Back in 2008, thanks to my friend Anna, I discovered a tiny place in the world that I am having the pleasure to revisit now just for a few days. Do you recognize it?
I am sure you do if you are an Indian Futures follower. It’s Vedanthangal, an area full of bright colours, beautiful birds, endless rice fields and, unfortunately, quite a few people who may never have the chance to access higher education even if they want to.
When I came to Vedanthangal for the first time, Anna and I spent 6 months working hard to improve the quality of an incipient educational project run by Laia Foundation, which consisted of 14 after-school centres that children attended from 6 to 8pm from Monday to Saturday to do their school homework. Each centre had one or two teachers. These teachers had not been trained for the job, and their main task was to ensure students attended and did their homework. Anna and I created handouts and organised activities for the children, but at the time it seemed clear to us that more training was needed so teachers could acquire skills that would allow them to apply pedagogical methodologies that would go beyond memory power and repetition.
12 years later, the quality of education in the after-school centres has grown majorly. There are currently 19 centres. Three of them follow an IT programme that gives children the chance to develop computer and other skills such as Maths, English and Tamil among others. A Chennai-based organization called Aid India provides teacher training and didactic materials that give teachers the chance to use a wider range of methodologies. Besides, thanks to Indian Futures, dozens of students are getting grants that allow those who can’t afford it to access higher education so they can ensure a better future both for them and their families.
I must confess that during my first stay in Vedanthangal back in 2008, I never imagined the project would make such huge progress. I feel proud of the evolution of the educational project and I am very happy Indian Futures provides them with funding. I will definitely continue fundraising for them from Barcelona as I have been doing over the last two years.
(Roger, writer of this blog, is the Coordinator of Indian Futures Spain. He runs very successfully the project 'Futuraula'. To find out more about Futuraula, please click here.)