How do we measure success for our work?

I have been pondering over this question over the last few months. Much like the rest of the not-for-profit sector, I am still trying to find an answer which satisfies me. Numbers won’t do. Classes conducted won’t do. It is the softer aspect of impact which counts.

As an organisation, we want to see “impact” on the children. And while we create strategies and measure the “impact”, there is another crucial element worth all the focus. The trained facilitators.

Our coaches come for humble backgrounds, they have grown up in Dharwad or nearby areas and gone through the Indian education system. They are a mix of professionals, home-makers, trained football coaches, vocalists and students.

When these coaches came to us three months ago, they came with their baggage – for them an ideal classroom has been children sitting quietly with the teacher talking. For them music classes focus exclusively on music and football on the sport. And our challenge was not only to help them develop the skills of an effective facilitator but also to unlearn the concept of an ideal class. Thus began our journey.

I still remember the awe on the face of some of the facilitators when a music game connected to problem solving. Or the aha expression when football was used to speak about conflict resolution. It was like their bubble popped open leading to a broadened world. While they quickly understood the program rationale and the concept of life-skills, breaking the mold of an ideal class was more of a challenge.

I still remember the first class I observed – the children were quiet and seated. Some of the Delhi coaches of Music Basti would have killed to be in a class like this. In the process, I wondered, what can be done to add more of a zing to the class. In came more games, more exercises, more engaging activities – not for the students but for the facilitators to understand how to generate “productive noise” in a classroom.

Visiting the classrooms of facilitators who you have trained can be a “butterflies in your stomach” kind of an experience. It is like taking an examination you will never write on your own, and yet will be graded. So earlier this month, when teams from Music Basti and Just for Kicks were visiting music and football classes respectively, I was excited for sure but a little bit nervous as well.

It was heartening to know that the coaches are doing a great job. They have picked up facilitation skills and taken the right tools into their classrooms. The students are engaged, talking, asking questions and actively participating through the class. They are listening and responding to the coaches.

The coaches are being facilitators for majority of the class time. However, one crucial feedback which struck a cord with me was the confidence level of the coaches themselves. In the last three months, we have seen all of them break out of a shell and find a strong foothold for themselves as creators and facilitators in the classroom.

Yes there are challenges – some of the classes still lack energy; we need more positive re-enforcement in the classroom; we need to focus more on the “fun” elements of the class, but the feedback from the dynamic training team of Music Basti and Just for Kicks has been a great propeller.

Defining success may take some time for a new organisation like ours, but currently I see success in the form of impact we have had on the coaches. And that is the best festive season gift for us as social sector professionals

-Reha Bublani, Head Curriculum

 

 

 

 

Thank you, our wonderful donors!

It has just been two months since the start of our Leadership through Lego program in Dharwad. But as the word got around, we received quite a few sets of this wonderful game as gifts for the children.

Building blocks can help children learn a lot of  important life skills like creativity and teamwork. And our program aims to use this medium to help children develop strong leadership skills and a responsible and caring attitude for their communities.

Last week we received a new set of Lego games from Arpan Mahajan of Lucknow, India through an Amazon wishlist.  In addition to this, we also received donations from people in Atlanta and New Orleans, United States.

A big thanks to all the wonderful donors who have sent us these lovely gifts – they go a long way into turning our dream to reality!

Just for Kicks turns six!

This year our partner Just for Kicks have achieved a new milestone – completing six years of their unique football leadership programs in India.

 

Six years ago, the founders of Just for Kicks – Neha Sahu and Vikas Plakkot – had envisioned “a world where all children played freely and enjoyed themselves,  while also developing life skills, including basic values, character, leadership skills and an understanding of themselves and their surroundings”.

 

Click here to read about Just For Kicks’ incredible journey and how it all began, or watch the video below.

 

Video: Music Basti starts its fifth year of ReSound program

 

Music Basti’s fifth year starts with a beautiful song being learnt by children of SDMC schol in South Delhi! This year more than 50% of Music Basti students are in the 6-9 age group.

 

 

Working with this younger age group comes with many joys and challenges. We are excited to learn more about working with younger students and to see the impacts of early music interventions.

Music Basti’s Annual Concert ReSound 2017

Our partner Music Basti, a Delhi-based non-profit working for children from marginalized and underserved communities and schools, has completed another year of successful operations with their annual ReSound concert that was held in the Garden of Five Senses on Sunday, 26th February 2017.

 

The concert represents a year-long effort of Music Basti’s teachers and staff members who work with at-risk children in schools around Delhi, nurturing in them the essential life skills of creativity, leadership and confidence through fun-filled music classes.

This year’s concert had eight schools participating, and twelve original song compositions – which were composed by the children themselves. The atmosphere was quite electric as children performed on a big stage accompanied by their musician teachers playing on professional music instruments.

The theme of the concert was ‘Peace’ and each song reflected the virtues of peace, friendship and dreams of a better future. “All through the year children are learning and progressing. But this annual concert is the one big thing they all look forward to – an opportunity to perform live in front of a large audience. It gives a tremendous boost to their confidence,” says Faith Gonsalves of Music Basti.

 

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Music Basti partners with existing community organisations or schools to run weekly music classes for children and adolescents. The classes are fun, engaging and designed to nurture leadership, creativity, self-confidence and teamwork.

Music Basti’s work has many admirers already, with musicians like Ehsaan Noorani and Vishal Dadlani pledging their support and donating musical instruments to this cause. However, in terms of funding it’s still a long way to go to be able to take the program to more children.

“There is obviously a huge need to reach out to more and more children who do not have access to quality education. And our method has proven results – children not only benefit with music skills, they also especially enhance critical skills in the areas of confidence, collaboration and team work and creativity,” says Gonsalves.

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