Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Week 3

I finally got to visit the flagship school of Katha. It's amazing. 

It’s beautiful; bright white and gleaming in the middle of sprawling slums. It’s angular with slanting walls and arches everywhere. Stairways lead to balconies overlooking the playground or to the roof which looks out towards the poverty surrounding it. The classrooms are all dark and cool and excellently equipped. There’s a computer suite, a woodshop, art rooms, textiles room, a kindergarten and a nursery – there’s everything the most well equipped school in England could desire.

A little information about Katha.  

The Katha Lab School began in 1990 as a learning centre in the slums of Govindpuri, Delhi, with 5 children. Today Katha has 9450 children in 43 Katha Schools in Delhi and in the 4 tribal schools of Arunachal Pradesh.

Knowing that children working on the streets are unable to go to school, the Katha School on Wheels Programme takes learning to them. Their colourfully painted RTV van touches 10 traffic intersections across South Delhi every day. Filled with fun learning materials, books, puppets and a computer, the vans bring nearly 1,000 children into interactive learning.

The Katha infotech & Ecom School, KITES, trains students from primary to high school, and makes them computer-confident individuals. During the last year, 286 students were awarded ‘O’ and ‘A’ level Certificates. Two new centres were started last year with the support of CAF and Adobe India, in Tughlakabad, NCT, and Khore Gaon, Haryana.

KSE, started in 1995, provides vocational and entrepreneurship training with leadership and job shadowing opportunities. This intensive and professional programme works with an objective of helping children stand on their own feet and support their families. The school offers the following programmes:
§  Fashion Designing
§  Cutting & Tailoring
§  Embroidery
§  Wood Craft
§  Bakery
§  Carpentry
In the year 1990, Katha started Jhunjhunwadi, the preschool in the Katha Lab School. We run 54 preschools that are happy places for 3-5 year olds living in 65 slums. Their preschools develop a social, artistic and culturally rich environment for children who live in Delhi’s large slum clusters.

On Saturday we went to Agra. We had been told  by everyone who'd been to get there for dawn, so we could see the sunrise change the colour of the Taj, so we booked our taxi for half 1, so we could get there athalf five in time for dawn at quarter to six. However, our taxi arrived at midnight, and our extremely dangerously sleepy driver got us there at four am. The Taj doesn't actually open until 6, so we were kindly allowed to sleep in a hotel foyer for an hour and a half, before racing to the Taj, only to be rained on and for 
the clouds to obscure the sun entirely. However, the one benefit in getting there so early was that it was really really quiet. I'd recommend it to anyone.

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