Tuesday, 16 December 2014

When Optimism and Dedication sees no limits....!

Pratham InfoTech Foundation’s Student Enrichment Program (Utkarsh) not only requires teachers who are novel in their teaching approach but also teachers who are dedicated towards their students.

Nandini Devkar

Nandini Devkar is one such teacher whom we at Pratham InfoTech Foundation
(PIF) are proud to have.

She personifies patience and grace. Her dealings with her students not only give us a glimpse into her sharp mind but also the unconditional bond her students share with her. She has been working with PIF’s Student Enrichment Program since the past two years.

She says, "the first step with any new batch of students is to build a rapport with them. I sit amidst them and talk to them till I feel they have begun to trust me. My lectures involve activity based learning. I believe in interactive and practical learning. Students love my methodology. I incorporate my ideas with the valuable techniques we learn at PIF’s fellow training workshops to teach the students.”

During the course of teaching her students Nandini also tries to spot the vocational skill each student can pursue and excel in. She teaches her students to become respected members of society.
Nandini is not only a teacher to her students but also a mentor, friend and support system. She ensures overall development of her students.

She also tutors students privately. Yet she spends most of her day with the PIF students, teaching and bonding with them.
Nandini Devkar has touched and transformed her students lives for which her students will be forever grateful to her.

She has now been promoted to the position of Team Leader. A position well deserved.

She says, "the work environment at PIF is very healthy and stimulating. The team work is excellent and there is always a flow of knowledge and ideas. Organizations like PIF have taken up the cause of e educating the underprivileged for which I congratulate them!

Monday, 10 November 2014

Against all odds......

Shubangi Gaikwad

We often take our easy access to information and education for granted. But not far from us are people who truly understand and value the importance of education.

Shubangi Gaikwad, is a Std 10 student in Swami Vivekanand School, Kurla. 
She and her 17 year old brother were left orphaned when their parents died in a tragic accident. They live with their grandmother who struggles hard to make both ends meet from the Rs. 2500/- she gets from her late husband’s pension. This is all she has in order to feed 3 stomachs. But she makes it a point and a priority to set aside as much as she can to educate her grandchildren. 

 Shubangi is part of PIF's Student Enrichment Program. She is new to the school and says that the class is helping her a lot academically as well as in building her confidence. She says she loves Science and is now developing an interest for the English language too. She enjoys reading and writing poetry.

Shubangi has dreams.... but fears they won’t come true... due to the lack of necessary funds required to educate herself. She wants to be a teacher some day and help other students like her, just as she got help from her teachers in the Student Enrichment Program. 

"Thank you PIF" says an ambitious Shubangi!!

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

e education can help them secure a better future....

Sunita Patkare

Sunita Patkare’s story brings out the urgent need to look after the underprivileged sections of our society.

Sunita or “Didi” as the 29 year old is fondly called by her students began working with Pratham InfoTech Foundation’s Student Enrichment Program(Utkarsh) two years ago. 

She began her Utkarsh journey as a Fellow, teaching in Vivek Vidyalaya and then moving on to the Children Aid Education Society.

“The transition was not easy”, she said. “I face fresh and bigger challenges here”

With a heavy heart she starts telling us about the conditions in which her students live. 
They are orphaned with no one behind them. “They live in a hostel.”  She pauses, takes a deep breath and continues “they have no decent meal, no proper clothes and no books” “they face major health issues due to inadequate nourishment of the body.”

She tells us about Vikram Pawar, a young, ambitious boy who aspired to become an Engineer and support his family. But unfortunately he passed away due to health issues resulting from inadequate nutrition.

She says,” Pratham InfoTech Foundation has taken the initiative to help improve the conditions of such children by providing them with e- education to help them secure a good future for themselves and for that I congratulate it. We need more of such institutions to come forward and take the responsibility of such children. 
Only an educated youth will take the country forward.”

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A man out to make a difference

Jitendra Kadam

It was time to interview the much spoken about Team Leader. But when Jitendra Kadam walked in I only saw a twenty four year old young man who must have probably just started off with his career. But within the next thirty minutes I realized I was wrong! And how!
The integrity! The maturity!

Here is his story.

Jitendra hails from a modest background .Unfortunately he lost his father at a very young age. He has two siblings. Despite being the youngest he aspires to create a strong career and support his family and gives them a higher and better lifestyle. He truly is a man his family will always be proud of!
He holds a Diploma in Education from Mahatma College in Mumbai.
He has always been highly passionate about teaching. ” I have always imagined a career as an educator”, he said, “and so when I saw the advertisement in the newspaper about Pratham InfoTech Foundation’s Student Enrichment Program( Utkarsh) I immediately applied for the job.”

It has been a bitter sweet journey since then for this young man.

He was appointed as a Fellow in a school in Tilak Nagar
This was the most challenging school under our program having attendance and discipline issues. But Jitendra put in his heart and soul into solving this problem. He personally ensured all the students attended the lectures regularly and on time! The commitment!

So it is not surprising that he is now a Team Leader.
This is not all, as the Team Leader Jitendra shoulders many responsibilities. He has 10 schools, 10 Fellows and 210 students under him! He fills in whenever a Fellow is unable to make it to the lecture. He visits the school and spends 2 hours inspecting and setting the following day’s agenda. Along with this he has to work with and manage a lot of data. The hard work!

