India’s 70th Independence Day

Happy Independence Day!

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Leading up to our official celebration of India’s 70th Independence Day, the AIC Education Centre was brimming with excitement and patriotism all of last week. Staff and visitors alike were treated to unofficial concerts and mini performances as classes rehearsed their songs and dances to practice for the big day. Meanwhile, teachers spent time organizing activities like flag-making to gear up for the main event and squeeze in a lesson on Indian history and civics. Read more…

The results are in…

…and the AIC kids have done us proud!

Earlier this month, AIC students and staff logged into an online portal with breathless anticipation to check the results of standard 10 board exams. For those unfamiliar with the Indian education system, board exams are secondary school completion exams that are taken after grade 10. The scores from these exams are extremely important in determining eligibility for junior college, university, and other higher education opportunities, hence we take them pretty seriously here at AIC.

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One of AIC’s 10th standard classes, with staff (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)

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The AIC difference

Little Priya, affectionately known as Piyu, is 3 years old and just completed the year-long playgroup program in April. She will now be starting nursery school in June. Recently, we sat down with her mother to discuss her feelings about AIC, the playgroup program, and the Waghri community with which AIC works.

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)

Priya at playgroup (© Sarah Lauzé Photography)

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A New Beginning and a Fond Goodbye

February was a busy month here at AIC, with a new class being launched and a bittersweet farewell to one of our longtime staff and friends. Madhavi has been with our team for nearly 3 years as the Health Outreach Director, and has been such a blessing during her time here. She is leaving not by choice, but for medical reasons, and wishes to stay connected with the AIC community as much as she can. Madhavi’s last day on site was one filled with a surprise party, many tears, and even more laughter. She stated that, “it is a day I will cherish forever, to see all four aspects of AIC represented in one room, all come together to appreciate and acknowledge the work I have done. I felt such a sense of accomplishment in that moment, to see everyone there together.” 

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The Fight for Change

AIC team members had no idea that Thursday, February 18th, would be a particularly eventful day when they prepared to head into work that morning. However, around 8:45, Education Program Director, Bunty received a call from teachers at Krantiveer Lahuji Vastad Salve E-Learning School (a nearby government school where 34 AIC students are enrolled) informing her that several AIC students were believed to have been involved in a theft earlier in the week.

SL-6621Since we are making an active effort to encourage families to take an increased role in their children’s educations, Bunty told the parents of the children in question to head to the school to get more details, and that she would be over shortly to sort things out. Read more…

My Children will be Different

Happy International Day of the Girl Child! As everyone who is familiar with AIC undoubtedly knows, the rights and education of girls are central to the work that we do. Although change is happening slowly within the Waghri and Sikligar communities, women and girls still bear the brunt of inequality, violence, illiteracy, malnutrition, child marriage, and early parenthood.

One such girl is Archana, a student in AIC’s Education Program, who has decided to speak publicly about her experiences fleeing her husband earlier this year.

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Archana in 2008

Archana was a student in AIC’s Education Outreach Program from late 2007 to mid-2012 when her parents covertly arranged her marriage. Read more…

A Child who Reads Becomes an Adult who Thinks

International Literacy Day, according to UNESCO, is a day to celebrate and promote literacy, a “basic human right and fundamental building block for learning as well as a personal empowerment tool.”

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As the underlying themes that underpin our work are the education, cultivation, and empowerment of the next generation of Waghri and Sikligar community members, this occasion is quite significant for us here at AIC. Read more…

The Gift of Water

This spring, our Education Centre received a tremendous gift: clean, pure drinking water. The preciousness of this gift cannot be understated. Reliable water connections are hard to come by in the slum area that is home to our Education Centre, and the water that flows through the government water pipes is of dubious quality and cleanliness.

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Although we had relied on a water filter to provide clean drinking water, Read more…

Catching up with Geeta

IMG_0042Since August, many people have asked how things are going for Geeta, one of AIC’s oldest Residential Program children, at her new school in Germany. This week, we we finally managed to pin down this busy girl for a little blog “interview” about her new life, her favorite things and hardest parts of living abroad, and her future plans. Enjoy!

Hey Geeta! Tell us what you’re up to these days.

[Laughs] That’s sort of a vague question, but okay…I started my college, Robert Bosch United World College, in Germany. I got a full scholarship and I’ll be attending for two years. I’m really enjoying my time at UWC interacting with students from all over the world. Read more…

Hip Hop Needs More Love

In October, volunteers from Austria came to Pune to work on a music project with our Residential Program children during the Diwali break. For two weeks you could hear the kids rehearsing their lines, and the boys’ room was modified to function as an informal sound studio – basically a cupboard with a lot of blankets, mattresses, and a microphone.

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