Children and Youth
Children and youth continue to take the largest space in our programming. By starting development, critical thinking, confidence building at an early age, Akshara helps to change lives early on. Today, we have more than 500 children from khelgar to post-10th programming that are a regular part of our programme. This reach is transforming the communities we work with every day.
Though Akshara first started working with children and continues to do so, it has been able to make great strides in working with the women living in these villages to get access to more opportunities to change their own lives. We aim to give women the self-confidence to stand up for their rights and to raise their ability to lift their families out of poverty. We have also found that a conjunction of educating the child and the mother means that the child will find a much more supportive environment to continue their education and achieve independence.
We work with young adults in helping them get access to post-10th educational opportunities, including giving educational loans for them to attend vocational school or setting up businesses. We also provide counselling for young adult women who might have been victims of domestic abuse in helping them become financially independent from their families and to gain the self-confidence they need to achieve their dream.
As part of this, we are working with the UWC Mahindra College’s “Unsafe in Delhi but safe at 7000m” Campaign, which aims to train women who have been victims of violence to climb India’s highest mountains.
Tribal or Adivasi communities are often some of the most marginalized peoples in Indian society. After a thorough needs assessment, we are working with the Katakari Tribal Community to increase their independence and ability to access opportunities through education and training.
Volunteers are key to the Akshara programme. They embody our philosophy of learning from each other and with each other, in a spirit of mutual respect. Volunteers at Akshara work with the team and the local communities in a range of activities – teaching, community work, team activities (sports/outdoor activities), cultural exchange, arts and crafts. Volunteers may be from MUWCI (through the Triveni Programme), Akshara UWC, Oslo School (Norway), Netherlands Volunteers, SCM Association of Midwest Colleges or they may be students who are on campus as part of a cultural exchange programme. Every year, Akshara also hosts one long-term intern/volunteer who works more closely with us, full-time, for one whole academic year. Recently, two Outreach groups (from Oslo School, Norway and Hilversum School, Netherland) worked with us. Each group had approximately 15 students. They participated in different activities like, preparing teaching aids, bamboo furniture making, teaching, renovation of the community centre etc. Many volunteers also went for homestays in the local communities.