Aid India empowers communities, particularly the marginalized, to break the cycle of generational poverty and become self-reliant by providing support for quality education, health care and shelter.
Several independent studies, including the nationwide rural survey Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), have been repeatedly highlighting the poor quality of education and pointing out serious gaps even in basic foundational skills like reading and arithmetic in schools in rural Tamil Nadu (both Government and private).
At Aid India,we believe that good quality education is crucial for social change and that every child has the same potential and the right for a bright future.Through our work in education, health and re-constructing houses for the poorest families, we try to bring a visible change in the quality of life for the most disadvantaged.
The two Eureka schools were founded with the vision of providing high quality affordable education to children from marginalized communities. Dedicated teachers, an outcome oriented approach and a child-friendly school learning environment makes learning at Eureka Schools both fun and effective.
The Eureka after-school centers in villages have clearly-defined learning goals. Locally appointed and trained tutors conduct daily classes and give individual attention to every child. Through learning events and skill achievement melas, the parents and other members of the village community celebrate the progress of their children.
To improve the quality of learning in schools, learning materials and training are provided to teachers. Workbooks and worksheets are given to build skills. Skill tracking and regular assessments are done to ensure that learning goals are met.
Using technology as an enabler, Eureka tab labs help us teach children in middle and high schools the skills that are expected at their grade levels. Children learn Math, English and Science through concept videos and practice on graded apps that allow them to learn independently at their own pace.
The Aid India team is a diverse mix of individuals from all sections of society who have come together to work for an equal society for all. Deeply passionate about the cause, the team shares the core principles of focused goals, strong commitment to bring about visible change, and the dream of a brighter future for the next generation.Know our team
• Aid India received the Times of India Social Impact Award for Global Contribution to India in 2011.
• Aid India was awarded the Pratham USA Achievement Award for work on improving reading skills of children in Tamilnadu.
• Aid India received the Distinguished Service Award from Rotary Club of Madras South.
• The MIT Indus Technovators Award 2005 was awarded to Aid India for innovative work on Science Education and Village Libraries.
• Aid India's Eureka Elementary School at Walodai, Kancheepuram district received Design Shares Merit Award for innovative design.
• Dr.Balaji Sampath, Founder, Aid India, was awarded distinguished alumnus award by IIT and University of Maryland, College Park in 2016.
• Dr. Balaji Sampath, was awarded Smt. K Saraswathi Endowment Award for Education and Service on 30th July 2014.
• Dr. Balaji Sampath was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for innovative work and the Lemelson Inventor Fellowship in science education.
• Lokesh from Eureka Books,received the Young Achievers Award 2006 from Soroptimist International.
• Indian of the Year 2016 was awarded to Selva Ganapathy, volunteer & intern coordinator, Aid India, for exemplary contribution in the 2015 flood relief efforts in Chennai.
• Selva Ganapathy, volunteer & intern coordinator, Aid India, was recognized as Volunteer Hero 2013 by iVolunteer.
Aid India's work began in 1996 in partnership with Tamilnadu Science Forum. The focus was on improving health and reducing malnutrition levels among children, pregnant women and young mothers in around 600 villages. Adolescent health classes and sessions for women were conducted in each village. At the same time, the Makkal Palli Iyakkam (People's School Movement) program started in 200 villages. The idea behind this effort was to mobilize communities, including parents, to educate their children. These centers were run by highly motivated volunteers from the community, who conducted fun activities for children regularly.
Aid India's volunteer movement had gathered momentum by the year 2000. Volunteer chapters were started in Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and New Delhi.
The Aid India team began conducting science demonstration classes and formed science clubs in schools. The team conducted science dialogue classes with children to clear misconceptions and help them understand science instead of learning laws by rote.
Eureka Books was started to ensure that children in rural areas have access to good learning resources. Cartoon books in Science and Math, Science concept booklets, bi-lingual storybooks and other attractive materials were distributed through village stalls, book fairs and schools.
The innovative 'Library in a bag' initiative was launched. The initiative launched a reading movement where children were able to get access to books at their own villages. With simple story cards and easy-to-read graded storybooks, the Eureka library bag was a huge hit among children.
When the Tsunami struck the shores of Tamilnadu in December 2004, it left the State with a feeling of unreality and shock. Aid India was inundated with relief materials and volunteers. Nearly 1000 volunteers poured in everyday from all over the world. Aid India sent truckloads of relief supplies to around 1,00,000 people in 97 villages in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanchipuram. Aid India also organized health camps, health awareness sessions for women, and classes for children at the relief camps. After a few months, as people slowly limped back to re-building their lives, Aid India decided to stay and work with them in the same blocks to ensure long term improvement in health and education.
