In Chhattisgarh, ‘school’ for dropouts, learning camps help dreams take shape

In Chhattisgarh, 'school' for dropouts, learning camps help dreams take shape

prathamAccompanied by my colleague, Leena, I had the opportunity to visit several villages in Kanker, Chhattisgarh, and witness the various impactful programs in action by Pratham.

Kanker, a region known for its mix of plains and hills, is home to forests, waterfalls, rivers, and temples. The majority of the population is engaged in farming and the collection of forest goods, making it a unique socio-economic landscape.

Our first stop was a ‘Second Chance’ center in Bagodar village, where numerous girls and women were dedicatedly preparing for their Grade 10 exams. Pratham’s Second Chance program is designed to give school drop-outs, especially women, a fresh opportunity at education. It focuses on completing Grade 10, with the hope that this academic certificate will open doors for their educational and employment prospects. While discussing the importance of education in their lives, one of the learners emotively described, “Hamare liye to yahi school hai” (This is our school). This simple statement reflects the profound significance of the Second Chance center in their lives. As I interacted with these resilient individuals, I witnessed dreams taking shape in their eyes. Some aimed to complete their education to secure employment and support their families financially, while others sought to assist their children’s education or navigate daily tasks like banking or reading public notices. The dreams and determination I saw in them were truly inspiring.

In Chhattisgarh, 'school' for dropouts, learning camps help dreams take shapeMoving forward, we visited a government school in Kokpur Dongripara village to see the learning camp. These camps were scheduled in the second half of the day due to the ongoing exams. Witnessing the children’s enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge after their exams was heartwarming. In the exam mood, they asked several questions to us from their textbook and explained the answers as well.

Learning Camps are conducted by Pratham instructors for 30-50 days (3 to 5 camps of 10 days each), for about 3 hours through the Combined Activities for Maximized Learning (CAMaL) pedagogy. Children are taught on the basis of their learning levels and not grades. Interesting activities and games help children understand difficult-looking concepts easily. This low-cost model really helps children to jump multiple levels in just a few weeks.

Before we left, the children at the school delighted us by dancing to their favourite tunes and capturing some joyful moments in pictures.

Next, we headed to Dumali village to meet the mothers, amidst heavy rain. Despite the challenging weather, the mothers eagerly awaited our arrival, accompanied by their children, at their usual meeting spot. The leader mother shared insights into their activities, demonstrating them for everyone’s understanding. Simultaneously, the children formed smaller groups and engaged in fun activities, chit-chat, and games while the mothers discussed their children’s progress and learning activities.


Each mother proudly showcased the worksheets filled out by their children, illustrating the progress noticed since they began participating in their learning readiness activities.

Such mothers’ groups are created in every Pratham community to engage mothers in their children’s education.

As I concluded the day and returned home, I couldn’t help but reflect on the wholesome experience. It left a lasting impression, reminding me of the incredible impact of Pratham’s programs on these communities. I feel proud to be a part of such an organisation.

-Vineeta Dwivedi, Senior Associate (Communications)

PS: This write-up has been published in its original form without any editing or alterations. Any grammatical errors, typos, or stylistic variations are preserved to maintain the authenticity of the author’s work. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not reflect the views or positions of the organisation.