Project Managers: Adrian Cavinder, Suresh Ambat
Family Development Services (FDS) has been involved in a range of educational development programs in the state of Karnataka since 2004. Early activities involved orphanage support, a vocational training project offering training for wood and metal work, as well as teacher training, and parenting workshops.
Currently, its primary focus is the Building Blocks program, whose core mission is to provide well-rounded kindergarten education, for slum children who would otherwise not be able to attend school due to economic reasons and because they haven’t had the chance to learn English.
At its seven schools located near slums in Bangalore, dedicated teachers employ an array of multi-sensory early learning techniques to introduce the basics of English reading and writing, local Kannada language arts, arithmetic, social science, the arts, motor-skill development and character building. After two years in the program, most of the children are able to successfully pass the entrance exams to enter quality English-medium primary schools.
Parent-teacher workshops and intensive teacher training, built around a diverse, hands-on educational model continue to be a central focus for FDS, contributing greatly to the effectiveness of the Building Blocks schools and the high performance results of the graduating students.
Building on the success of this program, and the need for these slum children to not only have a head start into elementary school, but also be able to actually complete their education, in 2014 FDS launched Project+10. This is a 10-yr collaborative effort between FDS and sponsors from all over the world ensuring students’ access to quality education from 1st to 10th grade. Upon graduating from the Building Blocks kindergarten program and attending elementary schools, many students are also enrolled in the FDS After-School Program where they receive homework tutoring at one of the Building Blocks schools in the afternoons, to help ensure their continued academic success.
The WIN Project, for “Women In Need,” benefits those from the poor socio-economic DJ Halli slums, offering training opportunities in sewing and tailoring, along with mentoring in job and life skills. Operating since 2013, this program was designed to aid in empowering these hard-working, yet poorly educated and severely disadvantaged women, with the self-confidence and skills necessary to WIN in life.