Family Development Services — Building Blocks
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Family Development Services is a politically and religiously unbound organisation, registered at the Office of the Registrar of Societies in Bangalore, India.
This organisation works for the betterment of slum children across India by providing them with a well-rounded education on par with most private schools.
This is mainly done through our three flagship programs:
- Building Blocks India
- Project +10
- Foster Homes
In 2004, James Suresh Ambat was determined to find a way to help the children of poor families, who were living in the slum districts that surround the city of Bangalore. The need for accessible education was huge, with hundreds of children needing education, and parents neither willing nor able to make this a priority. With the help of many individuals, corporates and philanthropic sponsors, Building Blocks India (BBI) now has 10 Learning Centres for children in the 3 to 6-year-old age group. Today, there are 817 children enrolled as a part of regular schooling. 320 BB Scholars have moved on to English-medium primary and secondary schools, supported by an After-School Programme. As the operation has grown, the schools have supported almost 1500 students in the last 15 years, with over one million nutritious meals served to these undernourished children.
Mission and Vision
We envision a future India free from poverty where all children, regardless of background or class have equal opportunity to get an education. We provide education to children from underprivileged or low income families to achieve this goal. The early childhood years are the most crucial in the development of the child, both physically and mentally. Building Blocks’ resolution to starting early gives its beneficiaries a head start in life.
All the children in Building Blocks come from extremely poor families. Before coming to our schools most of them would be roaming the streets in very unhygienic conditions or taking care of their younger siblings. In either case they would be unsupervised, with hardly any food while their parents, normally construction laborers, would be gone the whole day! Most of our children do not have nutritious food, access to clean water nor hygienic toilet facilities and are thus prone to all kinds of health problems and malnutrition. These children would never have an opportunity to receive quality education as their parents only have one objective: to make enough money to buy food to survive!
Building Blocks India
Building Blocks India is a preschool program for urban poor and underprivileged children providing a good foundation in English language, arithmetic, general science, social and practical life skills at an early age of three years.
Since these children would not get an opportunity to go to any early learning course due to economic difficulties, we have been able to do this completely free through the help of philanthropic sponsors. The preschools also serve the children two nutritious meals every day for six days a week and medical check-ups twice a year , as well as awareness about hygiene on an ongoing basis.
Programs and projects of Building Blocks
1. Regular school program is conducted 6 days a week from 9.00 am to 1.00 pm.
2. Nutrition program – Breakfast and lunch is served in our schools for 220 working days in a year.
3. Selection Strategy- The Social Workers and School Managers ensure that the admissions are given to the most deserving and needy through a strict selection strategy. In three month’s time the entire selection process is finalised which is collection of birth certificate, case history forms, scorecards, 3 house visits, screening test and orientation meeting. Follow up visits are also done by the Social workers twice a year.
4. Curriculum- Research and development of curriculum and conducting training sessions and workshops for teachers and implementing the same for the desired outcome. A well-structured integrated common curriculum is followed in all our schools. A proper weekly lesson plan is designed based on the feedback from teaching staff. Class tests are conducted every Friday and three Term End Assessment is conducted by the Curriculum coordinators (September, December and March).
5. Management-The Centre Head is responsible for smooth and safe running of the school through day-to-day operations, data management of the students, keeping books of accounts, sending daily and monthly reports, relationship building of staff and community. Centre Head’s job checklist, teacher’s and junior staffs job check list is maintained and monitored on daily basis.
6. Community Engagement- Regular awareness programs like fire safety, child sexual abuse, financial literacy, health and hygiene etc… are conducted by social workers, Centre Heads and external partners to improve the parents’ personal standards.
7. Relationship Building- Orientation meetings and PTA are conducted to envision the parents on the importance of education and reinforcing the rules and regulation of the school. Example — attendance, cleanliness etc.
8. Library program -Maintenance of age-appropriate, well-stocked colour coded library and structured reading program is followed for 15 min a day in the lesson plan. Regular utilisation records of the books are maintained by the teachers.
9. Co-Curricular activities- Educational field trips are organized for the students. Extra co-curricular activities like art, drama and theatre are done in the school.
Bloom is a new women empowerment program that includes the older kids from our Project +10 program as well. The mothers of our Building Blocks children are day laborers or house servants, getting a very low income. If we choose those who have a grasp of English, or are able to pick it up, and help them become computer literate, with a knowledge of MS Word, Excel, etc, then even as a low-level data entry operator their take home salary would be considerably higher than what they currently receive.
Project +10 is a scholarship project that allows graduates from Building Blocks India to continue their studies in English-Medium schools. This is essential for children from urban poor communities to have a chance to continue education for their future growth.
Other than providing students from urban-poor backgrounds scholarships, Project +10 runs an after-school program, where the children have the opportunity to do their homework with the help of our online teachers from different parts of the world . This ensures that they receive quality additional support from a very dedicated and qualified volunteers.
Foster Homes aims at providing little children from the streets of Bengaluru a secure, safe and healthy living environment. The foster homes reproduce a convivial and family atmosphere for the children to heal the wounds they have developed in the streets, grow up in trustful social circles. As a preventive action, with the support of Dream India Network, Building Blocks India enrolls them at the youngest age in order to avoid the psychological disorders induced by the dangers encountered in the street and offer them the childhood they deserve. Today, there are 448 girl children enrolled as a part of Foster Homes and are availing good education in nearby English Medium Schools.
COVID Relief Work Updates
“When you educate the child, you change the community“
Charity Name: Family Development Services (Aka Building Blocks India)
President & CEO: Suresh Ambat
Location: Bangalore, Hyderabad Coorg and Goa
Website: https://www.buildingblocksindia.org/ and https://fdsin.org/