Pencilbricks: Building parent and student leaders

A non-profit initiative by a group of Teach for India alumni, Pencilbricks focuses on the overall development of children

By   |  Published: 18th Sep 2020  12:09 amUpdated: 18th Sep 2020  1:53 pm
From (R) Huda Sultana and Saba Begum, both are students from Hyderabad who were part of Pencilbrick’s “I support my Family Internship.”

With 22% of India’s population living below the poverty line, every child born in these communities are thrown into challenging circumstances, with even access to education being a distant dream! The team at ‘Pencilbricks’ works towards empowering such communities, developing a friendly learning environment.

A child tends to spend around 75% of his/her time in the community, which inspires ‘Pencilbricks’ to tap the potential of such spaces, to mould parent and student leaders for a better tomorrow. The Covid-19 lockdown has had a cascading effect across the population throwing life into disarray. The student community has been one among the worst hit, as the way ahead looks extremely challenging.

In these testing times, ‘Pencilbricks’ felt the need to engage the students in a programme which gives them the freedom to create and learn what interests them. They were quick to shift gears launching their online initiative “I support my Family Internship”.

The internship is a one-month fun-filled boot camp for students from the economically weaker communities across the country.  It is a paid opportunity and complete ‘Work from home’ (any handset with access to the internet would suffice for the work).  Each student will be paid a stipend of Rs.500 at the end of the internship.

Huda Sultana, Saba Begum and Lohitaksh Rao were students from different areas of Hyderabad who were part of Pencilbrick’s online initiative.

Huda and Saba study in Madina Mission High School, Jahanuma, while Lohitaksh studies in Khusbow Vidya Nikethan School, Banjara Hills. All of them are 10th grade students.

While Huda’s father worked as a salesman, Saba’s father was a watchman in one of the firms in the city.

All these students enjoyed great support from their parents as they were going ahead with their internship projects. While Huda joined to learn blogging, Saba and Lohitaksh were involved in ‘problem-solving through doodle art & photography.’ However Lohitaksh had to discontinue the internship due to health issues in the family.

A Painting by Saba Begum, Saba is a 10th grade student from Madina Mission High School, Jahanuma, Hyderabad.

“We at ‘Pencilbricks are very well aware that children and adults in the marginalized communities go through physical, emotional and financial crises on a daily basis. Our motto is to provide them with a tool to confidently thrive in their lives with ample opportunities to explore and express.”, says Hrishikesh, Co-Founder of Pencilbricks.

While Susmita, Program Director at Pencilbricks stressed on the importance of believing in students’ and equipping them with the right skills to identify their true potential!

From (R) Susmita (Program Director, Pencilbricks), Hrishikesh (Co-Founder, Pencilbricks)

Huda continued to work with ‘Pencilbricks’ post her internship to learn more about blogging & reviewing. At the same time time Saba made use of her 37-day long internship to be innovative and raise awareness on pressing issues like ‘waste management’, through doodle art, her favorite hobby.

These are just few of the many examples of the engagements of ‘Pencilbricks’ in marginalized communities, across the country for evolving student and parent leadership amid the Covid crisis.

In a country where utter poverty has cast shadows over aspirations of its own people, education acts a tool for social mobility. Nourishing ‘the right talents’ at community level will have far-reaching benefits. As a driving force of change, these young minds would transcend boundaries, breaking barriers in the fight for a just and equitable society.

To build the problem solving and Leadership skills in students and adults, Pencilbricks intends to intervene in 3 different phases – Intern, Innovator and Leader.

Intern – Basic problem-solving skills in a short duration
Innovator – Work on a project and develop complex problem-solving skills
Leader – Work with a team on building sustainable solutions around complex problems

‘Pencilbricks’ have come a long way from working among their own students in ‘Ahmedabad’s Chandola community’, today their activities are spread across the country, pledged to resolve the ‘learning gap issue’ through effective community learning.

To get in touch with ‘Pencilbricks’ you can [email protected] or contact Ph no: 7032210160  

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