Make a Difference (M.A.D) in Mahila Mandiram

This year volunteers from “Make a Difference” (M.A.D.) came to Mahilamandiram and worked with us. We would like to thank M.A.D. for their efforts.

You truly made a difference to us. In addition to the girls having a lot of fun while learning, the interaction exposed them to real life professionals and college students thereby giving them role models to aspire to.
We would like to acknowledge your efforts with a few words from your website: http://makeadiff.in/

What’s MAD all about?
The Make A Difference project was initiated by a few of us in our second year of college when we saw a large disparity in the way rich and the poor learned. We realized that the system created a gap from the very early years of a child’s life and as time passed by, the gap only increased. We saw a huge untapped resource amongst us youngsters who if provided the right platform were capable of bridging the gap. Hence 20 of us in the city of cochin founded Make a Difference with a vision “To bridge the inequality in society through education.”
India has one of the highest drop out rates in the world. Even though over 70% of our children enroll for primary education, 72% of them would have dropped out by the time they reach standard 10. But being first generation learners, education is most critical for this 72%.
In Make a Difference, we currently focus on India’s urban underprivileged, particularly children in street shelters, orphanages, and poor homes. Our children are street smart, intelligent and mature. Yet hardly any of them get the opportunity to continue their education after 10th. This is primarily due to two reasons.
First is the lack of financial support. Most children are taken care of only till the age of 15, after which they are on their own. The education they receive till then is very generic and provides them with no specific skills, which forces them into doing menial jobs for a living.
Second, and more important reason why even the children who are sponsored cant cope up is the lack of quality education. Our children go to schools where the medium of instruction is in the vernacular language till 10th. But after 10th, the medium is compulsorily in English and most jobs have English language proficiency as one of its basic requirement. Hence even if we are able to sponsor students with good scores for higher education they are unable to cope. The bridge here is the English language.
Our aim is to ensure the underprivileged children are brought into the main stream so they can chose their careers based on their potential and interests and not their financial constraints.
Our English course is a five level program of 100 hours each. Every year our children go through 56 interactive classes of two hour duration. By the end of the 5th level the child’s communication skills will be at par with a private school student. We have an active placements program that runs side by side to keep the children aware of their career options and keep them motivated to study harder. We have initiated our computer program in Cochin where we have computers in the ratio 6:1 installed in every centre which means every child will get half an hour of computer class every day.
Our aim is to ensure a 100% retention rate in Indian schools. Currently we work in 11 districts in India with over 800 volunteers, teaching 2500 children. We plan to reach out to 10,000 children in the coming year.

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