Education is one of the primary necessitates of children. And leading a way or enlightening them with education is the righteous thing one can do. Understanding the importance of being in shape, Biju Simon, through his NGO Ether India, is trying to educate the students at child care institutions to empower them. The organisation is currently focusing on teaching the children English through an entertaining way and preparing them to succeed in life.
“Ether India was started in January. ‘Ether’ means clear sky and it is one of the finest elements, too. There are mainly three aspects for the organisation, the three E’s: Education, Empowerment and Engagement. Currently, we are concentrating on orphanages based in Thiruvananthapuram, but we would like to shift our focus to other parts of Kerala and then all over India,” says Biju Simon, who graduated last year from Kanthari, an institution which trains people in skills essential to start their own social projects. He’s also a faculty in Kanthari.
Biju says there’s a reason why he selected orphanages for his venture. He states that majority of the society thinks of the children in orphanages as troublemakers. He believes that their potential can be polished well through proper guidance and their progress will change the outlook of the society. “As per the Juvenile Justice Act, the children in orphanages are classified into two: the ones who need care and protection and the ones who are in conflict with the law. The society always has the picture of the second category. In my personal experience, these children have enormous potential and are good creative thinkers. They can handle any situation very well. What they lack is proper guidance. We should make them capable of analysing a situation, understanding the right and the wrong, and working accordingly. We should supply the tools and guide them. It’s an effort to make them understand that their life has just begun and the sky is the limit.”
Considering the three E’s they stress on, they had conducted surveys at many orphanages to understand the academic excellence of children, their areas of interests, problems they face, and also analysed the institution’s efforts and shortcomings. He says they understood that Science, Maths and English were the main subjects that were troubling them. That’s how they designed a language process called ‘Fun Lingua’. “The idea is to teach them English in an easy way. There will be a three-day workshop and the mode of communication will be Manglish. Most of the children introduce themselves in Malayalam. They will be asked to write stories, write morals on the games they played etc. The result is that they get rid of their inhibitions and starts gaining confidence.” The next step is their induction to the ‘Fun Lingua’ club. The children are divided into groups of 10 and every group will have a representative. The words they study every week are used for making sentences and every week they will interact with one o
f their staffs. Biju affirms soon they will be focusing on functional grammar, communication development etc.
Empowerment deals with shaping the skills of children. “The students have many inborn talents. Many will be talented in cooking, stitching, craft making, driving, filmmaking etc. We will be organising workshops on many of these. The performance of the children will be noted and analysed. It is basically giving them the boost to sharpen their skills. In Engagement, they will be given proper training on the skills they excel. We will also help in networking and providing enough assistance in achieving their dreams.” They are currently making the curriculum for Science and Maths....