After his work at an electricial switch manufacturing factory in Jogeshwari is over,17-year-old Hemraj Raut has some more jobs to do. Before he heads for a civic public night school in Andheri (west),Raut finds time to coach friends and younger classmates in football at his former BMC day school in Oshiwara.
I was introduced to football only a year-and-a-half ago. I have been hooked to the game ever since. For a year,after work I used to go to Wadala ground for coaching and would return to Andheri and coach my friends and the younger guys, said Raut.
Raut works with the organisation that introduced him to the game.
With five core members,Kolkata-based Chip holds an After School Programme for students of BMC schools as part of its Total Child Care philosophy.
The extracurricular programme is the brainchild of development professional Novella Corda who joined the organisations Mumbai chapter in 2008. We started the After School Programme as a pilot project in one school,where we held a theatre workshop for children. People from National School of Drama volunteered to teach kids drama and acting. It was a huge success and the response encouraged us to take the programme forward, said Corda.
Since 2009,Chip has expanded to hold various after-school activities such as judo,dance,basketball,football,and drama training for at least 400 students from five municipal schools in K-West ward.
We look after students of two BMC schools in Jogeshwari,two others in Andheri and one in Vile Parle. For the first couple of years,we had to urge students to come for our programmes. Now we just put up a message and the kids rush to sign up, said Corda.
Apart from workshops and coaching,there are field trips.
Sometimes,the workshops and trips can only accommodate smaller groups. We ensure all children participate. Because we also have education programmes in these schools,we have a fair idea of the interest of students. If certain students are more inclined towards art or sports,we allow them to participate more often in related activities, Corda said. It depends on the resource people we get to hold coaching sessions,classes or workshops. While we have fixed teachers for some activities,we try to find more people who are willing to teach.
A new part of the groups initiative is to coach children in life skills. Workshops to build self-esteem,personality and confidence are frequently held.
The idea is to increase hours spent in constructive school-related activity where children can learn and engage in activities that teach more than what textbooks offer,activities which will shape their personality. Today,over four lakh students study in public schools and its of great importance that we improve the quality of education and perception of schools, said Corda.
Apart from occasional funding from corporates and the Mumbai Marathon (their main source of support),the group holds fundraisers to finance the activities for the children.
In May,Chip organised a Sufi Whirling Dervish workshop with sufi dancer Zia Nath for adults around Mumbai.
We plan belly dancing workshops,Zumba workshops and other such fundraisers from time to time. Initially,with the help of an automobile company,we could move forward in the first year. Sometimes when we do not have funds,we simply cut costs. For instance,for the trip to the museum on Saturday,instead of spending more to hire a bus,we took the children by train and hence could afford snacks for them,too, said Corda,adding that the organisation often receives help from corporate volunteers and college students to watch the children on the field.