community schools

Project Abrazos – Road to a Sustainable Future!

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community schoolIt has been more than 4 months since our crowdfunding campaign ended.

When we started our crowdfunding campaign, we did not expect that we would receive any response from the audience but imagine our surprise when we received our donations.

We were overwhelmed, and honestly, this was a morale booster, not only for us but for the school as well.

Over the past 4 months, there have been several infrastructural reforms in the school. Toilets have been constructed, along with improving the current library through our partnership with Goonj.community schools

The children have also been participating in several events! During one such event, the children won the hearts of the audience.

Among the audience were a group of doctors who were moved so much by their performance, that they arranged a visit to the school and provided a free, full-body checkup for everyone within the locality!

We are also implementing an experimental pedagogy to improve the quality of education for the children. This involves creating a teacher-less environment.

Over the coming weeks, we will be fully integrating our pedagogy and hopefully, increase the quality of education within the school.

We made a promise that we will aid the school in the coming years, and we are going to uphold the promise that we have made, although this is just a start, we’d like to thank you for joining us on our journey!

Special thanks to our donors,

Jacob Joseph
Sanjeev Dubey
Silambarasan B
Omanshi Dwivedi
Saurabh
Harshad
Varun Singh
Renu
Aashi Srivastava
Prerna Singh
Priyanshu Pandey
Ashish Pratap
Shaifali Srivastava
Subodhika Sharma
Shalini Singh
Priya Baranwal
Sagar
Sachin Kumar
Dishant Kanwal
Archit Singh
Astha Awasthi
Lakshay Juneja
Anurag
Vishal Sengar
Dinah Schmechel
Yashvardhan
Hitesh
Jaya Veetal
Abhishek
Kirti

 

Reforming the Reforms, Crowdfunding Campaign Update.

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It was in December of 2017 when we adopted a community school belonging to one of the most impoverished localities of Lucknow. The school belongs to a community where child labour runs rampant and jobs like manual scavenging are forced upon the children at a very young age. The school provides education to over 300 underprivileged children belonging to the same community and has been doing so for over a decade but despite the noble cause, the school fails to deliver the basic necessities required for a change.

In the month of March, we started a crowdfunding campaign which ran for a duration of 2 months and ended on May 7th. With an end-goal of 10 lakhs, the funds generated were a little over 30 thousand. By all means, this is not a monumental success, of course, miles away from the goal. But personally, despite what others believe, for me, this was not a defeat. With over 200 shares and 33 donations, we gained hundreds, if not thousands of supporters. This meant a lot to us.

The primary reason behind our crowd-funding campaign wasn’t only bringing a financial stability to the school. A revolution is not a one-man task. A change isn’t brought by a group of a few, but a parade of people, who may have different reasons, but the same vision. To see so many people support us is instrumental to success. Of course, we did qualify the first criteria, ‘To gain the support of masses’ 🙂

Of course, similar words were spoken by Goonj’s founder, Mr. Anshu Gupta at Goonj’s Annual Meet earlier this year. To support a community school, you need the basic ingredients, and the foundation is not ready without the most obvious of all, ‘community’. A community school cannot thrive unless the people within the community are willing to take up responsibility.

For the school which receives roughly $20 a month, this amount can help the school sustain itself for months. Although this amount is not enough to make infrastructural reforms, this is more than enough to support the school in different aspects.

During our crowd-funding campaign, we partnered with Goonj to build a library for the children, and so far, the library has been extremely beneficial in creating a sense of autonomy among and supporting the learning of the children. With a projector we bought for the school, e-books and educational movies have become a part of the pedagogy, and therefore, essentially introducing e-learning to the children who have never been exposed to the internet or even computers. This has also helped learning become more interactive and interesting. To engage the community and the parents, we have implemented basic report card systems and parent-teacher meetings, with in-depth analysis of every student. The teachers and students alike at the school are enthusiastic about the new changes around them.

Our vision is not to make a self-sustainable school but build a self-sustainable entity, with the community and the children realizing their role and responsibility in the same. Our mission is not limited to saving the school, but also the children.

