Written by Lisa, India VMPC.….
India is a rapidly developing country and a growing regional and world power. However, despite strong economic growth many people in India are still facing structural and social inequalities. FutureSense Foundation works in the North Indian regional town of Palampur to conduct educational sessions with students and teachers. These sessions focus on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to build greater resilience, equality and sustainability within the Palampur community.
Education is the most powerful tool to reduce inequality and poverty. India has the largest population of illiterate adults in the world, with around 30% of their population (over 300 million people) being unable to read and write. While nearly 90% of children attend primary school, there is a huge drop off in secondary education with only 40% attendance. Attaining quality education is also a challenge in India, particularly in rural areas.
The FutureSense Foundation works with local school partners in Palampur, India to provide fun and educational sessions to students and teachers. These sessions focus on life skills and conversational English to impart relevant skills to students such as problem solving, critical thinking, reasoning and improving their English competency. Focusing on fun and engaging session delivery students enjoy coming to school, build confidence and are encouraged to participate in active learning.
There are 22 official languages in India, English being a subsidiary official language, which is used as the common language for national, political and commercial communication. Therefore, FutureSense’s Conversational English sessions are vital in improving student capability and confidence to participate in national citizenship.
Furthermore, nearly half of children not attending school in India are girls and many women do not participate in paid work. There are many barriers for girls seeking education, such as financial constraints, under educated parents, access to women’s sanitation products and high prevalence of sexual assault.
The Futuresense Foundation uses educational sessions to empower girls in school settings and to demonstrate equality through example. This is achieved through encouraging group work between boys and girls, providing leadership opportunities to girls during games and group work, and through sessions focused on respect. Students are also exposed to Futuresense’s female volunteers who are role models for confidence, success and female empowerment.
The FutureSense Foundation aims to address several of the challenges that India as a nation faces. While access to education and gender inequality are both key issues, India also faces major health and environmental challenges too.
Pollution is a major issue in India with visible rubbish and air pollution across the country. 22 out of the top 30 most polluted cities in the world are in India and throughout the country inefficient waste management and overflowing landfills has led to improper disposal and the burning of plastic.
The Futuresense Foundation promotes environmental awareness within it’s partner programs by running sessions with students on environmental sustainability and action they can take within their community. Futuresense Foundation works on projects with students at the schools such as encouraging the correct disposal of waste by creating recycling bins and the recycling of products such as a green wall made from plastic bottles.
The core principle of the United Nations Sustainable Development goals is to “Leave No One Behind”. By working in remote Indian communities FutureSense aims to reach the most marginalised people and fulfil the principle of leaving no one behind. Through educational sessions at schools FutureSense is able to reach future generations and instil the United Nations Goals within these schools and the wider Palampur community. FutureSense aims to work together with local communities to achieve the agenda of a more equal and secure world by 2030.