ATMA | 03 February 2022
Sparsha Trust is an NGO aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable children through education. They focus on the many reasons that may prevent children from learning the skills they need to succeed. Untrained teachers, overcrowded classrooms, lack of career guidance and financial constraints that families face all contribute to this massive problem. Over six million talented kids drop out of school every year or receive an education that isn’t sufficient to help them achieve their dreams.
Education is key to helping these kids reach their full potential and yet these problems, compounded by the impacts of COVID-19, have created immense challenges in the lives of these children and their families.
Take Jaya. Jaya has been a part of Sparsha’s programs from a young age and through these programs was able to let her people skills shine. She was set to pursue a career in mass media and build up a skillset ready for the digital world. However, the impacts of COVID-19 have caused huge disruptions in Jaya’s life. Heartbreakingly, she lost her sister to COVID-19 which added financial pressure to the family. Ongoing lockdowns have added further financial stress and have put Jaya’s future plans in jeopardy.
Then we have Rohini. Rohini has always been an academic star, excelling in science and choosing to pursue a career in medicine. Currently, in standard 12, Rohini needs coaching and support in order to achieve her dreams of gaining entry into medical studies. However, financial constraints on the family have put a stop to these dreams for now.
These girls have been taught to dream big by their teachers at Sparsha Trust and have been surrounded by the success stories of others. Sparsha Trust helps children like Jaya and Rohini in many ways and acknowledges that support is sometimes needed outside the walls of a classroom. Initiatives include the Parent Counselling and Community Outreach Programmes which help parents understand the importance of education and guide them through bureaucratic enrolment processes. Sparsha Trust also supports the learning of children themselves, ensuring they are taught the skills they need both inside and outside the classroom.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only meant that children have to change the way they learn, but teachers have to learn new ways to teach. With the teachers involved with Sparsha Trust used to teach in a classroom environment, they’ve had to upskill to ensure they can deliver quality education online. Sparsha trust has been one of the few interventions that continued to support their community offline throughout the pandemic by providing basic ration support to educating the children through their online interventions.
The children in the Sparsha programme have had a stellar year, with 98% of students passing the SSC board. However, the road to this achievement has not been an easy one. Multiple interventions had to be made throughout the pandemic. Sparsha Trust has been ensuring children have the data needed to attend online remedial classes.
Sparsha has been part of the Accelerator Programme at Atma since 2019. Together we have worked on strengthening Programmes and their M&E by putting down a clear logic model, strong SOPs for all programmes and creating relevant and easy to use tools. We have also worked on instituting structures in the Human Resources department - from creating an end to end Performance Appraisal System to preparing onboarding procedures. As Sparsha moves closer to graduation, we are focussing on Leadership and Governance. For an organisation that is more than 20 years old, it has been a pleasure for Atma to witness the openness with which Sparsha worked on the partnership and we hope more people join them in their mission.
Click here to find out more about Sparsha Trust
Note: Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the children and families involved.