The ARCH dispensary is equipped with a laboratory and a low cost diagnostic center at its campus in Dharampur. The low cost diagnostic center includes facilities for all essential lab tests, EKG and sonography and is accessible to poor patients. This dispensary not only caters to poor patients in and around Dharampur, it is also a referral center for all patients referred by our trained village health workers and by other NGOs.
In the absence of rational low cost medical services for poor patients in this area, this center is gradually becoming a popular medical care center. Daily, about 40-50 patients benefit from this service. Patients pay just a token fee for consultation and medicines to ensure that our services have value but are affordable for all.
We are always sure to include maximum health education while giving clinical treatment.
In the rural tribal communities in southern Gujarat, the quality of education is very poor. In many villages, primary schools arrived only within the last ten to fifteen years, and secondary education is quite limited. Teachers are not properly trained in either subject matter or teaching methods. Students are mechanically led through lessons, but they do not learn, and teachers are completely unenthusiastic. ARCH seeks not only to remedy the systematic dysfunction of the education system, but also to provide quality education, particularly in the critical subjects of math, science, and literacy.
Our approach is twofold: we provide direct services to students and schools, in the form of extracurricular educational programming, teacher trainings, and school help. Secondly, we create and promote quality educational tools that not only educate but also engage children, and make learning enjoyable. We want to replace parroting lessons and mechanical complacency in the classroom with curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and a love for learning that will last students a lifetime.
ARCH EDUCATION PROGRAMMING:
Daily our staff works with pre-school aged children from the surrounding neighborhoods at our Balwadi(nursery school). The ARCH Balwadi uses well-researched, creative child-development teaching methods to develop a foundation for learning that will serve our students throughout a lifetime of education. Our methodologies are also employed in regular education activities at primary schools near our sub-centers atVavar and Mamabhacha villages. We also run Village Learning Centers, community education programs that provide extra academic support for tribal students, many of whom are first-generation learners. The centers are designed to help bridge the alienating gap between the formal education system and the community through creative learning methods that supplement and assist the school curriculum.
We help local schools by training teachers to use such activities in their classrooms, and we run math and science workshops and camps for underprivileged students from the rural tribal area surrounding our training center at Dharampur.
Promoting Quality Educational Tools:
Preparing new innovative teaching material – and constantly upgrading it – is the mainstay of ARCH’s education program. A core team at ARCH develops interactive and hands-on methods for learning languages, science, and math for students of all ages, as well as for teachers. Our methods encourage self-learning for students, and are a necessary alternative to the education most students receive in school regularly.
In collaboration with Eklavya Trust, ARCH organizes Pitara, a book fair and science-math activity center to popularize quality children’s literature and useful teaching aids. It is intended to make educational books and activities more available and accessible for parents, teachers, and students. Demand for Pitara exhibitions from schools and communities is constantly growing! We have begun to receive regular invitations from some of the best schools in nearby cities to run our book fair and science and math demonstrations, and teachers are now voluntarily seeking training from ARCH in interactive experimental math and science teaching methods.
Our latest endeavor is to re-publish quality children’s books in bilingual editions – Gujarati and English – to enhance language learning. We have published 4 books to date.
ARCH works largely in collaboration with local NGOs and individuals and coordinates many education program with them. To make our programs more and more effective, we remain in constant touch with other institutions which are also working to develop effective education program. This includes collaboration with Eklavya (Bhopal, M.P., http://eklavya.in), Navnirmiti (Mumbai, www.navnirmiti.org), and Grammangal (Pune,www.grammangal.org), as well as JNPCT and Bhanshali Trust for teacher training.