We’d like to thank you for joining us on this mission. It is our duty. We’ve been blessed with privileges and comforts these children don’t have, or will ever do so unless we intervene. These seeds need water to prosper, because a tree only reaches its potential when nurtured. Help us water and nurture these little seedlings.

Bal VIkas Montessori School

Project Abrazos : Reforming the Reforms | Bal Vikas Montessori School

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Bal Vikas Montessori School

KIDS DESERVE TO BE HAPPY, SAFE AND HEALTHY!

Child labour is not just an affront to the rights of a child but also a symbol of a society that has lost its way. We should, therefore, all strive to ensure that the fundamental rights of children are protected and that they are accorded the opportunity to go after their dreams and aspirations.

The future is much brighter when the younger generation has a good foundation for success. The innocence of a child should never be taken away for the purpose of making the lives of adults easier. It is both unfair and morally unacceptable.

Bal Vikas Montessori is the only private community school in Telibagh, Lucknow providing education to over 300 underprivileged children. School fees are voluntary.The school’s source of finances are monthly donations, and often the teaching staff has to pool resources from friends and family. The school cannot afford basic facilities such as proper sanitation, a computer lab, and the library has only 20 books.

The decrepit classrooms do not have even adequate lighting and are in need of repairs.There is no permanent teaching staff due to lack of finances. Many students drop out every year. Bal Vikas Montessori is close to shutting down. If the school shuts down, 300 children will be exposed to social evils.


They would be forced into child labour, to work in hazardous environments under inhumane conditions, and in some cases into illegal activities like prostitution and drug trafficking.

Abrazos is a vibrant project stratagem established under THE MASLOW INITIATIVE. The project aims to mould the school as an all-around academic institution promoting an overall development of the children. The program isn’t just confined to the educational purposes, but to construct the school as a self-sustained entity and provide education to future generations.

Over the next one year, we aim to implement all the of planned infrastructural developments to cater to the basic needs of the children; adequate sanitation facilities, a library with over 1000 books and a computer lab with a minimum of 2 computers. We also aim to reduce the current dropout rate to as low as possible and aim to grow the number of students from 300 to 500.

Our organisation, the Maslow Initiative Foundation, aims to develop a model of school adoption where we adopt one school at a time and help build the capacity and infrastructure of that particular school. We do this by raising a substantial amount of funding through our partners and crowdfunding platforms.
The raised amount then gets distributed to set up a corpus fund in the name of the school to help finance its teacher retention cost and basic maintenance of the building.
Then, with the rest of the amount, a library is set up for the students with 3:1 ratio of book to children.

Lastly, our foundation helps establish a volunteer program for the school to make the process more sustainable, we do this by connecting them to various volunteer organisations worldwide hence providing these schools with a good professional volunteer-base to help with professional teacher training and other daily activities at the school.


This is only possible though through the generous funding we can receive from the sensitized mass of humans like you.

We hope that you will be able to join us in funding the development of our much-needed community-based school.

Any support will be highly appreciated by us and the kids that we provide a service to. The aura demands to reform the reforms. The existence needs to be celebrated upon. I see the new dawn in their eyes. A dawn to rise from shadows of inhumane dungeons, a dawn to commemorate those reforms!

education

Education is the passport to the future : Project Abrazos

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“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”
-Malcolm X

An apt statement synonymous with the definition of education, ultimately defining the purpose of education and imparting a meaning.

A few weeks ago, we visited a city, 600 kilometres from our office, a school we adopted under Project Abrazos. The objective of our first visit was to build a school library, for the use of both students and the community.

The intended-to-be-small visit became a field trip. The enthusiastic children were jovial and a delight to interact with. The teachers and students interacted with our team. The students with a will to learn, and the teachers, a drive to teach, yet, the woes they talked of, couldn’t be fixed with merely a drive and a will.


Education isn’t a language, nor it is the philosophies of sciences and mathematics.

Education could very well be Moonlight Sonata or a lesson in skinning deers.

Before the introduction of a proper, formal system of education, knowledge was preserved in the form of stories and skills, arts and crafts, imitation and application. This knowledge was passed down to the generations, each generation adding their own to the already existing skill, perfecting it, and honing it, one at a time.

