The Learning Classes in Riot affected areas of Kandhamal was launched in Kandhamal covering about 60 Schools and Relief Camps for children in the age group of 6-14.
The thrust of the Program is to support and improve learning activities for the children affected by violence of Kandhamal.
This project was initiated in collaboration with UNICEF and PRATHAM, Orissa a branch of PRATHAM, Mumbai Education Initiative.
Former Information Commissioner Professor Radhamohan chaired the state level training-cum-orientation program.
Dr Dhanada Kanta Mishra, State Adviser Pratham, Ms Amrita Sengupta, Project Officer UNICEF, Satyashree Soumyakanta, Volunteer from NYP, Madhusudan Das, State Convener, National Youth Project, Dr Subodh Pattnaik from Natya Chetana, Manas Ranjan from ACTION AID spoke on the issue.
The 2-day long orientation workshop ended with field visit to YMCA Nayapally where the riot affected victims were taken shelter.
The PRATHAM Volunteers were oriented not only on the objectives and implementation strategy of the program but also on cohesive mechanism on communal harmony.
PRATHAM project was approved in principle by UNICEF with an option of the actual data available with respect to number of children in Camps to conduct Informal Learning Classes as well as trauma counseling through simple songs and.
The Learning Classes in riot affected areas of Kandhamal is based on the premise of various learning activities for the children like story telling, drawing, painting, games, reading and numeric.
It was felt that participatory mode, makes boys and girls interested to learn more.
The Learning to Read (L2R) Project is based on the usual practice of learning to read a simple paragraph in Oriya by learning alphabets and mantras in case of language and recognition of numbers with place values and simple addition and subtraction in mathematics.
These are the rudimentary concepts, which are the key for any child to go ahead.
If the child is not able to master these basic skills, he will not be able to read any textbook of mathematics or language or the environmental science.
This will create a barrier for him in higher classes.
Alternatively, if a child of Class 1 is able to master these skills the fellow is bound to get lot more interest and his achievement levels are bound to go up is higher classes.
That's why L2R targeted classes I & II in the pilot stage, said Ashok Kumar Paikaray, Campaign Coordinator.
The program guarantees that 70 to 80 percent of the children would be able to read, write and do arithmetic in a space of 90 days at that level.
Therefore, it was thought to give it a try on a pilot basis.
Two days re-orientation workshop was organized at district headquarters Phulbani with support from district administration and SSA Kandhamal.
Along with Dr Mishra,, Pradeep Mohapatra Sub-Collector attended the workshop.
In the course of implementation of the project it was revealed that there are certain difficulties for volunteers in Raikia and Phiringia block teacher at the local level.
However to overcome these problems specific plans are formulated quick follow up action are taken up.
Secondly the variation in religion across the district is difficult to go for conducting learning classes.
The training was conducted at various levels introducing the localized curriculum materials at relief camps or Schools.
Thirdly, the lack of involvement of government teachers in different camps hindered the progress of the learning camps.
This was one of the major hurdles in breaking the momentum of the program, said Mr.Paikaray.