Dommasandra: Where hope grows!
The Dommasandra cluster is the home to 14 Government schools which fall under four-gram panchayats and each of these schools is unique in its own sense though they have limited resources. This cluster is headed by a very capable Cluster Resource Person (CRP), Ms. Bharathi. She is a dynamic young lady and has been very supportive of our initiative here.
Small steps to a new beginning: The Dommasandra cluster has been blessed with motivated teachers and a determined CRP who is always willing to extend the needed support. Therefore we as a team felt that it was important to begin our journey in the cluster by building strong personal relationships. We believe that there is no other better way to do it than interacting with teachers and students personally on a regular basis. Hence, we worked towards making the teachers comfortable with conversations about their daily life, the challenges that they face, their achievements etc. This helped us enrich our understanding of their journeys through these schools in the cluster and to empathize with them. We are working hard at gaining trust because we feel that it is an important factor to be able to bring about change.
After a few initial visits in the cluster, we brainstormed as to where do we begin, to get a better picture of the schools. We focused on learning about the contribution of the existing resources to an enabling learning environment and understand the resources that the schools needed in order to function better. This helped us put down the infrastructural needs of the school. A constant interaction with the teachers and basic observations helped us a lot. It was not a smooth journey in few of the schools as the teachers were initially apprehensive as to why we were doing this. With time, we were able to convince them that it was to help them improve their schools and their support is crucial to the success of the initiative. We also tried to create transparency by sharing the data collected with the schools. Owing to all these attempts, the relationship with all the school teachers has become much better now.
We also managed to be a part of a few School development and management committee meetings where we got an opportunity to interact with parents and other stakeholders. We discussed some of the important issues that the school was facing and how their support can help the schools function better. The team also participated in the Gram Sabha that was organized by the Yamare panchayat which helped us understand the systemic approach a little better. This also gave us an idea about the mindsets and expectations of the people involved in the system.
While thinking through what could be a tangible outcome to help get everyone involved in the cluster together? We came up with the idea of making the existing cluster resource center functional. As a result, through a joint effort by Mantra and the CRP, we have finally started our work towards reviving the Cluster Resource Centre. The center is currently being revamped with fresh paint and the walls are being covered with inspirational paintings.
We are grateful to our volunteers from Christ University for helping us out with this.
The next step for us is making the center efficient and functional so that teachers can use it for their needs. The center will also have computers which will help the teachers to upload the necessary data directly instead of going to a cyber center. We are positive that the cluster resource center will provide a platform for all the teachers to come together, share their learnings and solve the problems that they face on a daily basis. To celebrate the occasion, we have organized a small informal session at the cluster resource center on the 15th of July, 2017.
We hope this acts as a catalyst in the process of Cluster Transformation and inspires the teachers to explore their potential. We are looking forward to the changes that will come our way going further. Stay tuned to know more!
-Written by Shalini Nair, Design Lead, Mantra4Change