Eureka Schools were founded in 2006 by Aid India and Banca Sella, with the vision of providing high quality affordable education to rural children. Most children enrolled in Eureka Schools belong to very poor families residing in villages around these schools. Eureka School makes a promise to all its children that they will achieve their full potential, irrespective of their social and financial disadvantages.
Aid India implemented the Padippum Inikkum Tamil reading program in 7,300 schools. More than 10,000 Govt. school teachers were trained and attractive learning materials were provided for children. The main aspects of the program were:
Children were grouped according to their reading levels
Colorful story posters and attractive materials were given to motivate children to read.
Teachers were trained on level-specific group activities.
Daily one hour of focused class was taken by the teacher for the children lagging behind.
Childrens progress was assessed every month.
The pilot program showed that given a clear goal, a large number of teachers could achieve it in a short period of time. The pilot also showed that within a short time it was possible for children start reading fluently.
The Eureka Lab-in-a-box kit redefined the Science Lab as a box with everyday objects that could create excitement and wonder in children. The Ariviyal Anandam program was conducted in 900 Govt. schools in Krishnagiri and Sivagangai. The program helped children think about concepts and link their observations with the science they learnt at school. For the first time, these children started realizing that science is real.
Aid India developed and implemented a pre-primary program in 1,000 Govt. Balwadis. An attractive kit with activities for fine motor development, language and cognitive skills was provided to each balwadi. Teachers were trained on conducting fun activities to ensure that these children were ready for school by the age of 6.
For sustainable results in education quality, the participation of parents and the community is critical. Eureka after-school learning centers were piloted initially in around 250 villages. With help from parents, local youth from the same villages were identified and trained to be Eureka Tutors. These tutors conducted daily evening classes for the children of their village. The success of the pilot program led to the scaling up of the village centers across Tamilnadu. Today, the Eureka Village centers are being run in 1,063 villages of Tamilnadu with the following key elements in each village:
Strong Outcome Focus:
• Every childs progress is tracked using a simple visual aid called the skill chart, which helps the parents and the community members understand the learning progress of every child.
• Eureka tutors provide additional one-one attention for children lagging in a particular skill to help them achieve their learning goals.
• To motivate children to learn faster and better, certificates and skill stickers are awarded to them at the end of each learning goal.
Specially Researched Methodology
• Attractive group activity learning kits, games and workbooks specifically designed to make classes fun, learning-focused and effective for children from marginalized backgrounds.
Parent Engagement and Community Participation
• Eureka tutors discuss childrens progress regularly with parents using the skill chart.
• Community involvement is encouraged through Skill Declaration events in each village, where the entire village comes together to measure childrens learning progress and celebrate their successes.
With many years of direct implementation experience, Aid India has become a resource group for several grass-root organizations and schools all over the State. With a focus on basic skills, Aid India has been training more than 1000 school teachers and village tutors on innovative activities, learning methodologies and classroom management techniques to ensure better results for children.
Aid India, in partnership with content providers, has been piloting Eureka Tab Labs in schools and in after-school centers. These tech-enabled classes help children learn English, Math and Science using video lessons and mobile apps. Children learn concepts from videos, practice on apps that cater to their level, and take assessments that help them determine how well they have progressed. Eureka Tab Labs redefine the access to good quality education for children in villages.
In many villages, there are old people and families that literally live under plastic sheets or in a dilapidated house. Eureka Homes provides the much-needed shelter for these poorest families to live with dignity.
The whole village is involved in the decision of identifying the families. The family participates actively in the planning and construction of their home. 244 Eureka Homes have been constructed so far.
While many villages lack basic needs, there are few villages where the deprivation is even greater. Aid India works in these most backward Irular, Dalit and tribal villages, with the aim of improving the quality of life, mainly for women and children. Village education centers are set up for the children in these villages. A 'tinkering lab' in the village helps children use their local knowledge and build their skills with hands-on activities and projects. To improve the health of women and children, health awareness classes are held and nutrition supplements are provided. The integrated village development program is a long-term effort, but when the change happens, we are confident it will makea significant difference to the quality of life in these villages.
This year, Aid India introduced the Walk 'n' Talk English program in all the Eureka village centers. In this initiative, children learn to read and speak English. The learning is not limited just to the classroom; children are encouraged to go around the village and teach their family members and elders how to ask and answer simple questions in English. This creates a buzz of excitement and a sense of achievement in the entire village. During weekends, children put up role plays and songs in English. The Eureka Walk n Talk program builds, not just the skills of children, but also their self-confidence.