The Children’s Lovecastles Trust (CLT) story began in 1997 from a room with a view - “From my apartment window I would see children building castles out of mud. Kids who should be spending their time in school were out accompanying their parents at the construction. This scene which resonated with me would repeat itself day after day until I realized a universal truth - Children loved building castles, homes - a place of belonging, whether at a beach, a playground or here at a construction site. Children's Lovecastles Trust (CLT) was borne out of a passion to keep kids in school. To give them the education they deserve, so they can go build on their dreams and aspirations.” Bhagya Rangachar, Founder Executive Director / Managing Trustee.
It started with one program - School-Mid-Day-Meal in one Government School for day labourers' children. Our school-lunch was Community-owned kitchens run with their full participation.
This program ran for 7 Years in many schools till it became a State Government policy to implement it in all schools.
CLT started adopting schools many years before the Department of Education put in a process for Adoption of Schools. CLT does not engage in setting up parallel structures, but, rather endeavors to strengthen the existing social structure with an overlay of CLT network of support for pedagogy, technology, infrastructure and mentoring programs.
In parallel, Education with ICT Tools was launched in 2000 for a village school with 1,000 children coming from 10 villages. Most had not seen Computers and a few thought of it as a smart calculator. No one thought it could be used as an aid by teachers for technology-aided teaching.
But persistence and hard work paid off and CLT’s fledgling ICT program began to produce results and draw the attention of IT companies willing to help.
CLT also set up an After-school Learning Center - CLT Computer Clubhouse that is self-directed and mentor-driven. It is part of the MIT Media Lab, Boston Museum of Sciences and Intel Network.
This whole process brought a shift in how teaching was perceived and learning was experienced in Jakkur community!
From 2005-2010, CLT was engaged in developing localized and cost-effective multi-media content for the State Board syllabus in both English and Kannada languages. This grassroots initiative – CLT e-Patashale – was implemented in close to 100 schools and non-formal learning centers. There was great learning for us in this journey, as it gave us an opportunity to work closely with the remote schools and understand their challenges.
With the staggering number of 1.2 million school teachers needed in India, the rural schools suffer the most with no other access to learning opportunities. As the grades get higher, Science, Math and English are only transferred from the text books to the blackboard, with no learning for the day. Our DVD library of lesson resources and teaching filled many gaps in these situations. But, yet, it was not scalable and our Reach would be limited.
Year 2011 brings a new shift, where CLT has evolved into an Education and Developmental alternative model that is scalable, replicable and sustainable.
CLT’s education delivery to remote schools is efficient, cost-effective and scalable with the robust platform of Cisco Systems– a pioneer in networking and communications. This enables CLT teachers to connect to several village schools and youth hostels simultaneously; interact and teach various subjects online. Learning can happen in their own environment and best teaching can be imparted to any child anywhere!