This knowledge proved to be our survival.


Knowledge began to take turns when men began to think. Philosophy as a whole became a subject. People began to question. The silence was replaced by an audience cheering with ‘Why?’ and ‘What?’. One such philosopher, Plato of Greece, founded an Academy in Athens. This institution is regarded as the first of higher learning institutes.


Knowledge has evolved, from time to time. The purpose of education has changed, from survival to innovation and inventions.

Yet, the generation now strays away from the purpose.

Knowledge nowadays is merely theoretical, taught like a formality, with no applications.

What if our ancestors were taught hunting, not along with axe and arrows, but solely through stories and pictures?

We wouldn’t have made this far, had it not been for their own improvements each generation, and their diligent practice of the craft.

The purpose of knowledge accumulated throughout thousands of years, we have forgotten.

The method of imparting knowledge has not changed, despite the vast syllabi, our system continues to hold onto the orthodox methodology.

Some children, if not all, do not find anything enthusiastic, yet they continue to churn the words to make sense and fail miserably.

The education system has a grip on the children, relieving them of their freedom. It is slow, yes, but steady. The system focuses more on the children become followers of the system rather than leaders.

Some countries, have fought back on this monotony.

Finland, lets the students decide when they wish to study. Every child starts their schooling when they reach the age of 7. The first few years of their schooling, they focus on learning for the sake of it, rather than the sake of passing an examination. The only mandatory exam for them is when they reach the age of 16. The country spends 30% less than US on its education yet produces brilliant mathematicians.

UK and Canada, to tackle the absenteeism of students, allowed the students to sleep in during their class. This increased the students’ alertness and they could concentrate better during their classes. A rather simple and intuitive method.

In fact, there are several countries like Sweden and Denmark which pay students to attend school.

An honest opinion, I believe offering monetary reward is not a valid solution, but students do attend classes regularly in such countries.

The point here is, they offer an incentive to students to attend the institutes. The students find benefit in the task they do.


“What is a point of Trigonometry?” inquires one student.

“This question is important for the exam.” the teacher replies.

The teacher failed to answer the student’s question. His drive to learn is replaced by a chase for marks.


Our education system rewards the orthodox than the innovative, and this causes a decrease in children’s creativity.

Israel rewards innovation. The country has been one of the most innovative countries. The entrepreneurs thank their education system.

Where does The Maslow Initiative stand among all these?

The Maslow Initiative wishes to change this.

Our programmes involve providing training to teachers and students alike, to make them future-proof, and putting the knowledge to use. Our schemes are inspired by other countries and through our own experimentation.

At Maslow Initiative, we believe knowledge is never redundant.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

All of us have been asked this at some point in our lives, perhaps by a parent, an auntie, a teacher. And as kids, we likely responded enthusiastically,

“Wonder Woman!”

“A prince!”

“A mermaid!”

A doctor, an engineer, a lawyer, a journalist, a business owner.

Even in childhood, we all had dreams of what we could become, but how many of us actually feel like we’re working towards those dreams now? Do we feel like we’re moving forward or moving in circles? Are we happy? Are we living up to our potential?

We all strive to make something of our life. We have an innate desire to grow, achieve and become who we are meant to be in this lifetime. This is what it is to “self-actualize” – reaching our full potential and accomplishing that something we’ve always wanted to accomplish.

This desire is nothing new. In fact, it is human nature and one that has spawned many a theory. One such theory has been proposed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow. In 1943, he suggested that human beings have certain needs that can be arranged in a hierarchical pyramid (Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs):

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

The bottom four levels comprise the “deficiency needs” which are more primitive needs. These include physiological needs like eating, drinking and sleeping; safety needs like health and financial security; the need for love and a sense of belonging (typically from family, friends, partners); and esteem needs like self-confidence and acceptance from others.

