We are back with another inspirational story! We are pleased to write about Diksha Foundation. Diksha is influencing the society with their unique style of education for children and youth from low-income background in Bihar. Here is the full story of Diksha Foundation:
Manzil has played a critical role in the journey of many educational start-ups. One such organization is Diksha Foundation based in Bihar. Diksha runs three learning centres- two in Bihar, in Patna and Nalanda, and another one in New Delhi. Diksha’s founding team visited Manzil for the first time in summer of 2010. They found the experience very inspiring and decided to create a place similar to Manzil in Bihar.
Shyamlika Krishna, the Project Manager, shared, "Diksha’s focus area is holistic education and our motto is learning with fun. Our vision is to make education accessible for the children and the youth from low-income communities. 350 children and youth study at our learning centres in Patna, Nalanda and Delhi; the centres are equipped with resources like books, computers and tablets”.
Diksha makes consistent efforts to bridge the digital divide and introduce the children to computer technology and audio visual tools. These centres are creative, inclusive and vibrant learning spaces. Along with educational lessons, the children are encouraged to participate actively in games, sports and other engaging activities. Along the lines of Manzil, Diksha classes are organised on four subjects such as. Maths, English, Computers and Hindi.
Diksha has a culture of creativity and innovation, and they have come up with some best practices to make education more inclusive.
Open House Meeting:
Open House Meeting is a platform for debate and discussion where students and teachers get together and reflect on the activities of the centre. The meetings are held on a monthly basis at Diksha's centres. This programme witnesses high level of participation from the children and serves as a planning and reflection tool for the learning community.
The spirit of democracy shall strengthen when it is made stronger at the roots. Bal Sansad (Children Parliament) is a platform designed with the vision to inculcate democratic values in the “leaders of tomorrow”. Diksha members elect the members of the parliament annually. It is a children led programme, and the students elect their ministers and other office bearers who participate in the smooth running of the learning centre. The parliamentary process encourages ownership and develops leadership skills in the children. This initiative covers the civic aims of education as it encourages the learners to practice democracy. The goal is to help the students become active citizens and develop a positive mindset towards political participation.
Index for Inclusion:
Diksha is also experimenting with the Index for Inclusion, a manual developed by Prof Tony Booth, University of Cambridge. The index manual helps in creating an inclusive environment in schools and learning spaces so that each child gets to fully participate in the learning process. The Index helps the teachers in becoming aware of various dimensions of inclusion, deepening their perspective on educational issues and understanding that different children have different needs and addressing the learning difficulties that can be identified using the questions/indicators specified in the manual.
The migration of children to different locations is the major challenge being faced by Diksha. Other struggles include early childhood marriage, child labour and the health and nutrition of the learners. Earlier they also faced problems with parental and community involvement but they have addressed the same with regular visits to parents home and monthly meetings with the community.
Currently, in partnership with the National Innovation Foundation (NIF), Diksha organises an Ignite Campaign which aims at discovering the "out of the box element" in every child. The organization holds the Ignite Campaign in over 200 schools per year reaching out to 10,000 children from government schools and low-cost private schools. Six children from Bihar have received the Ignite Award from the President of India for their innovative and creative ideas.
Diksha receives support through a contribution from individual donors. They also receive support from international donors like Asha for Education and Rotary Club. Their corporate donors include MediaGuru, Bank of India and Punjab National Bank. National Innovation Foundation is the government donor partner for the Ignite campaign. Manzil’s co-founder, Ravi Gulati, is an Advisory Board Member of Diksha and has been guiding the organization for the past five years.
By Dikasha’s great work towards the quality education to underprivileged children, we are extremely proud to see that Manzil is actually spreading his ideas and values through Diksha in other places.
We wish Diksha Best of Luck and wish that they will be extending their work in other places and will keep making a difference in children lives.