“Change in the educational landscape is slow but definite. All one needs is to believe that it is inevitable and work towards achieving it.”
What marks the beginning of change? Well, when people believe that it is possible and start acting towards it. We witnessed this beautiful process at our Dommasandra cluster on 7th, 2017 when the appointed members of the Voluntary Committee (Committee of people who chose to be a part of the group to drive the changes in the cluster) came together for a meeting. Read the blog on how this Voluntary Committee was formed.
The agenda was to brainstorm and identify initiatives and ways in which they can improve their cluster as a “team”. The focus was also on sharing the progress so far and discuss the possible way ahead. This meeting was organized after school hours and it was a sheer joy to see all the members voluntarily staying back for it. The gathering was headed by Ms. Bharathi Sudarshan, CRP (Cluster Resource Person) of the Dommasandra cluster.
With the voluntary committee in place, we already had people on board for this wonderful journey of change. New members, who were passionate to contribute to the cause and felt they could mobilize resources through their network, joined the committee. The Mantra team gave an update on the work completed in the cluster, like painting in schools by volunteers from Christ University, installation of new water filters and repair of the existing ones and other small infrastructural works that were identified as immediate needs of the schools in the cluster.
As the discussion progressed, the members felt that the voluntary committee needed a name that was inspiring enough to convey the message of collective and collaborative partnerships in the cluster. The members then started brainstorming. The process was a pure wonder to behold. The way the members were discussing and suggesting names, showed the amount of ownership they had for the committee. After a lot of discussion and debates, “Jeeva Dhaare” meaning “Life Line” was chosen. The members unanimously agreed that the committee would be the lifeline of the current system taking the change forward.
Now with the name sorted, it was time to think of ways to make the communication easier for the group members and what better way than technology! So, a WhatsApp group was created on the spot and everyone was added. The next step was to decide the dates of the periodic meetings. It was mutually agreed that the members would meet once on the 4th Saturday of every month to discuss the progress. In case of departmental holidays or emergency, it would shift to the 3rd Saturday. In order to ensure 100% participation from all members, it was decided that the meeting would be organised after school hours.
One of the key decisions taken in the meeting was deciding the selection criteria for new members. The people willing to be a part of the group need to be committed and willing to contribute towards cluster improvement process. The Jeeva Dhaare would avoid adding members with political links as it might divert the purpose of the initiative.
Other discussions were around the projects that were to be carried out in the coming months in the cluster. For this, the committee decided to approach potential agencies to seek to fund for the same. Apart from this, on the academic front, the group planned to organize a one day workshop on making English Teaching Learning materials (TLMs) for all Nali Kali teachers in the cluster. This would be facilitated by resource persons from the cluster at our very own, revived Cluster resource center.
At the end, all the members left feeling motivated and with a sense of achievement. Something at this level would be unimaginable without the constant hard work of our field team at Dommasandra. It shows the amount of trust gained by them in the last couple of months.
We believe that this is just the beginning of a wonderful journey towards Change. If we were to put it in the lines of Mr. Robert Frost,
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and we—
We took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
Indeed, we have miles to go before any impact would be visible. Until then, we will continue joining hands with such like-minded people who believe in the possibility of change.
-Written by Ms. Shalini Nair, Design Lead, Mantra4Change