Ms.Vidya Shankar, visits to various homes & orphanages (including Juvenile Homes).
WORK IN THE AREA OF ADOPTION AND FOSTERCARE (1998-2001)
Declared as a fit Institution under the Juvenile Justice Act 2000 and established a transit shelter for children in crisis and needing transit care. Many children were placed back into their own families after the crisis period or into alternate families through fostercare or adoption (through recognised agencies)
Started a Transit Home for children in Thoraipakkam Start of Sindhanai - Annual NGO Networking Event Pre-adoptive Counselling for aspiring parents
Entry into Juvenile Justice System.
Working in Juvenile Homes (2000-2008)
- Improving living conditions of children. We brought in funds from all over the world to the tune of over several lakhs to improve infrastructural, vocational and educational facilities besides staff support in Juvenile Homes.
- Contacting their families in order to restore and rehabilitate them and enabling poor families to reach out and bring back their children in various homes in Tamilnadu.
- Improving educational access to children in these homes through resource persons and institutions with our financial and implementation support.
- Rehabilitating children through foster care and adoption when and where possible, applying for the destitute certificate if there were no claimants for the children for several months or years.
Ms.Vidya Shankar as Chairperson of Juvenile Welfare Board Counselling support for Juvenile Home Children
- Training Balwadi Assistants in Montessori Approach with resource persons
- Volunteers and staff were placed in 4 centres in and around Thiruvanmiyur
- Running Community Tuition Centres
- Running Helpline for Educational Sponsorship Executed through Shriram Foundation (Formerly Shriram Social Welfare Trust)
- Outreach Programmes in partner Schools to improve Standard of Education
- Interaction with Parents
- Teacher Assessments in partner Schools
- Started to work with Shriram Foundation Schools
Working in Education system (2003 onwards)
- Improving Education in preprimary and primary levels for children in Government and some private schools as a major step towards prevention of juvenile delinquency, providing education support programs for students and teachers.
- Providing education support in the form of resource centres and coaching resources for underserved children.
- Infrastructure support like classrooms, libraries, kitchen, etc. for schools in remote villages.
- Conceived and ran programmes for School Leadership, Sports for School Teachers, Teaching Fellowship Programme
- Managed two big schools and 5 medium sized schools for a Corporate Foundation.
- Working with Government and NGOs on Quality Institution Care for children in Homes/Orphanages
- Started Managing Shriram Foundation's Children's Home Project
- Merger of Transit Home with Shriram's Ashram Children Home
- Parenting Programmes for parents in Shriram Schools
- Started Running Bridge Courses for children in Juvenile Homes
- Breakfast Scheme in schools in partnership with Ashram of Shriram Foundation
- Tsunami Relief Work in Affected villages
- Launched Model School Project using Montessori Method in Pre-primary classes in partner schools
- Started Counselling in Government Vigilance Home for rescued girls and women
- Ms.Vidya Shankar appointed as a Students' counsellor at Anna University
- Started to participate in Doordharsan Podhigai programme on Foster Care & Adoption
- Starting Industrial Training Programme for Women and Girls in Juvenile Homes
- Relief Foundation gets nominated as a member of State Planning Commission focussing on Women and Children
- Feasibility Study of starting a micro-school in Vichur, Thiruvallur District
- First Micro School started in Vichur - Classrooms were built for children for Wayanad Tribal School at the cost of nearly 50 lakhs
with most of the funds coming from CAREducation Trust UK
- Started Montessori programme in VSR Montessori School, Reddivaripalle
- Started Montessori Resource Centre for Children in Thoraipakkam. Children from Shriram Schools started using them
- Designed and started a bridge course for teachers who took AMI Diploma.