Aren’t you left in awe of his dedication! But this is not all.
He also gives free tuitions to other underprivileged students living in close proximity to his residence. The selflessness!

Jitendra’s heart goes out to the cause of the education of underprivileged sections of our society. He says, “These children have potential to do well in life but do not, due to want of proper guidance. Hence it is the responsibility of the government and the privileged sections of the society to extend a helping hand towards them and help secure a stronger, educated youth in the country”!

He goes on to say, “The government is doing its bit at the planning level and organizing various projects but unfortunately the benefits of the same do not reach these children.”

On a personal note he adds,” when I initially associated myself with Utkarsh I was very shy and spoke very less. But the environment at Pratham InfoTech Foundation is so stimulating and motivating that I slowly started shedding my hesitations and began to communicate freely with my colleagues and seniors. Furthermore the training sessions and workshops help me constantly hone my skills.
     Today I am definitely more mature and confident than the day I first walked in here.”

Monday, 15 September 2014

Teaching is actually learning... and growing with your students...

Reshma Sawant

When she woke up that morning three years ago, Reshma Sawant didn’t know that that was the day her life would take a new turn. An avenue would open up which when explored would change her life.
Sitting in the room sharing her journey with us the thirty three year old gets overwhelmed by nostalgia and she recounts,” it was like any other day. I had taken my father in law to the hospital. As we were awaiting our turn I began reading the newspaper  in which I saw an advertisement by Pratham Infotech regarding its Student Enrichment Program (Utkarsh)”

Reshma was always passionate about teaching. But due to financial constraints she could not pursue it and instead went on to successfully graduate with a B.Com Degree.
Hence the advertisement caught her interest and she started making the necessary enquiries. The rest as they say is history.

“It has been three years since then”, she says with a broad smile.
When asked about her students and her relation with them she admits that initially it was not easy to bond with the children but gradually they started opening up to her.
She says,” There were students who didn’t show basic courtesy towards the teachers and were least interested in academics.” She added,” In the past three years I have also come across students who are extremely hard working but lack proper guidance and financial backing.”; “some students were orphaned and sadly those who had their parents with them received no support by them for their education.”
“The children came from extremely poor families and lived in slums”

Despite all these problems what made Reshma believe that these children could have a good future? She smiles and says “All they need is someone to support and guide them.”
But helping these students secure a good future for themselves was not an easy task for Reshma.
It required patience and lots of dedication. “There was a time when I felt I could not go on but Pratham Infotech Foundation and my co-fellows’ support fuelled my dedication towards making a difference to these students.”

 The first step she said was to get the students to trust and respect her. Once they did it was easy to share and address any problems they faced at home or elsewhere. Slowly their academics started improving as well. Reshma became everything to her students. Their mentor, friend, support system, go to person.

Reshma never disappointed her students and supported them even during their rough times.
She recounts the story of one of her student; Sandhya.
“Sandhya was an extremely hard working student but she struggled with her grades initially. Her father told us that his daughter will be discontinuing her education and instead he will make her learn household work. I reasoned with him to wait for six months. He did and today she has successfully completed her 10th examinations and wants to further get into vocational training.” Bravo Reshma!

She quickly adds,” oh it would have not been possible without Pratham Infotech Foundation’s support. The workshops and training sessions they organize help me constantly hone my skills and come up with innovative ideas to teach these students.  Pratham Infotech Foundation’s Student Enrichment Program (Utkarsh) helped me follow my dreams of becoming a teacher.  A dream, which had to be given up once, has come alive again and I wish to continue working here.”
 “This is really a rewarding experience emotionally as well”

To show us what she meant by this she showed us a message sent to her collectively by her students who had successfully cleared 10th grade. It read-
“Kalamthi hath mein
Hum to sirf students the

She smiled and asked, “Does this not say it all?” Indeed it does Reshma, Indeed it does.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Here we are!!!

                      No more are we surprised when we see a five year old effortlessly playing games on the computer or handling any other electronic gadget with great ease!

           Electronic sophistication has become such an integral part of our day to day lives that can we imagine a day without it?

             Ask a child to not play on the computer for a day! Ask a teenager to switch off her phone for a day! Ask a professional to function without the email for a day!
              This 'is' undoubtedly the electronic age.

Also,this development in technology is rapidly being used all over the world to make the greatest tool of human empowerment -education- more productive, interactive,informative,fun and smooth!

But we have to stop and think. Is e-learning and e-education really as wide spread as it seems to be?
There are still many economically backward societies and underprivileged families where children have never even seen a computer!

Hence we at Pratham InfoTech Foundation (PIF) a
im to boost digital literacy, bridge digital divide, facilitate the adoption of information technologies in education, and equip at risk youths with skills, tools and capabilities that new global economy demands.

All people- regardless of social background, income level, geographic isolation, skill gap and educational qualifications, reap the social and economic benefits that information technologies promise to all in the new world in which information and technology touch every aspect of our life.

You too can support us in our endeavor to technologically empower the future of our country! Yes! You can!

To know more about what we do, the people and children we work with and also to know how you can be part of our mission, keep following our blog and do constantly encourage us by posting your valuable feedback!