Apart from the regular programs, Sparsha Trust has four major annual events that are inter-connected in their own way and follow a sequence of yearly activities from June to May.
At Sparsha Trust, the children are at the core of each activity, right from identification to mainstreaming. These four events are not only closely connected to activities between identification and mainstreaming, but also with those who have come forward to support the children in many ways.
The process of identification of children in need of care, shelter and protection is an on-going one, and as such type of children are identified, based on various criteria. Sparsha Trust enrolls them in one of its day care centres, or open shelters or residential multi-dimensional development centres. From day one, depending upon their background and level, they begin to engage in the process of learning and participating in various activities leading up to these events. These events track the journey and the transformation of each child.
Friends of Sparsha
Friends of Sparsha was initiated by one of our committee member Mr. Andrew Tanner in 2014, in order to mobilize support for Nisarga Grama. Planned as a 500 children capacity residential shelter with multi-dimensional development activities, the shelter was in need of large-scale funding.
This event was conceived to bring together corporates, organizations/institutions and individuals interested in supporting the project.
Since then, Friends of Sparsha has become an annual event organized by Sparsha Trust team to thank and felicitate its supporters, without whom the organization and its projects would not have come this far.
During the event, Sparsha Trust gratefully acknowledges the support of the supporters, talks about its achievements and planned future projects. It is also a forum for the funders and supporters to interact with the children who perform many cultural items for the guests.
During this event, many new supporters as well as long term supporters speak about their association with Sparsha Trust, and appreciate the changes in the children. They share their feedback and suggestions to make these programmes better. The sense of bonding between the sponsors and supporters increases as Friends of Sparsha provides the opportunity for personal interaction between the team, supporters and the children.
Joy of Learning
Children living in very difficult circumstances – street children, children facing abuse, children forced into begging, rag picking or engaged in different types of work are identified by Sparsha Trust and then enrolled into any of its programmes such as contact points, day care centres, open shelters or residential programmes.
When they join our programmes, their day begins by engaging in productive and meaningful activities such as book reading, bridge education classes, engaging in sports, games, art and craft. Through the Jnana Mitra library, children begin by reading simple and short stories and then progress to different types of stories which motivate them to become regular readers. As book reading improves their vocabulary, language and reading skills, they are better prepared to join formal education at a later stage.
From 2009 to 2012, Sparsha Trust organized Prathibha Protsaha to encourage the talents of these children. From 2013, it has become Joy of Learning, which was based on the lines of Prathibha Protsaha and in addition included many more activities. As the children are engaged in various activities through the yearthat - is from June to January, their specific area of talent and interest starts becoming noticeable.
Joy of Learning is an opportunity to celebrate the synergy of children’s learning and their talents. It is a joy for the parents, community members, stakeholders, team members and the supporters to see the children share their experiences about the various books they have read and engage in various song and dance programmes, science activities and sports.
About 350-400 children participate from various programs of Sparsha with confidence as there are no age barriers. A child of 6 years can participate in the same event as does a 17 years old which removes any fear in these children. The event bonds the staff and the children from the different centres.
Joy of Learning’s attendees includes key dignitaries, volunteers and old students who have supported Sparsha Trust in different ways over the years.
The annual summer camp is conducted by Sparsha Trust for about 250 to 300 children in April-May each year for 30 days. The main objective of the summer camp is to provide the participating children an opportunity to learn skills they do not normally get in their daily life due to their circumstances. The Summer Camp is planned in such a way that the children learn various subjects with an active participation. The children who attend the camp include school dropouts, those from poor and migrant families, and those forced into rag-picking and begging.
A lot of planning goes behind scheduling the various activities for the monthlong Summer Camp. The camp is successful in motivating the children to participate in different events with enthusiasm, building self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-discipline in each child. The events include cultural programmes, sports programmes, music, arts related sessions. Children learn many things related to mathematics, science, computers, English and general knowledge subjects through various activities. They themselves organize many of the events. The Summer Camp also invites experts to conduct various sessions.
The event also encourages volunteer engagement from different companies/organizations and individuals with specific skills and focus. During these 30 days of Summer Camp, employees from companies such as Walmart, Kennametal, First American India, IBM, Consero take part by working with Sparsha team. Sparsha Trust identifies their skills and allots trainers to these children.
My steps towards education (Nanna Nade Shaale Yadege)
From June to April, the children are engaged in various activities due to which they are prepared to join mainstream school system. My steps towards education, marks the conclusion of the monthlong Summer Camp. Organized on its last day, it marks their entry point to formal education, in the presence of government officials, school principals/ head masters and teachers.
Each year, about 150 to 200 dropout children and those who have never gone to school join schools, after having gone through the empowering experience of it’s various programmes. It is also the day in which the children showcase all they have learnt during the month long summer camp. Thus, the invitees see and experience for themselves the preparedness of the children as they recite tables upto 50 or more, read in Kannada, Hindi or English and demonstrate their command over general knowledge and other learnings.
The program, which is organized with the support marks the entry of children of different shelter homes and day care centres of Sparsha Trust to enter formal schools.
The dignitaries, supporters and volunteers who attend the function appreciate the work done by Sparsha Trust team and volunteers to bring in non-enrolled and school dropout children to the mainstream of schooling since 2009 and working for their future.
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