Partner From
10/31/2019 - On Going
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Supported by: Wipro

About Adhvan

At Adhvan, we envision a world where every child has access to good quality education that fosters their development as complete human beings. We work to support the education of marginalized children through democratic library centric interventions that raise readers, support literacy, and enhance life skills; empowering them to discover their voice, realize their potential, and build their agency. Through the Adhvan Library Program, we support the holistic learning and development of children living in child care institutions and through our Training Program, we reach out to educators in schools, NGOs, and other organizations to build their capacities to run vibrant library programs in their own geographies.

Why we do what we do

Death, poverty, violence, and abuse leave children vulnerable and when families are unable to or are unfit to care for children, Child Care Institutions take on this responsibility. Children, who live in Child care institutions like orphanages and shelter homes, are rarely sent to formal schools due to resource constraints and safety concerns. They are enrolled in the open schooling system generally and receive private tutoring within the walls of the institution from hired teachers or volunteers. The private tutoring they receive is usually geared to make them pass exams and to ensure their ability to access vocational training opportunities and gain entry-level jobs. Unfortunately, learning, in the real sense of the term, falls to the wayside. Child care institutions continue to run the same way as before. Not much has changed in the domain of education. Research shows that children who have lived in Child Care Institutions are usually ill equipped for life beyond the institution. They struggle to find or hold onto jobs and have difficulty in maintaining interpersonal relationships. Their poor literacy levels coupled with underdeveloped life skills set them up for failure.

Children come to institutions from different parts of the country and at different ages. Many of these children have received poor education in the past or have dropped out. Poor command over language makes it difficult for them to cope with academic mandates and they fall further behind. Their inability to cope with stress, low self-esteem, and difficulty coping with emotions add to their struggle with academics and increase their likelihood of leaving educational pursuits altogether.

Though Child care institutions are far from perfect, they are the only port in the storm for many children. They play an invaluable role in supporting some of the most vulnerable and marginalized children. Hence, we, at Adhvan, strive to support and strengthen the education provided in Child care institutions through library programs that create free and democratic space where children can read, express, question, and exercise their choice; a stimulating space where they can learn and grow in a non-pressurized environment.

Across India, there are millions of marginalized children, who need similar library interventions to support their education and holistic growth. Hence, we run Library Training Programs to support educators to set up vibrant libraries in their own unique contexts.

Our Approach

Adhvan offers two programs. The Adhvan Library Program (ALP) enriches the education of children living in care institutions through weekly library sessions that foster a love for reading, supporting language development, and enhancing life skills. The Adhvan Library Training Program (ALTP) builds the capacity of schoolteachers and other educators as library educators. The ALTP draws on insight and best practices learnt from the Adhvan Library program and years of experience. It helps schools, child care institutions, and non-profits set up and run vibrant libraries in their own contexts.

Through the Adhvan Library Program, we collaborate with child care institutions and run weekly library sessions for children aged 3-18. The gender make-up of the group depends on the enrolment structure of the child care institution. At present, the ALP is being offered only in Mumbai. We hope to expand it across Maharashtra in the next five years.

Currently, we are running 2 batches of the Preschool Library Program and 2 batches of the Children’s Library Program in 1 child care institution in Mumbai. Due to the pandemic, 1 child care institution closed down temporarily. The program with them is on hold until they reopen. Currently, 70 children are being served through the ALP.

We carefully document our curriculum, process, and lessons and continue to refine our approach. We share our insights and expertise with other schools and other non-profits through the Adhvan Training Program to equip them with the skills and perspective to set up and run their own library programs, so that their children may also experience the benefits of vibrant library programs.

In the past, all our training workshops have been conducted in person. Due to the pandemic, we attempted online library trainings with Anganwadi teachers in Kashele village in Maharashtra. Through 4 Zoom workshops, we worked with 30 Anganwadi teachers. However, we felt that due to cultural barriers at home, challenges with internet connectivity and phone usage, the programs weren’t as effective as we would have liked. We have decided to put these trainings on hold until we are able to restart conducting them in person.

This year, we also began a reading circle with 12 Library Educators from 4 NGOs. Every week, we met and discussed exceptional children’s books as a way of strengthening an educator’s perspectives around books and how they can be opened up for children. These sessions were extremely successful online and enabled us to connect, despite being in different cities. We will continue this engagement next year as well.

Plan for the Next 1-3 Years

We would like to grow our team at Adhvan over the next 3 years and expand our outreach to more child care institutions in India. We would also like to invest in the professional development for our educators to enable them to work with greater autonomy and clarity. We hope to enhance the digital expertise of the team and use the lockdowns strategically for professional development, curriculum design and review, and reviewing assessment strategies. This year, we learnt that due to the unique challenges faced by child care institutions during the pandemic, it was impossible for us to run our Library Program digitally. Accepting that reality, we now have a protocol in place through which we can continue physical engagement without actually being present. Over the next few years, we will continue to train Anganwadi teachers in rural Maharashtra. We will continue to build the capacity of Library Educators by supporting the ‘Library Educator’s Course’ offered by Bookworm Trust. We will continue to expand capacity-building efforts with schools and organizations working with marginalized children.