Sunday, 12 January 2014

INTRODUCTION TO VANDEMATARAM FOUNDATION, ANDHRA PRADESH

It was on the eve of the centenary year (2005) of the patriotic Vandemataram movement that Vandemataram Foundation (VMF) was launched as a registered Community development organisation with the Vision of “a noble society consisting of citizens with good character and patriotism brought upon through harmonious and sustainable cooperation between the Government Schools in the rural areas and the local community.” VMF is inspired by the ideals of Swami Vivekananda and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and aims at building a strong India by developing children in to responsible citizens with good moral values and character.

Vandemataram Foundation aims to realise its Vision by working with four major stakeholders viz.    
1)      Students studying in Government Schools
2)      Teachers employed in Government Schools
3)      Society, comprising of parents of the students the village communities and other well wishers
4)      Government, represented by Department of Education and other relevant agencies

Students :
a)      To provide quality education to the rural children
b)      To inculcate moral values and patriotism in them
c)      To provide them with academic support
d)     To strength their cultural ethos
e)      To promote education of girls, who are treated unequally by their parents and society
f)       To strive to instil the ideals and teachings of  Swami Vivekananda & Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam among the students
g)      To take up activities aimed at expanding their horizon.
Teachers :
a)      To awaken and orient them towards their responsibility for their students and society
b)      To supplement and encourage their efforts in teaching
c)      To take measures to recognize excellence & dedication among teachers.  
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We are presently working in more than 500 educationally under-developed villages spread over 16 mandals in Warangal, 2 mandals in Rangareddy, 7 mandals in Nalgonda, and 10 mandals in Mahabubnagar districts in Andhra Pradesh. We are being supported in our effort by many concerned individuals based within and outside India, widely respected organisations such as Ramakrishna Mission and a few corporates that feel a responsibility towards society and share our vision.

Vandemataram Foundation focuses on the government schools in the backward areas with the twin principles of extending academic and emotional support to the children, and strengthening the infrastructural facilities in the schools. Making a village school the nodal point, the Foundation builds a team consisting of village elders, youth and alumni of the school. These teams working in tandem with the parents and teachers of the school actively involve the students in various constructive and creative activities.

Bala Sanskara Kendra is the major tried-and-tested program of VMF for addressing the crucial issues of character development and educational attainment.

Bala Sanskara Kendra
We believe that our society can be transformed and a strong nation built only through individuals who have impeccable values and character. Such values are ideally inculcated in us in childhood so that we evolve over the years and develop a world view that serves the common good of humanity. The mother of the child and the teachers in the school play a dominant role in the child’s socializing process, as the young children not only spend most of their time with them but also look up to them for guidance and nurturing. Unfortunately, both these institutions – home and school - are falling short of their expected duties with respect to the young children as they are not able to provide an ideal role model for the child to emulate. Under these circumstances, not only the educational attainment of the children is poor, but they are also becoming passive individuals concerned only about their own selfish interests.

Through Bala Sanskara Kendra (BSK), we intend to fill this vital gap in the socialization process in the children and enable them to become better citizens so that they can build a better society. BSK will simultaneously address two crucial problems, viz.
·         Empowering the girl child
·         Instilling moral and ethical values among the children, by providing them with the required ‘sanskara’.

The volunteers who run these Kendra daily are needy young women who find it difficult to pursue their college education, because of the impoverished state of their families. They are provided a small stipend to meet the expenditure related to their travel to college, books, and examination fee. These young volunteers in turn pay back to the society by enabling the younger children in their neighbourhood to become better citizens through the various activities of the Kendra, which in turn will lead to creating a better and stronger nation. It empowers the woman volunteers by developing their leadership qualities and enhancing their confidence levels. They gain respect and support for their further education in their families, they obtain recognition in the village society for her invaluable help in making their children do better in their lives.

This program of VMF is complemented with a few selected academic activities (related to educational attainment) and institution building activities (aimed at promoting community’ ownership of their school). The former include, among others,
·         Aksharabhyaasam – aimed at enrolment of children (4 to 5 years age group) in schools at the beginning of the academic year and ensure their continuation in the school with the commitment of their parents and the village community
·         Vaatsalyapoorna – providing material and psychological support to orphans and needy children (5 to 15 years age group) of poor single parent families to continue their schooling
·         Mobile science-experimentation in the schools
·         Intensive residential preparation camps for class 10th examinations
·         Remedial classes with experts
·         Personality development program for nurturing leadership qualities among the students
·         Extra-curricular activities such as competitions (elocution, essay writing, sports), cultural and annual school day programs, excursion and exposure visits, Varadhi program for bridging the rural-urban divide

While the latter include, among others,
·         Akshara Deepavali to protect the school building and premises from anti-social elements, with the help of the civil society groups in the village
·         Raksha Bandhan to get the villagers promise to save and strengthen their school, through a door-to-door campaign by the students
·         Strengthening School Management Committees

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