Better Education Lifestyle and Environment Foundation (BELIEF)

Partner From
10/31/2020 - On Going

https://beliefforchange.org/


Supported by: Wipro

About BELIEF

Better Education Lifestyle and Environment Foundation (BELIEF) is a not-for-profit organization started by few professionals who passionately want to bring social change.

Vision: A society where each individual is leading an environmentally appropriate, dignified, and healthy life.

Mission: Addressing the issues in education, health, and environment by creating replicable models of sustainable development through services provided and capacity building of stakeholders involved.

The Approach

We believe in a sustainable change by strengthening the system. We understand that the process of bringing such change is slow and that it has to be exerted at multiple levels. For us, the institutionalization of change is very important. However, as mentioned above, this institutionalization has to happen in an organized manner. We believe that the issues in education, health, and the environment can be solved by collaborating with the government machinery and capacity building of the stakeholders involved. For example, in the case of early childhood education (ECE), we believe that everyone, from Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) to parents, should have a basic orientation of ECE. Unless the whole machinery has a shared understanding of what ECE means, it is almost impossible to implement a quality ECE program at the system level.

Location

We are located in the Hadapsar area of Pune city. In 2019-20, we worked with the 4 Anganwadis in Bheemnagar of Ghorpadi. As you enter the Bheemnagar Basti, you see tiny houses, with a washing area almost on the road, a small bathroom just next to the door and a room or two inside. Every house in the Vasti carries a story. Some migrated during the drought, some came in search of a job, and some are staying in the Vasti from the generations. In 2020-21, we started working with 20 more Anganwadis from Hadapsar, which are nearer to Bheemnagar. The mode of intervention is ‘Online/through the digital medium’. All these Anganwadis situated in urban slums face similar issues like inadequate space, inappropriate training of teachers, parents’ ignorance towards ECE, the competition with private English medium pre-schools etc.

Current Project

From April 2020, we changed our mode of intervention from offline to online. It is very difficult to conduct online sessions with pre-school children. In addition, exposing children to more screen time attracts contradictory opinions from pediatricians and development experts. As per American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) guidelines, children below the age of two years should not have any screen exposure, and screen time of ≥1 hour per day is considered excessive among children aged 2-5 years. Some children did not have dedicated phones. Internet connectivity was also an issue.

Considering all these factors, we decided to work with parents. This ‘Parents as Teachers’ program is named as घरोघरी बालविकास (gharoghari baalvikaas). Meanwhile, when the COVID-19 situation came under control, we surveyed Bheemnagar, and explored the possibility and need for physical intervention with children. Parents in unison demanded physical intervention. We initiated the preparatory work for starting an ECE center in the same locality. The center was planned to have active engagement with children, parents, and anganwadi workers.

Unfortunately, we had to postpone the physical intervention and go back to the online mode as the second wave of COVID-19 has hit the city. As planned, we have replicated the Parents as Teachers program in 20 more Anganwadis.

Plan for Next 1-3 Years

For the next three years, we will be focusing on –

  • Parents as Teachers program (Mainly during COVID)
  • Strengthening of ECE in anganwadis
  • Development of educational resources. The detailed plan will be discussed in the later section.