Forest Essentials takes its corporate social responsibility very seriously. It has always been inherent in our DNA to give back to nature, what we take from it, which is also the very foundation of Ayurveda. We have taken a number of steps to proactively pursue this and Paathshala is one of them.
As a partnership with Simple Education Foundation (SEF), a non-governmental organization in New Delhi; in July 2016, we started Paathshala, our ‘One School-One Village’ project in rural Uttarakhand. Located in the hills of Tehri Garhwal, we’re currently working in a Hindi medium government high school in the tiny hamlet of Gular.
The core philosophy behind this initiative is to strengthen academic learning in this rural school community, and to provide the opportunities and exposure that puts them on a path of student leadership. The focus is also to engage and empower local community and family members of the students, to be more involved and responsible for the quality of the school.
In July 2016, we conducted a baseline assessment with a focus on English & Math literacy, and found the literacy levels to be much below grade level. Keeping in mind the needs of the entire school, we designed a multi-tier intervention strategy – work with trained teachers directly inside classrooms with students, strengthen instructional skills of the local teachers, and build meaningful engagement opportunities between the community and the school, to increase their ownership in its transformation.
In our first year, we work directly inside the classroom with students from 6-8th grades. After school hours, our team runs a remedial learning center within the school, which supports about 150 students. Our team lives in the village, and this gives us incredible access to the community to extend our work and impact beyond the school walls. Through Paathshala, our objective is also to understand the role and the power of the local community in becoming change agents for a village school.
Voices of Gular- Stories of Impact
"Saniya and Pawan have been fortunate enough because this project arrived just in time for them. I work as Cook (Bhojan Mata) in School, by the time I reach home after work it is such a happy feeling to see them doing their homework. Sometimes the two of them get into discussion with their elder sisters telling them what all new words they learnt today. I feel proud when they speak in English.
The amount of money we earn, I could never believe my kids will be able to go to English medium school. The fee is so high. The project has made the kids friendly with English. They love to speak the language.
Also, I feel not just English but there has been a drastic change in the value system. Kids have become very responsible and respectful towards all. I really feel grateful for it and also wish that it expands till Grade 12 and continue to teach like this. It makes us so positive about the future of our kids."
"The children are working extremely hard. I have seen a tremendous increase in their potential and interest to learn. Whatever they are studying in school, they revise it at the centre as well, which adds on to their learning experience.
The teachers at Paathshala, teach using a variety of methods. The learning is done through games and activities, which helps the children learn effectively. They are becoming confident and do not hesitate anymore. They are keen to learn and grow. The freedom of expression that they have access to in Paathshala is wonderful.”
-The Principal’s Voice
As an Indian company, we truly believe in the potential and grassroots empowerment of our large youth and rural population. Keeping this in mind, the education of a child is of utmost importance and what we seek to achieve through our support of the Paathshala initiative.
With this effort, we not only hope to secure the future of the children of Lodsi but also to contribute to the educational empowerment of youth in our country.