The top of the pyramid is comprised of “growth needs” – needs that enable people to reach their fullest potential and self-actualize. To self-actualise requires uncommon qualities like independence, proactiveness, creativity and originality. This self-actualization need is the most sought after by human beings, yet only a small minority of people are ever able to self-actualise because “reaching your full potential” is not as simple as it sounds! In order to be able to focus on self-actualization, all our deficiency needs must first be met. This is problematic because, in our world, we are so busy trying to meet our primitive needs for food, money, shelter, fulfilling employment and community that only the privileged few are ever able to reach the top of that pyramid.

This is the Maslow Initiative’s mission: to help people meet all their “deficiency needs” in order to enable them to pursue their “growth needs”, self-actualization.

Because wouldn’t it be nice to finally be who we’ve always wanted to be?

Written By – Noelle Dumo

What Maslow Initiative aims to ?

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He was seven when he decided to be a musician. He was moved by Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Though uneducated in music, he was still a musical genius, composing melodies of his own. Music freed him from the chains that bound him, the wings on his back fluttered as his fingers raced along the piano keys. He was happy, and music made him ecstatic.

Even though he knew his freedom was temporary, he cherished each and every note he played.He came from a line of doctors. His parents were doctors, and so were his grandparents who expected their only grandchild to be the best of them all. His parents dreamt the same.

“You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor,” his parents said. “Music has no future,” society laughed in unison. So, he let go of his childish dream and focused on the road his predecessors had walked.

Years down the lane, he became a great doctor. He was what his parents wanted him to be. Society cheered for him, children looked up to him and his peers congratulated him, but he had lost his freedom and his wings. He lost his own identity.He has his own family now. His children told him that they wanted to be musicians. Smiling, he told them, “You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor.”

He is now ninety-two. He is on his deathbed. The society that once cheered him was no longer there, the children who looked up to him were gone, and his peers were either dead or decaying. He has lived ninety-two years of his life, but to call the life he lived ‘his’ would be a blatant lie. He was only an actor, playing the role designated by society, and reading the script written by his parents.

His grandchild began to play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. His son told the grandchild, “You can play music as long as you like after you become a doctor.” He only had regrets, as he counted his last breaths. He wished he had taken the road less traveled.

In an article by Harvard Business Review, a group of professionals talked about their career regrets. 80% of people, despite being dissatisfied with their jobs do not quit, when they still had passion. Some regret their job because they joined solely for money. Some say they wished they had enough confidence to start their own business.

Why? We believe success is subjective to society’s standards.
Society teaches us to glorify the philosophies of science, mathematics, and technology, and mock the philosophies of music and other softer subjects. Is there a difference between those philosophies, that makes us believe in one house is superior to the other? Abraham Maslow, in 1943, released his paper, A Theory of Human Motivation in which he talked about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

maslow
 

Most people get up to Esteem Needs but never manage to reach the Self Actualization part. Being a doctor is not self-actualization for all. Maybe, they dreamt of being a writer, or a musician. We tend to let society dictate our lives and we follow the path that we believe is a guaranteed success, but even graduating an engineer from an elite institution doesn’t guarantee you’ll be a CEO at a Fortune 500 company.

The society of today makes followers, not leaders.

We at The Maslow Initiative aim to change that.

Ours is a social cause. We dare to deviate from society and preserve those passions which it slaughters. Our goal is to nurture these underlying talents, from artistry to web development, into full-fledged skills that people can use to carve their own path to happiness. We will host workshops for people to develop their skills in futuristic fields such as Internet of Things and soil regeneration, as well as programming and handicrafts.

These workshops will also be an opportunity for people with similar goals and ideas to meet and connect with each other, brainstorming together and finding solutions. A project of Maslow Initiative, UpNetwork is about cultivating people’s ideas and solutions into something on a global platform. UpNetwork aims to build a network of these visionary mentors and the entrepreneurs. These mentors can provide a way to the entrepreneurs and guide them. It will also connect small businesses to larger companies in order to build a collaboration between the two.

This also provides an opportunity and gives way to the innovators, for them to put forward their solutions to our problems. If you have the drive and are willing to learn, then The Maslow Initiative is perfect for you.

Our goal is to make you happy.

Why be a sheep when you can be a shepherd?

Written by – Yatharth Rai