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e-tutoring for children of Gangadhar Baba ashram in English, Science and Math
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Making a positive change

One hour at a time
Late last year Kesey Beck from Invictus Institute reached out to us inquiring about tutoring some of the students we support. In his words:  
Invictus Institute arranges for tutors to work with students in developing countries via Skype or Google Hangout to help them with homework, improve their English, and help the student internalize what they are learning in school. We currently have a programs in Uganda where it is not uncommon for classrooms to have 75+ students which does not allow for proper one-on-one attention from the teacher. We are interested in each student's progression and working with them on an individual basis to help them excel in school and create a better future.
We of course jumped at the opportunity. Back in 2009, Beyond Intent had sponsored a computer lab at Gangadhar Baba orphanage in Maharashtra, India. We thought the 70+ children there who do not have access to focused personalized help could greatly benefit from this tutoring.

We turned to one of our most dedicated volunteers, Sapna Goyani, to help us with this – Sapna has been instrumental in supporting our programs for many years, through Kreate (a community dedicated to bettering the lives of the underserved). Ever eager to help, Sapna quickly got the logistics setup. She, along with a great team of enthusiastic tutors that she put together, have been patiently and skillfully tutoring the children for close to six months now. Here are some updates from her:
(Jan 22) Education is the most powerful weapon one could use to change the world - Nelson Mandela
As part of our efforts towards encouraging this change, our tutors Aarthi, Ketal, Kavita, and Sapna, along with Kasey and Phillip from Invictus Institute, have been conducting sessions for the students of Gangadhar Baba orphanage in India since December 11th. Split into different teams, they have lesson plans and activities geared towards the 70+ students enrolled in grades 3 through 12. These sessions are conducted online every Sunday.
Sight words, phonics, grammar, sentence construction and a bit of Maths have been the key areas of focus, aided with assessments, learning tools and assignments. It is such an amazing experience to see the energy and enthusiasm oozing out of these young minds - to cater to that is not just teaching and learning, but so much more.
While trying to learn sentence construction with the word "better" one of the students said "we will feel better about ourselves after the class". Many such beautiful moments are created between the tutor and the students. Well it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you don't stop. This team is determined to learn, to teach, and to prepare the stage to welcome change.
Images from the first tutoring session. Happy smiles all around! 
(Mar 12) As we continue tutoring the kids of Gangadhar Baba orphanage in English and Maths, we are now super excited to introduce Science as well, thanks to Stuti Dubey Sharma and Akshya Sharma, regular contributors to Beyond Intent's initiatives through Kreate - The Difference. They made a wonderful start getting the kids to learn the first 15 elements of the periodic table, using real life examples to help them understand how elements and science play such an important role in our day to day lives. In an interactive session full of super enthusiastic kids, they used a battery, water, balloons, salt, plants, soil, toothpaste, tennis racquets, bananas and even utensils, to help the children quickly remember and grasp the key concepts. We are so grateful to have these Ironman 70.3 champions bring their focus and dedication to these kids!
Stuti Dubey Sharma and Akshay Sharma working their magic
(Apr 3) Here is a short video of super enthusiastic, eager, bright and innocent 5th grade kids from Gangadhar Baba orphanage in Maharashtra. Though English as a second language starts being taught to them only in grade 5, they learnt this popular nursery rhyme in no time! Thanks Manjiri Pande for this video and thank you to all our other tutors (Kasey BeckKetal MehtaKavita KadamAarthi Prathap, Phillip Larece, Stuti Dubey SharmaAkshya SharmaShruti Dwivedi,  Neeta SinghVirali Goyani and Sapna Goyani) who spend time with these kids teaching them in every way they can and encouraging them to do better every week, in spite of all the technical difficulties faced in running this e-school. We truly have a great team and it is growing. The response received by the kids is beyond what words can express!
The children and tutors both deserve a pat on the back indeed. This tutoring goes beyond just imparting knowledge in English (and Maths and Science now!). It levels the playing field for these children who can now compete with their more advantaged peers much more effectively. Most importantly, the one-on-one time and focus dedicated to the children makes enormous strides in shaping them into more socially effective and confident individuals.

To reinforce the importance of this, we would like to share the motivation behind building this computer lab in the first place. A Mumbai based executive Mr. Girish Mehta was looking for an office assistant for his company and requested Sandeep Kolte (founding member of Beyond Intent) to recommend a suitable candidate. On inquiring at the orphanage, Sandeep came across Mahesh Pandhare who had a Bachelor of Arts degree and was looking for a job. An opportunity and a deserving candidate were present. Besides regular paper work though, the job demanded basic computer knowledge such as emailing, scanning, printing, word processing, etc. Unfortunately, Mahesh lost this opportunity since he had never used a computer. Realizing the need for computer education for the underprivileged in India, Beyond Intent sponsored the lab.  


We are glad this lab is now enabling the children to gain even more important skills. Studies repeatedly show, English education and a competent fluency in the language drastically increases a person’s chances of landing a job as well as their earning power in that job. Providing even just a little additional help in other problem areas, goes a long way in helping the child stay on the right path and progress more confidently towards more promising futures.

For each small slice of time that we can donate, the returns are exponential. We are immensely grateful to Invictus Institute for reaching out and initiating this, to Sapna for executing it, and to all the tutors who are donating their valuable time and effort, and making a permanent positive change in these children’s lives.
If you would like to participate in this effort, please feel free to reach out us, we hope to add more tutors so we can reach all the children effectively. Our only requirements are fluency in Marathi or Hindi, and a commitment to spend an hour a week for the class plus time to create lesson plans.  And ofcouse, an appetite for some fun!
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