Category Archives: Tuition Centers

Poonjeri Mettu Street Tuition Center receives a free laptop

The teacher of the Cenetr receivs the laptop for our secretary Gaja

The teacher of the Center receiving the laptop for our secretary Gaja

We are continuing with our project to supply each Tuition Center with a laptop that teachers can use to introduce children to computers. Poonjeri is the sixth out of the eight Centers which now have a laptop, all of which have been donated from friends who bought a new one.

The Mettu Street is one of the four Poonjeri Centers welcoming children from the dalit area of the village. These are mainly younger children from first to fifth grade, even though occasional older children from the surrounding re still allowed in.

Suganya, one of our ex students, teaches here. She is a very poor girl whom we supported in her studies for three years with a scholarship. She is studying for a bachelor’s degree in business studies. She now attends the second year of the two year integration correspondence course to earn her.

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Students having their first lesson

Our Tuition Centers teach computer science (if we want to call it that, with a touch of optimism!) on Saturdays, the day of the week dedicated to recreational activities, game playing and creativity (singing, dancing, drawing). Teachers can however decide independently for their classes how much time to set apart for computer studies; this depends on their own experience levels, unfortunately often quite limited. But all these children have never even seen a computer in their lives and often don’t even know what one is, so for the time being our teachers’ knowledge is enough.

We are considering the possibility of planning a computer course for our teachers and a small computer school for our older students in the near future.

And please, if you have any used desktop computers or laptops to give away, please let us know!

Malar Trust Students’ Motivation Camp

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Career Guidance Meeting – May 2nd, 2015

After our first experiment in 2014, we decided to organize another Motivation Camp for our afterschool students last week.

Motivation Camps are rather common in India; however, during these events, students listen to “experts” in the academic world such as school presidents and local politicians who will, for a small sum of money, go on an on for hours about how important and fun studying is, without giving any useful and practical information and without interacting with the students.

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Our managining trustee, Mani Rupakanthan, welcomming the Manamathi panjayath leader

During this event the Malar Trust staff gave an overview of all of the University’s fields of study, relating them to specific subjects learned in school. Moreover, all state sponsored financial aids available for underpriviledged students were illustrated. This is very important especially for the poorer families with which we work, given that they are often unaware of such aids.

Students who attended our Motivation Camp are both our 11th or 12th grade afterschool students who will need to decide within a couple of months on how and if to continue their studies as well as 8th to 11th graders. A few university students sponsored by Malar Trust grants also attended, talking about their experience and answering questions from the younger students.

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Even if this seems like a small, unimportant event, these kids have a great need for direction. Blind ambition and ignorance often lead parents to sink deep in debt in order to enroll medicore students in private colleges to study engineering. Students who hate math enroll in the academically demanding group 1 (math, physics, biology) high school in hope of gaining admission to engineering or medicine. All of this happens in complete ignorance of all the alternatives offered by the vast number of faculties of the Indian University.

Challenging new programme launched in Panjartheerthi

After eight months since we opened the Tuition Center with Save International, for Irula and Dalit children of Panjartheerthi, we now need  to improve children attendance at school: to convince the about 30 children to go to school regularly is the aim of this project.
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Group picture of Panjartheerthi Irula students

We recently met the Head Teacher of the local school and she is desperate to improve attendance. In order to keep the school open she needs at least 20 children but despite the 35 children enrolled this year (31 of which are Irula), there are only very few children at school when there is a government inspection. She says the children do not come school, often she goes to look for them around the village in the morning. She finds that the children are often not clean and are hungry, sometime away with their parent when they find jobs away from the village. Conditions in the village are very basic.

It is interesting that most of the children do come to the existing Tuition Center regularly, perhaps this is because of the daily snack we offer? What else we can offer to encourage better school attendance and improve the lives of these children and their families?

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Children having breakfast before going to school

We thought that if we offer a place where children can come in the morning, get washed, have clean school uniform and a good breakfast, this may help.  Obviously this service will be for the children who do really go to school.  We met with the families, parents and children and they agreed to try this service.

Luckily we soon found a small house to rent very near the Irula village, with a kitchen, bathroom, store room and a small terrace in front of the house where the children can sit and eat. We hired two young women from the same community, one to cook and the other will help the children to wash and dress, both will wash all the school uniforms.

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Children go to school after breakfast

On November 17th we started with 26 children attending the first day.  After two weeks the project is a great success.  The Head Teacher can hardly believe such a quick change to school attendance.

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The Tuition class in the afternoon

Also because the house is so close to the village we decided to use it to run the afternoon tuition session.  We hired a new teacher, Mrs Rajeshwari, and left the other teacher, Megala, to continue with the Dallit children at the other building. The Head teacher, cook, other helper and tuition teacher will work together as a team to provide the service and check the attendance at breakfast and afternoon tuition also match with the daily attendance at school.  Our hope is that this service for school children will greatly improve the lives of the families in the Irula community and help them continue to develop new opportunities.

 

MTI runs a new Tuition Center at Poonjeri Masima Nagar

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To the Tuition attend about 30 children

From the beginning of October MTI runs a new Tuition Center in the Irula Community of Poonjeri Masima Nagar.

The Tuition Center had been operating for years by a local association that for unknown reasons stopped funding the project and paying for the teacher salary. The place remained closed for months until the local community, a group of Irula families living in the neighborhood of Poonjeri, asked MTI to include their Center within its projects.

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Poonjeri, Masima Nagar Tuition Center

Masima Nagar so becomes our fourth Tuition Center in Poonjeri, after the two dalit Centers inTKM Street and Mettu Street and the Irula Education Center on the ECR but the small building is not enough to accommodate the over 30 children that attend, especially during the rainy season

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Paula and Frederik Paula Weerkamp attending the inauguration

At the inauguration, where two tourists attended, we distributed notebooks, pen and pencils. A new teacher has been appointed, she is the daughter of a woman that we already know, she received a small loan from us to develop her small business, 15.000 rupees that she used to buy a second hand weel cart to sell fruits and vegatables on the road.

About 30 Irula children will benefit from the project.

Tuition school for Irula children of Panjartheerthi

No interest, poor attendance at school and very low marks is the performance of the about 30 Irula kids attending the governmement primary school of Panjartheerthi and secondary school of Manamathi.

Panjartheerthi is a very small village near Manamathi, very isolated, no shops, no public transport facilities and no proper road connecting the village to the outside world.

In the village there is a small government primary school and a balwadi but the most of kids now attend the Manamathi private English Medium that offer school bus facilities at reasonable price. For the others, if they wish to continue to go to school after 5th class, they are forced to walk 5 kilometers to the Manamathi secondary school unless the family can affor a bycicle.

The government primary school was about to close three years ago, as the number of chldren was not enough to justify the cost of a teacher, when the local Comunist Party decided to offer a small plot of land to a bunch of Irula families rescued from slavery. Now are the children of these families to keep the primary school alive: 31 kids out of 35 are Irula. But is very difficult to convince these children to go to school regularly.

To offer the kids a little support, we decided to open a Tuition center for them. we found the place and the teacher and also organized a afternoon snack to every child that attend the Tuition.

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The Panjartheerthi Community Hall built by Save Int’l

The Tuition is run in collaboration with  the American Association Save Int’l that offered Malar Trust to share a place in the village Community Hall, where a Tuition school for Dalit children is already on going. Malar Trust will pay for one extra teacher and a daily snack to all the children (a total of about 50 between Irula and Dalit)