As a pilot initiative, Varitra led a campaign to initiate community-empowered government schools in Karnal district (Haryana) by engaging the school teachers, village panchayats and community to take the ownership of the school and plan a transformation plan. The project aims to transform the government schools in rural areas into positive, child-friendly and quality learning spaces in close association with the community, government and NGOs. Varitra asks “If 2-3 individuals can run a private school, why not bring an entire village together to pave the way for government schools to function effectively?”
Baljeet is the Founding Director of Varitra Foundation. Born in a small agrarian family, he has experienced the challenges faced by children in rural areas. Baljeet has grown with a keen interest towards improving of government school as a quality learning space, the thought of which has stemmed out of his personal experiences during childhood. He started missing classes from class VI onwards due to the inability to pay fees and to avoid the ensuing embarrassment by teachers. These experiences triggered Baljeet to work on transformation of the government education system so that every student receives accessible and quality education for free of cost and do not find themselves helpless. Right now Varitra has 22 changemakers who are trying to make an impact in real terms on the ground. Varitra is forming youth groups in the villages and through youth groups Varitra will be bringing change into society.
Varitra is running post school remedial classes in the school compound provided by the school. This is called Learning Enhancement Centre (LEC), through LEC Varitra is trying to improve the learning levels of children. LEC is a quality learning space where children learn through activities and play. Varitra is also working in the schools based on the need of the school. Need assessment of the school is done and a plan is prepared in consultation with teachers. Varitra provides support to school through its NGO, CSR partners and mobilize support from government, local resources and panchayat for the school.
Varitra Foundation is setting up 8 book libraries in rural schools. These libraries will have toys and books. Toys will be provided by one of partner organization of Varitra. Students will maintain the library, students will play the role of the librarian, library caretaker, etc. on the rolling basis.