CorStone launched its Children’s Resiliency Program in India last October 2009, with a successful kick-off training for 55 teachers from a dozen schools in 5 cities.
Evidence-based evaluation of program performance
Since that time we’ve been working in partnership with Sangath, an internationally renowned mental health research group based in Goa, India, to objectively evaluate the program on our behalf.
Specifically, Sangath conducted baseline and follow-up mental health assessments with approximately 75 adolescent girls going through our program at The Hope Project school in New Delhi.
The Hope Project is a well-respected local nonprofit that operates a school, medical clinic, job training program, and other services in a 400 year old Muslim village. Many of the residents there are in poor health and living in poverty with cultural norms that have traditionally frowned upon secular education—particularly for girls.
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Measurable results in just 12 weeks
Beginning in November 2009, seven of the teachers we trained at the Hope Project began facilitating weekly one-hour support groups (10-12 students per group) with the girls. Each weekly session consisted of 20 minutes of a specially-designed resiliency curriculum developed by CorStone, followed by open sharing using Restorative Practices (conflict resolution/problem-solving) approaches. We’ve been eagerly awaiting word from Sangath on how our program is working.
The primary mental health assessment tool Sangath used is the ‘SDQ‘, which is well recognized in the international mental health arena, and has been used successfully in many studies in India and other developing countries.
12 weeks into the weekly one hour program, here’s what Sangath found:
Self Reported SDQ Completed Completed by Teachers
- Students scoring Normal on SDQ Total increased from 33.0% in pre-test to 60.8% in post-test—after 12 weeks of the intervention
- Students scoring Borderline increased from 21.6% to 24.7%
- Students scoring Abnormal decreased considerably from 45.4% to 6.2% in post-test
Self Reported SDQ Completed by Students
- Students scoring Normal on SDQ Total increased from 52.6% in pre-test to 66.0% in post-test
- Students with Borderline and Abnormal scores also decreased after the intervention
These results are huge, far better than we anticipated. Typically even a few percentage points change would already have been considered beneficial.
We will have qualitative (teacher/student interviews) data by end June, as well as a final SDQ assessment in a few weeks at the completion of the program. Preliminary feedback from the teachers, students and school administrators already demonstrates clearly that we’re onto something impactful, sustainable and cost-effective.
Seeking others interested in helping children succeed
Stay tuned for more! And if you’re interested in working with us on this very pioneering program—as a partner, donor, or trainer—please don’t hesitate to contact me at CorStone.
Phase II of the program envisions a research effort involving 10 schools, a randomized control design and 1,000 children, with implementation in severe high-need communities of India. We need your support.