over the past few months. Early morning and after school support sessions are also proving popular. These sessions, which are tailored to students needs, were initially run by the Kshamtalaya team. We are delighted that now some of the government teachers have asked to be involved and are jointly planning and providing the additional support. This co-working is strengthening the relationships between all the teaching staff and enabling teachers to learn from one another.
Peer to peer learning amongst students is also encouraged and students are given the opportunity within the classroom to interact with one another to develop their knowledge and understanding.
We have recently received several grants to support specific projects, as well as some unrestricted funding, which we will use where the need is greatest. We are, as ever, extremely grateful for all donations which enable us to transform lives in and around Bakhel.
We have just published our 2018/19 Annual Report, which shares the difference we were able to make in 2018/19 as a result of the generosity of all our incredible supporters. Do have a look to see what we have achieved together.