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AFMI Montessori School Report

June 1, 2006 by  


AFMI Montessori Report:

This is a report on the AFMI Montessori program started in the month of March 2006 for the poor slum children under the age of 3 years. Of those who live in the slums, 85% are Muslim; their parents, the mothers work as housemaids, the fathers either work as day laborers or as rickshaw drivers; many or most are addicted to alcohol or drugs.

Usually a newborn child, when he/she reaches the age of 3 years, is left by the mother who returns to her daily work. The child is left in the slum at a relative’s house where no one cares for him or her, and the child is left without care, roaming here and there viewing all kids of things happening in the surroundings—they never go to school and this of course is severly detrimental to his/her development.

Slowly, the child attains the age of 8 to 10 years, never having attended school because the parents are less interested in sending the children to school. When asked, the parents say “What will happen after studying—instead he/she could earn something by doing small work of rag picking or working in small factories.”

This was the scene of 4 years ago—before SHM came into existence, but due to the regular motivation of guardians, continuously organizing of mothers’ meetings of slum children, there has been tremendous change occurring in every second in the life of the unfortunates who live in the slums. All of this has been possible because of the continued support and trust from AFMI.

Now the children, after attaining the age of 5, are being admitted to the SHM school and after completing 4 years they are being admitted to different schools in for grade 5.

Our dream is to establish a full-fledged AFMI High School. Toward that end, land has already been purchased. Further developments will continue soon.

Keeping in mind all the above circumstances, we started an AFMI Montessori school. The above program was announced in the monthly mother meeting of SHM. In total 30 children were taken as an initial class, so that it will be easy for the teachers to teach them.

Within two days, 15 children were admitted and now within one month there are 30 children enrolled, with more children still coming. There is enthusiasm among the children’s guardians to admit the children into the AFMI Montessori program because after leaving their children at Montessori school, they are able to go to work, confident that the children at least for 3 hours in the morning are safe and not roaming here and there.

To run the program, 2 teachers who are college students and still continuing their education are been recruited in Montessori Section, and those teachers are also in need of some support for continuing their education.

They too come from a very poor family. One caretaker (girl) who lives in the tikipara slum is also being recruited for taking care of the children such as taking them to the bathroom. The girl used to work as a housemaid in another house. Now she takes care of the children in the morning. After the class is over, she goes to work, and in the evening she come to the vocational training classes in the SHM project, which is also been supported by AFMI.

You will be happy to read that there has been good improvement among the children as well as the among the guardians—within one month of commencement of the AFMI Montessori Classes, the children are very happily coming to school, in tidy manner, and later the mother or father comes and take the children from the school.

All the children have been given photo identity cards. The children have learned the alphabet as well. They have learned English poems and also the parts of the body.

All of this is due to the hard work of the teachers, During Tiffin times, they all sit in a Circle and with the help of the teachers they take their Tiffin, they also share the Tiffin with their friends, and before the school gives over 15 minutes earlier they play with the ball in the classroom. It is very nice to see them and their developments. We have already purchased a few toys but we need more for the children.

The class meets from 8am to 11am, Monday thru Friday.

Weekly Biscuits are distributed to the poor Children, which will attract their attention of coming to school which is very successful. Out of the 30 only 4 children have been absent for a few days, the rest are coming regularly. During the first day of their classes, they used to cry very much, but now they are not crying, but very happily coming to the classes.

Some of the children are so interested in coming to school that one day their mother brought them on Sunday for one hour. We had to make them sit in the weekly painting classes which are held on Saturdays and Sundays in our center number 3, and after one hour their parents brought them home again!

Best Wishes & Regards,
Mamoon Akhtar
AFMI Montessori School
India

8-23

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