31. May 2016
Ten years of school: first levels, continuing education
Dear friends of Hand in Hand!
After ten years we have now reached that moment: 39 pupils of the final Year 10-class are about to complete their statutory education at the Balashram Residential School in India. The pupils find themselves at an important junction in their lives in regards to their choices of work and/or studies. All these youngsters were rescued from lives of extreme poverty and given a promising place to stay at Balashram.
With the assistance of HAND IN HAND, these young people were given the opportunity to receive and complete their education in a supporting and encouraging environment.
For each young person, definite plans for the future have been made via a multi-stage process. Foremost the psychological tests: Interests and aptitudes were equally evaluated together with the academic skills.
In a second phase, all the results and the pupils’ areas of interest were discussed together with the teachers. Based on both tests and the subsequent interviews, it was possible to complete an initial, realistic assessment on each pupil’s future life-plan.
During the last stage of the process, all results were discussed with the parents and/or the legal representatives. The collaborators of our partner organisation, Prajnana Mission, have the task of creating a schooling basis and also give support to pupils in Year 10 in their decision-making about the future. Ultimately, the parents or the legal representatives are responsible for the minors.
During the consultations with the pupils, it was important to evaluate realistically, their expectations and desires. This included a clear assessment of future working opportunities once vocational training and education are completed.
A suitable training place has to be found, and Odisha seems the most privileged due to its location in proximity of Prajnana Mission. It is equally important to find suitable accommodation next to the education centre, for instance in hostels. The young students will also need to be followed and supported by local mentors. Should there be the opportunity to work while studying, then this should be taken advantage of.
While making plans for their future, the „Chrysalis“ project started as well. Chrysalis stems from the Greek word „chrysos“, meaning „gold“. Chrysalis refers to the golden pupa which will transform into a butterfly.
This special project, initiated by Prajnana Mission, has the scope to offer Balashram graduates with their individual, different requirements, the best possible support.
The following is planned: a database of all suitable educational institutions; a brochure on fundraising; ways to identify target groups in India who could support these young people in their further education; establish links and connections with companies in order to find employment opportunities for those who do not wish to continue their studies.
All 39 pupils have participated, in March this year, at the „board examination“ - a central and final end of school examination, which is carried out nationwide. The results of these final examinations are crucial for the admittance to secondary schools/colleges and universities. The results are expected by the end of May. During the past months, all pupils had been prepared for these examinations and additional classes were offered on Sundays and during holidays.
For the continuing education and the vocational promotion, additional financial means are needed.
Without your support, carrying out these plans, would just remain theory.
Your kindness and your compassion are the driving force and the moving spirit behind these successful ventures. Please continue your support to the Balashram children and youngsters and to the many people in need in India.
A warm heartfelt "Thank You" !
Peter van Breukelen (President, Hand in Hand)