Inspired by the concept of ‘Building as a Learning Aid,’ ‘Samarathya Shaala,’ is a specially-designed classroom where children can play, learn and safely dream in. The space has been designed to cater to the unique learning needs of children in street- situations, currently studying under Rag Dreams' Weavers Association's Learning Mentorship Program. Among these children, 60% beg for their survival, 20% support their families through labour, and 20% run small businesses on the street. They have never attended any formal schooling.
The classroom's research, design, and construction undertook a strictly participatory process with the children being consulted at each stage. Ownership has been actively developed in the children. This is their space.
The objectives of the space include:
To create a holistic learning environment that caters to the primary education, and 21st Century skills learning needs of street-connected children with no access to formal education
To provide RDWA mentors with spatial tools to help customize solutions for each child's unique inquiries and challenges, and thus ensure that all students receive equitable knowledge despite their different learning requirements (as compared to generic rote learning which does not prove useful.)
To inculcate ownership within the children about this ‘classroom’ by involving them across stages of development and execution, so that they too may experience 'belonging' and ownership as other, more privileged sections of society do.
Glimpses from the launch of Samarthya Shaala, and all the interventions it offers.
The construction of the project has been funded by the Saint Gobain Grants Program 2021- 22 in association with Ethos which was won by our Project Leads Mallika Gupta and Sagar Sisodia in February 2022. It was developed at the Aligarh Junction Railway Station with the support of Bharat Scouts and Guides, and North-Central Railways.
Project Lead: Mallika Gupta
Lead Artists: Anshi, Sachin Kumar
Team: Anindya, Saachi, Rishabh, Himanshu, Saumya, Priya, Poonam, Upasna, Neelima, Sweta