Sent 3 teachers from our partner school for AMI International Diploma with support from Shriram Foundation
- Designed & conducted Leadership Training Programme for Principals & School Heads
- Started to coordinate courses in Shriram IGNOU Community College, a first of its kind, in association with IGNOU
- Started a course on Sports Education, a unique course for School Teachers with support
from RF volunteer Jana Conrad from Germany
- Conceived and set up a Montessori Resource Centre in one of our partner schools with support from Cognizant Foundation
- Vidya Shankar completes training as an AMI Elem Directress
- Cascade became an Elementary Montessori classroom in addition to catering to 3-12 years old children
- Started offering training programmes for GiveLife Tuition Teachers from centres run in various villages
- Started Teaching Fellowship Programmes through an initiative called The Teachers Lab,
wherein resource persons for a variety of courses including academic and co-curricular
courses were offered to aspiring rural teacher candidates as a Fellowship model.
- Conducted the first training course for orientation and practices on Montessori philosophy for a small group of rural teachers.
- Established elaborate recruitment processes with screening, interviews for candidates to get trained and certified as Montessori
teachers to enter rural schools. Conducted pre and post course sessions with resource persons, that aided a better understanding for the candidates
- Conceived the school leadership program for rural school leaders and completed one batch of successfully trained school leaders who were placed in rural schools.
- Moved out from Shriram Foundation completely and established a vibrant model of learning in CASCADE Montessori resource centre for parents, educators, and families in a cooperative learning model. Children showing immense benefit from this cooperative, fear free
model offering unlimited learning opportunities.
- Laid the foundation stone for first Relief Foundation Montessori Rural Resource Centre in Jamnamarathur in Javvadhu Hills, Thiruvannamalai District for tribal population
Two Rural Montessori resource centres established in Gummidipoondi (in a rented premises), Thiruvallur and in Jamunamarathur (Own begins building premises) Thiruvannamalai. Two trained Montessorians take their positions as Centre head. Jey staff enter training for AMI Montessori Elementary program at the International Training Institute. CASCADE Family Learning Cooperative is Service Marked and is ready to offer the knowhow to anyone who wants to start a similar centre.
One Trainee from a local village in Jamunamarathur, begins Casa training with us in Tamizh language. We begin translation of Montessori articles into Tamizh and start parenting sessions for local village parents through our centres. Regular study circles are introduced in the villages for parents to learn about the methodology.
Training in Tamizh is complete for Mani a candidate from Jamunamarathur, who becomes the head of CMRRC Jamunamarathur. to the centre, to start working as a teaching assistant to Hari, the main guide. Efforts begin to search for new land for Relief Foundation to build a permanent premises at Gummidipoondi. CASCADE in the city becomes a registered body. - the country's first Montessori homeschooling society, besides membership in the International Montessori Council. RF applies for Copyright for the CRCI Happy Schooling program.
Relief Foundation has now 1/4 acre land with a plan to construct a permanent building in this area, where we have worked with the community for a few years. We have launched a brick by brick campaign to raise funds. We hope to complete the building and offer it to the children and families of that group of villages by January.
Efforts to obtain land at GMP for long term usage resulted in a place in Narasingapuram which was purchased by our Trustee and given to RF for long term lease. Construction of a permanent CMRRC centre begins, building the hopes of the local community.
Baripada in Mayurbhanj Odisha and Thettu, off Madanapalle in AP get their first centres much to the admiration of the village communities around. High quality materials and Montessori trained staff adorn these centres serving about 20 children from the local areas. Our centres remain open through Covid times, due to the scrupulous following of Covid Protocol, low numbers and wonderful cooperation of families in staggering the timings and extreme care not to expose the children to the screen based learning. NCVRT recognition for 4 our centres for vocational training courses for village youth is obtained.
Narasingapuram gets its own youth training facility for NCVRT courses. Varaandrappily off Thrissur gets the fifth centre in India, with a candidate undergoing training with senior experienced local Montessori teachers. A full time social worker is selected for work at RF.
Revenue based activities are planned with the Centre heads to begin this year, that will ensure the sustainability of the centres, weaning away slowly from the bulk funding requirements from RF.