M Zone

One of the first wards in which Pratham started working was the M Zone in 1994. M Zone is one of the more difficult pockets of Mumbai due to various factors such as: constant inflow of migrant population, lack of government schools nearby, the proximity to the Deonar dumping ground, and the lack of basic amenities. Geographically Pratham has divided the zone into 5 pockets, for better targeting and implementation of programs, these pockets are: Baiganwadi, Shivaji nagar, Deonar, Vashinka and Thakkar Bappa.

The Pre-school or ‘Balwadi’ programs was the first Pratham intervention in the M Zone, with 1200 Balwadicenters. Since then, the ICDS centers run by the government have grown in numbers and have improved connectivity. Currently, Pratham focuses on the Parent’s Education, library and support class program.

● Balwadi :

The Pratham Balwadi program runs for 3 hours. The timetable is decided according to the age, which is 3 - 5 years above. In the timetable, we train children in language, math and free play. Physical play is also included in the balwadi curriculum because it is important for the children to develop physically.The preschool centre is specially planned for those communities where there are a certain number of children who are not enrolled in any preschool. Pratham ran 5 balwadi’s across M zone in 2017- 18.

● Learning Camp :

The Urban Learning Camp is conducted for children of age group 6 - 14 years. The children undergo training in language & math for 20 - 40 hours. The ULC conducts activities through group learning activities. Pratham had 48 operational support class units in 2017 -18 in the M Zone.

Language :

The objective of the language camp is that the children should be able to understand the instructions in any exam that they take.

Maths :

Children should be able to recognise numbers from 1 to 10,000 and perform basic mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, multiplication & division, carry-over system.

● Library :

The objectives of the Community Library Program are to develop the reading habit among the children, increase their competencies in language and their knowledge and to increase community participation. In Pratham’s quest to build sustainable communities, where ownership and responsibility of education and sustaining learning levels of children is shared by the community, the Mumbai team switched to the volunteer based model to implement the Community Library program in 2017-18. Each community has atleast 4 volunteers. These volunteers are private tuition teachers, support class teachers, parents, students, and anganwadi teachers. One volunteer roughly distribute books to 10 children. Overall, every child through this volunteer mode gets an avg. of minimum 4 books to read in a month as against the planned target of 2 books per month per child. The programme currently runs in all the 124 communities in the Zone.

● Parent Education:

This program is conducted for the parents of children in the age group 3 - 8 years. Various activities are conducted with the parents. Parents are given worksheets, which involves the children as well, so that they can solve together. For the parents who cannot attend the community intervention, a home visit is conducted to explain the daily happenings at the workshop, give worksheets etc. These activities try to involve parents in the day-to-day activities of the children. There were monthly Parent’s Education workshops across all the 124 communities of the M Zone.

● Urban Learning Centre:

The objective of the Learning centres is to provide a learning environment to the children and ensure that they get quality education support to complete their studies with vocational skills. ULC runs preschool, std. 10th classes and vocational classes for the community. This is a self-sustainable model. We have 2 Urban Learning Centers situated in Kurla in the M Zone. The 10th Grade remedial classes run in the Urban Learning centers. These regular support classes for the children who are dropouts or who may have failed in 9th standard and want to appear for the exam again.

● Van library program :

In collaboration with WNS Foundation, the mobile library VAN project at Sanjay Gandhi Vasahat, Transit Camp, Kamala Raman Nagar and Dr. Zakhir Hussain Nagar community takes. There are 3 vans which cover 30 communities. The community profile is largely a migrant community, characterised with low-income and lack of speace.
Each van reaches 1000 students, thus Pratham reached 3000 students in 2015-16 through the Van Library program.

In 2017- 18 Pratham reached 16364 children through various programs in the M Zone.

Impact assessment of Parent training programme-20th Nov,15 Download

On the 10th of February 2018 M Zone had organised an event to appreciate all the 463 volunteers who are part of the Community Library Program. All volunteers were given certificates and felicitated during the function as a token of appreciation for their selfless contribution for the betterment of their community.

Panel discussions were conducted with a group of youth volunteers and a group group of parent volunteers so they could voice their opinion as to the effectiveness and the benefits of the community library program. It helped to further ensure that community members felt responsible as actual stakeholders in generating change in their neighborhood with respect to general awareness about importance of education and improving learning levels of children.

Anecdotes: Some girls came dressed in saris as they felt they were “chhote shikshaks” who taught and encouraged children in their neighborhood to read.