Bangalore is a city of 8.5 million people in Southern India. It’s the “IT capital”, and well-known for its greenery, culture, cuisine, and thriving entrepreneurial space. This is contrasted by the poverty of its slums, with a large number of less-privileged communities. VIDYA believes we can harness Bangalore’s positive trends by starting young– that means providing children and youth with relevant education in academics, skills and values. As is the VIDYA way, we also work with underprivileged women, and we’re convinced in their ability to be both empowered individuals and effective drivers of social change.
Beyond School Program
Like similar programs in other cities, VIDYA Bangalore’s “Beyond School Program” has made a significant difference in the lives of the students of government schools located in South Bangalore. Since its inception in the year 2010, 3000 students from Classes 6 – 10 have benefited through this program. Currently, the “Beyond School Program” provides English, Computers and Life skill training for the students of four government schools – Arekere Govt. Higher Primary School, East End Govt. High School, Sri Champakadhama Swamy Govt. High School and SR Nagar Govt. High School, supported by Synergy Property Development Services Pvt. Ltd. Most of the students are first generation learners and have shown a lot more enthusiasm in learning and many students are now continuing their higher studies in reputed schools and colleges, who otherwise would have discontinued their studies. The Beyond School Program aims at building a foundation of confidence, creativity and the right attitude for learning.
The VIDYA Scholarship Program was started in the year 2012 with the primary objective of giving the Beyond School students an opportunity to continue their education beyond class 10. Education beyond class 10 is expensive and not incentivised! At the same time, it is the only gateway to economic liberation for aspiring students. The VIDYA Scholarship Program in partnership with our donors – Societe Generale, Synergy Properties Dev. Pvt. Ltd. and AIG, provides scholarship support for the students to continue their education at Pre-University, Under graduation, Engineering and Vocational training courses. Currently 64 students are getting benefitted under the Scholarship Program with two of our students pursuing their Engineering degree. The first batch of UG scholarship students will graduate in the year 2017. Our alumni 22 scholarship students who have completed the vocational ITI training are now working in reputed organizations.
We’ve seen that women are often the most affected in an less-privileged community, but we find that they’re also the ideal agents of change. This is because they are usually the main caregivers in the family, and can influence their children greatly. This is why VIDYA places great importance on helping women gain economic independence, either by helping monetize skills they already have or enabling proficiency in a marketable skill in demand.
The VIDYA Bhagini center at Mali Foundation in Whitefield, Bangalore was founded in 2012, with incalculable help from Ms Rekha Rao, Executive Chairperson of The Mali Trust. Here, we cater to the needs of less privileged women and girls by providing accommodation, vocational training and a community where they can feel they belong.
As with most VIDYA programs, we teach them English, Computer skills and Life skills.
Bhagini is also the headquarters of our Driving, Jewelry Making, and Yoga training initiatives for women.
We have successfully completed 6 batches of our programs here, and the centre has grown and is working towards finding students suitable jobs.
These programs are headquartered at the VIDYA Bhagini Women’s Center.
There is a massive demand for women drivers in Bangalore, and VIDYA has taken a great first step in meeting it.
We aim to teach less-privileged women to be professional drivers, which will help them become economically independant.
Our course is taught by certified driving teachers. It also covers other important aspects of training and women’s issues, such as self-defence, etiquette training, confidence building, dealing with physical abuse, dealing with emotional abuse, road safety and civic sense.
All 10 female students from the first batch of driving classes passed the test.
Two dedicated volunteers, Thembi and Roni, are now running a jewelery-making program at Mali to train students from APSA, Bangalore to make jewelery with marketable quality.
Yoga is an ancient Indian system of spirituality and physical fitness that is now popular world-over.
The yoga program at the Mali Center is headed by a team from the highly reputable Total Yoga school founded by Manish Pole. They help distressed women and girls combat physical and emotional challenges with yoga.
To less-privileged youth, academic failure is life-shattering in a way that is hard for most of us to imagine. Yet, it happens often, because of the dire lack of quality education, resources and opportunities available to them. They typically do not have the means to find alternative paths or second chances.
VIDYA Bangalore has initiated a NIOS-based program to give youth that second chance. The program offers personalized training to students in each subject, along with additional classes on life skills, IT skills and English proficiency.
Temporary classrooms for this program were built with support from Sackhumvit trust.
English proficiency significantly improves employability. Moreover, mastery of the current trade language of the world instills the confidence to go out there and do the things you want.
But India is a country of many diverse and widely spoken languages, and Spoken English is an uphill task for many who don’t have it as a medium of education. The aim of this program is to improve communication skills in English to the level where professional conversations can be carried with ease. The course caters to the differing needs of students who are at differing levels of proficiency.
IT skills are imperative for most modern careers, and even beginner-level roles in workplaces require familiarity with using a computer.
But IT skills aren’t just for employability—they give underprivileged populations access to the wealth of information on the internet, and exposure to the rest of the world. A number of the problems that plague these communities, like hygiene and gender issues, are partially because of lack of exposure.
VIDYA provides basic and advanced computer courses.