Corporate Social Responsibility
What is Gyanada Foundation?
Gyanada Foundation is a trust registered under Indian Trust Act 1882. It was founded in August 2013 and the operations started in January 2014.
Gyanada Foundation was started to address the problem of underprivileged girls dropping out of school disproportionately. We work to level the playing field for the least privileged in our society — girls from backgrounds where the average household income is not more thanINR 9000. We get them to school, keep them there, and then we layer on additional services that can reduce the learning gap between them and their better-off peers.
We have supported 137 girl children from financially under resourced backgrounds in Kolkata, Ranchi, Delhi, Pune and Mumbai to go budget private schools. We have 12 tribal girls in Ranchi who have passed out of Gyanada Scholarship program and all of them continue to pursue academics. The oldest three girls are pursuing BA honours in Political Science and History. They have now become role models for their community, inspiring and supporting more girls to continue schooling and pursuing dreams and aspirations.
Wetrack all the beneficiaries throughout, we conduct home and school visits, academic and social updates and documentation under the program to ensure that we are able to provide support to ensure every child finishes school.
Our beneficiaries are primarily first-generation learners between the age group 8 to 15 years who attend Hindi, Semi-English and English medium schools. This means that the educational background of their parents is bleak with most parents having either basic primary school education or having not attended school at all. As a result, the mode of thought and expression (oral and written) of the children are directed in ways that kill their creativity, interest, and joy for learning altogether as a young child. This restricts their ability to comprehend by focusing only on rote memorization and their vocabulary is limited to words generally used in the community parlance or among peers. This impacts their academic performance and their perception towards learning and education in the growing years leading to a high risk of students between class 8th and 10th performing lower than their aptitude and potential or dropping out of school altogether.
Hence we have expanded to include programs to help children from disadvantaged background to increase the scope of their learning, we understand we cannot provide short-term interventions to achieve our goals for the community. We have identified computer science as a necessary subject for our children, one that will positively impact their future in formal education as well as in vocational and professional opportunities.
Hence, our Binary Storyprogram aims to change the conversation to how students think, not what they think. The Binary Story is a program designed and deployed in under-resourced schools to introduce school children to Computer Science (CS) and its four pillars; Cognition, Creativity, Coding and Confidence in order to develop the attributes of real-world problem-solving in the students.
We conducted our first workshop in August 2015, with 15 vernacular medium students, the fundamentals to computer programming using a world-class software named Scratch, developed by MIT Media Labs. The success of this workshop translated into a 6-month pilot program with 12 street girls learning Scratch more intensively.
Binary Story is an outcome of the continued assessment and learnings we had gained while doing our pilot program to introduce students to the realm of computer programming.
Computer science fosters proactive learning among students and enables them to approach and apply their knowledge, skills in realms beyond the immediate context in which they are learned. Hence we have purposely not focused solely on reproducing large blocks of code but rather breaking down the modules into ‘skill training sessions’ While many non-profits and for-profit organizations have organized code camps, hackathons and boot camps in urban areas (often as summer camps), our approach is a holistic computational training program.
We have designed our model on the following principles: (1) community engagement (2) comprehensive curriculum (3) no ‘tech solutionism’.
Over a period of 3 years, we aim to deliver a curriculum that covers sufficient material that will take them from ‘zero’ to ‘possessing a working understanding of programming to continue at the tertiary level’.
We are currently working with 108 students in 4 schools and 1 non-profit in Mumbai.
Kolakata NGO’s Leadership Award 2017
Selected for the UNLTD’s Fellowship. Cohort – July 2018
Chirag is the Managing Trustee of Gyanada Foundation. Ashika supports the salary of one employee, provides working space and supports 5 girls under the Gyanada Scholarship Program.