By early 2009, our English-medium trial group had managed to exceed everyone’s expectations by becoming star pupils in their kindergarten class. At this point we realized that it was certainly possible for the children in our Education Outreach Program to succeed in rigorous private school environments alongside much more privileged children – it just required a great deal of support. Based on the academic achievements of our pilot group, the decision was made to permanently shift the program’s trajectory in the direction of English-medium education at local private schools.
In order to accomplish this, we established a before-school component of the program. This required a caregiver to pick up the English-medium children from their families every morning at the crack of dawn, bathe them, feed them breakfast, wash their uniforms, tie their hair ribbons and see them off to school. Although it was a huge investment of time and manpower, such an intensive level of support was necessary because private schools are quite particular about appearance, cleanliness and general presentation and none of the children of Kamraj Nagar had running water in their houses or a secure food source.
2009 was a year of steady growth in all respects – by the end of the year, the Education Outreach Program was comprised of 150 students, ranging in age from four to seventeen, the Health Outreach Program looked after the health needs of 500 men, women and children, and our Community Outreach Program’s catchment area included over 800 community members.