This October, CorStone launched its Children’s Resiliency Program in New Delhi, India to provide social-emotional, conflict management, and other life skills training to over 1,000 youth in severely low-income communities across the country. Over fifty teachers from ten schools in five cities joined us for five days to kick-off the program through a vigorous intensive training.
Teachers traveled far and wide to attend the training. A priest and two nuns drove for five hours and then stood on an Indian train for eighteen hours for the sole purpose of participating in this project. Four teachers drove for four days directly from the Indian/Pakistani border in Kashmir, where their school consists of a student body in which 150 out of the 450 children have lost a parent to the war or its omnipresent conflict.
The training brought together a diverse group of educators from the Hindu, Christian, Muslim and Buddhist communities, all serving at-risk school children. All of these teachers have been working in non-profit, alternative schools that serve the most needy, orphans, homeless, and those in the still-existing, lowest level of the Indian caste system—often referred to as ‘untouchables’.
The magnitude of enthusiasm, passion and dedication throughout the training was felt, shared and fueled by all. Each participant emerged from the collective experience more educated, inspired and deeply moved in a way that was life changing for each of us. I was pleased to see that the training was met with more than a substantial amount of commitment by all the teachers to successfully catapult the program into their schools. We will be providing ongoing mentorship to the teachers through monthly Skype calls.
In particular, CorStone will be supporting an in-depth program pilot with 100 schoolgirls at the Hope Project, a local nonprofit that operates in Basti Hzt Nizamuddin, a 400 year-old low-income Muslim community in New Delhi. Most of these girls, ages 12 to 18, are the first generation in their family to gain a formal education.
CorStone has partnered with Sangath, a local mental, behavioral and developmental health organization, to undertake a formal evaluation of the program. Sangath was the winner of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation 2008 International Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
Lastly, a special thanks to photographer Laura Kudritzki, for her exquisite pics of the event and chronicling of life in Basti Hzt Nizamuddin. Pictures can be found here!