Varitra Foundation

Partner From
12/31/2018 - On Going

https://www.varitra.com/


Supported by: Wipro

About Varitra Foundation

Varitra Foundation is a platform for initiating social change through meaningful collaborations to make way for long-term difference in the lives of people. A Sanskrit word, “Varitra”, means Umbrella. In developmental terms, Varitra symbolises synergy, collaboration, and a canopy of ideas. Over the past three years, Varitra has worked in over 20 villages in Karnal district (Haryana) to transform education in rural government schools through initiatives like setting up libraries, running reading programs, infrastructural strengthening, running post-school remedial classes, and enhancing student leadership.

Approach

Lack of access to quality education for rural children of India is the key social issue, which we, at Varitra, are trying to address. We believe in the words of Marian Edelman – “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it”.  India nests at the fourth highest as a country with out-of-school children, making the country home to the largest number of child laborers in the world. These under-privileged children grow in impoverished ambience, which affects their overall development and educational attainments too. The educational levels of the disadvantaged children paint another extremely grim picture. They usually go to schools with less facilities and opportunities of quality education while there is also a considerable mass of disadvantaged children who are deprived of the basic access to primary education despite the ‘Right to Education’ enactment.

The key challenge is to address the supply or delivery end as well as the demand issues vis-à-vis providing universal and quality education to the under-served and disadvantaged children in rural areas. It is a matter of grave concern that in India, more than 12.6 million children under the age of 14 are reported to be working as child laborers. In some of our intervention villages, not even a single child/youth has opted for higher education/college.

Our Geography

Over the past three years, Varitra’s intervention has been focused on School Transformation in rural Haryana (Karnal District). The majority of Varitra’s associated villages are located in the region of ‘Yamuna Belt’. This region is geographically located along the stretch of the Yamuna riverbank bordering the states of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. The interior villages in this area are known for their absolute backwardness in terms of the socio-economic parameters. The lack of geographical access to major towns like Karnal has also contributed to the lack of education access. The villages till date have very low literacy levels. This percolates into deeper issues like alcoholism, early marriages, gender violence, along with high dropout rates from schools. Varitra works in 30 schools in 3 blocks (Karnal, Gharaunda, Nissing) in the district of Haryana.

Projects (Product/Services)

Varitra Foundation started ‘Project SEARCH’ with a whole school transformation approach to transform rural government schools into quality education space. Enhancing school infrastructure, providing safe reading spaces through libraries and improving learning outcomes of children through Varitra remedial centers were three key initiatives started under project SEARCH. Over the past three years, Varitra has worked in 20 villages benefiting more than 5000 rural children in Karnal district (Haryana) through the following key activities.

  • Remedial learning – Varitra ran post-school remedial classes for children of 4th and 5th standard through Varitra Learning Enhancement Centers. Our remedial learning classes use age-appropriate innovative teaching-learning methods to enhance children’s literacy and numeracy experience. Varitra reaches out to approximately 682 children through its learning centers.
  • Library & Reading Program – Varitra focuses on strengthening reading and language skills among children through its reading program. Varitra has built 20 libraries over the past three years. Our key activities under ‘Build a Library’ focus on – providing access to multilingual books, weekly reading sessions for primary-level classes, language-learning activities, and behavioral change sessions.
  • School Infrastructure Transformation: Varitra Foundation has undertaken BALA painting in 10 schools. Additionally, Varitra is an active advocacy partner to District Administration, Karnal on school-building renovation, playground building by MGNREGA in collaboration with BDO, resource support from Village Panchayat, and construction of toilets and new classrooms through the support of CSR foundations and community donors.

COVID Response

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the intervention and pushed us to rethink and reorient ourselves to the new set of unprecedented challenges.

In May 2020, in order to incorporate asynchronous learning from home, Varitra commenced its online learning platform called Eपाठन leveraging on common large social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. The content was further broken into learning capsules and distributed on a daily basis to all the project associated schools and other schools in the block with help from BEO office (Gharaunda).

Varitra in the month of August 2020 conducted an online learning survey to understand the reach of online education to children better. In the survey we found more than 50% children do not have any access to internet or online learning. Keeping the survey in mind and addressing the bottlenecks to online access, Varitra conceptualized and distributed 3000 offline kits to children in 30 villages. The engagement of children was ensured through support provided by the Varitra team to achieve the goal of continuous learning even during times of uncertainty.

One Year plan (2021-22)

Focus: Strengthening interventions in current 20 schools

Remedial Program:  This year, we are focusing to run remedial programs in 10 schools for children of 4th and 5th standard. We will be reaching out to approx. 600 children through our learning centers. English and Mathematics will be taught at learning centers through the support of Varitra Shikshan Mitras (field team).

Library Program: Due to school closures, libraries were disrupted in schools. This year, we will be focusing on rebuilding 20 libraries in our partner schools.

Focused reading program will go on in 10 schools through library educators.