Hamara Gaon is an innovative concept by Pratham Education Foundation in which community orientation, empowerment, and participation bring out the best of the child in their natural learning ambiance. While the concept is being promoted throughout the areas under the geographic reach of Pratham, in Himachal Pradesh, the program is being piloted in the three districts of Bilaspur, Kullu, and Mandi under which 40 villages have been selected.
Hamara Gaon is being run with the idea of making the community a stakeholder in the teaching-learning process and enabling the parents to know and understand the progress of their children. The initiative has begun by testing of children on some basic competencies in Language, English, and Mathematics and a visit to some of the villages under this initiative helped me get a sense of the efforts being put in by the field team of Pratham Education Foundation.
Village Koti, Ghumarwin, Bilaspur
An early Sunday morning, vibrant atmosphere, energetic people and the late April heat, all added to the eagerness which we had in terms of sharing the results of baseline test that was conducted among 123 children in this village. The occasion also seemed perfect as it was the General House of the village in which most of the population of the village was present.
While the results indicated that children were competent enough to have a grasp of basic competencies, subjects like English were still in a nascent stage when it came to comprehending words and sentences. A fair number of students were also not able to comprehend three digit word problems in Mathematics.
The elected body of the village comprising village pradhan and ward members were also apprehensive of the declining education level among the children and took the concept of Hamara Gaon in all its positivity.
The specific objectives of this intervention are as:
- Everyone in the village must know their own children’s basic reading and math level
- Activities that improve children’s reading and basic math will be conducted with children
- Youth, mothers, others who can contribute to the initiative will be encouraged to associate. This will eventually lead to self-empowerment of the community.
- Develop some sense of what children in the village will be interested in – in terms of activities, events etc
Village Kandror, Bilaspur
The scenic village of Kandror with Gobind Sagar Lake forming a perfect backdrop could be a perfect learning ground of young learners, as was evident from the assessment results which were conducted in the initial phase of the campaign. A small group meeting of the parents and children turned out to be a nostalgic session for many elders as they recounted the experience of the bygone era when they were themselves, young learners. A positive vibration seemed distinct in this village as almost all parents present in the meeting committed to being a part of “Hamara Gaon” initiative of Pratham and take up the mission of making it a successful endeavor.
As I headed back, my thoughts went back to the energetic team of volunteers from Pratham Bilaspur, Mandi, and Kullu who have been treading this path making the mission of empowering children a reality.