Asha Trust - Asha Resource and Training Center

Project Brief: Asha has a dedicated group of volunteers in India who are involved in setting up Asha Centers of learning promoting self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship via education.
Project Type: Resource Centers (description)
Primary Focus: other (description)

Secondary Focus: girls

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Varanasi
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Vallabh Pandey
Project Partner(s): Suraj Kumar
Other Contacts: MAHESH PANDEY
Project Address: , Asha Trust ,Village: Bhandha Kala Post: Kaithi ,Kaithi,
Tel: 91-542-2618301, Cell: 91-94152
Stewarding Chapter: Varanasi
Feb 2014VaranasiUSD 12221

Total = $12221

Asha has a dedicated group of volunteers in India who are involved in setting up Asha Centers of learning promoting self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship via education. The basis of the centers, all of which are in Uttar Pradesh, is that young minds need holistic development leading to self-reliance and strong values. Conventional education is only oriented towards desk jobs, therefore based on competition, which in turn gives rise to pride, prejudice and conflict. For a majority of India's children, the quality of education is so poor and so divorced from their reality that it has not been beneficial to them. The education provided at these centers is based on empowerment by imbibing the spirit of cooperation instead of competition.

Asha Centers are already playing an active role in the community by providing free education and health facilities to the villagers. The goal of the Asha Centers is to work for social change. They plan to achieve this by

* Developing a "pilot program" for a self-sustained, socially responsible community
* Acting as a community center for various grass-roots activities, such as women's empowerment, initiatives for tackling unemployment
* Establishing a school for children in the surrounding areas to provide alternative education that inculcates human values for a just human order and imparts skills for becoming self-reliant
* Teaching cottage industries such as bee-keeping, etc., to the children and adults in the community
* Networking with other organizations to share ideas and resources on development issues
* Providing support (moral & funds) for other activities, such as, Global Peach March, etc.
As part of the efforts of Asha in India there are 29 educational centers that function as day and night schools depending on the community they cater to. The centers that work with platform children are the only schools children go to and are day schools, where as in many villages children are encouraged to attend government schools and an educational center operates as a night school providing the first generation learners more help. Even here for school drop outs these centers operate as day schools as well.

The motivation of these centers is to provide holistic development leading to self-reliance and strong values. However, the present educational system in India does not do justice to the varied needs, aspirations and consciousness of the children. While the teaching techniques are quite different from regular schools and is activity based the curriculum has been a bottleneck in making a significant impact through education. In order to make education truly beneficial to children, the need was felt to develop a curriculum which

* retains the interest of the child and therefore succeeds in communication of knowledge
* becomes relevant to the child's present and future by teaching skills which can help the child achieve his/ her aspirations
* emphasizes the importance of compassion and humane values and encourages students to become agents of socio-economic change

For the development of this comprehensive curriculum a resource center is to be set up, which will act as a library and a research laboratory for the educational centers. It will carry out teacher training workshops and with their active participation it will develop educational material (for grades I to V), which will at first be used in all the Asha run educational centers in Uttar Pradesh and can in long term be shared with other formal and non formal educational centers. Work An Hour 2005 will support the resource center.