Asha Kiran Society is committed to seeing young people be a blessing to their families and their communities.
Spoken English Course for potential Geriatric Aide Trainees
Asha Kiran Society is committed to seeing young people be a blessing to their families and their communities. We have worked hard to build basic literacy and numeracy for children from un-schooled families through our Multi-Lingual Education programme. Over the years we have also tried to tutor and encourage other young people through their government high school years and beyond.
Today we are on the verge of moving a step further. To see skilling of young people as a way of helping them blossom into who God made them to be. To explore platforms that can help young people contribute back to their communities by developing and using skills for livelihoods.
As part of this journey, we are so glad that Benita Dickson has joined us this year. She and Bapi Suna have recurited young women for a 6 month Geriatric Aides training course at Bangalore Baptist Hospital, to be followed with a 1 year paid internship. In order to help the 10 local young women candidates transition to the Geriatric Aides course, Benita and Liji Symon developed a "spoken English course" for the training candidates which we planned to hold as a 10 day residential training just before the candidates were to leave for Bangalore. We were glad that Tata Steel Downstream Ltd. sponsored the entire programme and thank Dr. Suzanne John from Bangalore Baptist Hospital for her unflagging encouragement!
The clouds of COVID-19 have meant that the Geritric Aides training has been postponed to August of this year - but our team went ahead and ran the spoken English course. We thus had our inaugural Spoken English course from the 16th to 29th of April, just before the Odisha Lockdown was annouced!
The classes were handled by different teachers from Asha Kiran Academy (Mrs. Susan Mathews, Ms. Krupa Thomas, Ms. Rachel, Mrs. Christa) and our Community Education Staff (Mrs. Liji Simon, Ms. Benita). The days were packed - with classes starting at 8:00 AM and finising at 8:00 PM every day. Apart from the English lessons, the girls were also involved in role plays, reading and listening skills development, activities and games. We also had an exclusive class with Ms. Urmila - an Asha Kiran Hospital nurse - who taught each day in on commonly used medical equipment and terms. Every evening the young women were also given life skills education by Mrs. Sarah Victor in which they looked at identifying strengths and weaknesses, making right choices, building relationships, conflict resolution, stress management and time management.
The girls showed tremendous interest in studies and spent late nights and early mornings revising what was taught. Among the 6 girls, 4 were able to understand English fairly and also started to speak a little. Two girls were finding it difficult to catch up though they put in their best efforts.
Padmini (seen in right side picture), was one chirpy girl who attended the class. She loved dancing. She was able to grasp and speak English quickly although she struggled a bit with the spellings. On talking to her we understood that she is from a very poor family who struggle to have three meals a day. She has a sick mother who cannot do any work on her own. Since their family has settled in a new village, they are treated with hostility.
Due to her family situation, Padmini could not continue her studies and dropped out in her 12th standard. She plans to pay half her fees for the geriatric aide course from a scholarship amount received from the government. She hopes that her family would be able to raise the remaining by the time she finishes the course. We sincerely hope that she would be able to go to Bangalore, complete the course and get some employment through which she can help her family.
Sunadei, was silent and hardworking. You can always see her with the book whenever she got a break. She was always the topper in all the tests conducted in the classes. She does not have a father and is survived by her mother and two sisters. Her younger sister and herself had to drop out of their education after their 7th and 12th standards because of poverty. She hopes to complete the geriatric aide course and support her mother and sister financially.
We were so excited and thrilled to see all the changes in these young lives during the 14 days of classes. We hope that these girls would be able to go to Bangalore Baptist Hospital as soon as possible and bring about positive changes in their family and society.