STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India

by Limitless Child International
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
STEM Education for At-Risk Children in India
Solar powered light and phone charger
Solar powered light and phone charger

Limitless Child International held our first STEM Summer Camp for the Play and Learning Program and it was a huge success!  29 girls participated in this 5 day camp, which took place in the Janata Vasant SLum Community in Pune, India.  The girls ranged in age from 12 to 17 and all currently attend local schools.  Since the girls were still on summer holiday, they had full days to devote to camp.

A new partnership with the NGO called The Story Of Foundation ensured that we had engaging, innovative content for the 5 days of workshops.  Based on a theme of electricity with a focus on renewable sources, the girls dove into activities focused on theory and then innovation and design. Circuit building was explained and demonstarted and the girls were off and running.

Over the course of 3 days, the participants worked in  groups of 5 on self-determined projects.where they conceptualized, designed and built their devices powered by renewable electricity. 

Each project was totally unique and involved sustained group collaboration and teamwork. The overall results were incredible!  A solar powered light and phone charger, an electric toy car run on solar power, a hand crank light and phone charger, a doormat with solar powered lights that lights up when stepped on, and a solar powered, hand-held fan.

As observer, I watched as leaders emerged from each group and saw how each participants strengths were engaged. Some of the girls gravitated toward the theoritical concepts of how and why, others were more engaged in the design elements, and others in the problem solving aspects.

Not all projects came to a succesfull completion, but each group worked through their project to an end point and for those that did not have the intended results, there was a lot of discussion about what did and didn't work, why, and what they might do differently.

The final day of the camp was spent at Vigyan Ashram's Fab Lab where the girls got to see many projects underway. They got to see and use tools, both hand tools and digital tools, and gained an understanding of how ideation becomes a working solution to a real-world problem.

The feedback from our camp was positive. The girls want more workshops, more opportunity to learn through hands-on building. We decided to do a Google Hang-out with The Story Of faciliatators once a month and Limitless Child amnd The Story Of are co-creating a year-long curriculum.

See the attached photos for a glimpse into the week-long camp activities.  

We are beyond impressed with the girls' fortitude and engagement and look forward to bringing this type of program to more children on a regular basis.

In order to do so we need the support of the Global Giving Community. Please consider donating to this project. It truly does change lives.  Many of the girls who have been participating in our workshops are now talking of pursuing fields that they never conceived of before their exposure to hands-on STEM learning.  The level of confidence and curiosity has absolutely been positively impacted by this program.

Thank you for providing the funds necessary to continue expanding this project!

Sincerely,

Jenny and the Limitless Team

The Story Of's Zubin explaining how circuits work
The Story Of's Zubin explaining how circuits work

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First of all, we want to thank all of our donors and supporters.  It is truly you who are making the difference. Without funding for our programs, we would not be able to provide life changing programs to the vulnerable children we serve. We have a current goal of $40,000 to fully fund this program and right now we are just $11,000 shy of our goal. We absolutely believe that we can meet our goal, hundreds of children depend on it.

Who are the children we want to bring the Mobile Play and Learning to? They are children living in India’s orphanages, institutions and impoverished slums. These children are ignored by their local communities, face gender and class discrimination, live isolated lives and, these are children deprived of play, learning and nurturing connections with adults and mentors. The results are devastating; early and forced marriage, forced labor, homelessness, and trafficking into the sex trade.

We have solutions. Through the Mobile Play and Learning platform, children engage in STEM and arts activities which develops their critical thinking, problem solving and ability to collaborate and leadership skills. Age appropriate workshops stimulate an actual love of learning and a desire to further educational and future employment goals. This program also provides marginalized children the invaluable opportunity to become connected with mentoring adults, which has been shown to be one the most important predictors of a positive future.

The Mobile Play and Learning Center has been bringing educational workshops to children from age 5 to 18 over the past 18 months and the feedback is just incredible. 5 girls in grades 9th and 10th standard who have participating since the start have shared that they had not thought about going beyond the 10th grade, but they now realize that they could go on to college. They are now talking about wanting to study to become a teacher, an architect, and to have a career in business. They are utilizing resources opened-up to them by our team of facilitators and mentors.  Younger children are learning to work together on projects that truly interest them. They are developing problem solving skills and working with their hands. They are proud of their work and love the connections to their workshop leaders.    

The goal on my end is to ensure that we can continue to bring our Mobile Play and Learning workshops on a regular basis to the children who have begun this journey with us and to be able to visit new locations and change the lives of many, many more children who need this opportunity to thrive! This is where you come in by making a donation and sharing our story.

Next month we will offer a week-long camp and begin a couple of new partnerships with some incredible organizations.

Stay tuned for our next update!!

Jenny

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Hello to our fabulous supporters!

 In mid-November we launched our Rube Goldstein Machine Workshops and we have you to thank for getting us to this point! 

The Limitless Child Mobile Play and Learning Center, a converted rickshaw serving as a maker space for children on wheelsliterally rolled into the ASHA Community Center in Janata Vasant, a large slum community in Pune, for a series of 3 exciting sessions! Following this, the Mobile Play and Learning Center made its way to Renuka Mahajan Trust Orphanage where another 3 sessions took place.

The results were incredible!  The children at both locations loved the workshops and got totally into their machine creation!  As we wrote in an earlier report, Rube Goldstein machines are designed to be overly complicated contraptions that address everyday problems. This type of project has gained worldwide acceptance as a way of engaging young students in many aspects of design thinking and basic physics based on cause and effect and energy transfer.  See the photos to get an idea of what our students came up with for watering a plant or popping a balloon, it’s truly amazing work!

We conducted in depth pre- and post-assessments for this round of workshops and look forward to sharing the results with you once we have everything reviewed and translated, but the verbal feedback was indisputably positive. The older kids at ASHA said that they learned so much about cause and effect and the need to work together as a team, as well as the importance of testing and retesting, having patience and “learning from mistakes” was a big take away. The younger kids at Renuka Mahajan Trust made more simplistic machines, but used much the same materials and all the same skills were required. Obviously, the level of patience was a bit less, but non-the-less, the kids did a fantastic job and learned a lot.

This unique approach to empowering children who would likely never have the chance to learn in this way is something we strongly believe in and we are proving that it works! Some of the students have expressed more of an interest in science and say they have a better understanding of why experimentation is necessary when trying to come up with new and better ways of doing or making things.

We plan to offer our next round of workshops in April and we plan to add another community group and orphanage to the schedule. We look forward to increasing this program 2-fold in the coming year.  We will continue to work with ASHA and Renuka, because the on-going programing is what will make the biggest impact on these kids’ lives and educational outcomes.We will also add 2 additional locations.

Please ensure that we can continue to grow by contributing to our efforts through sharing this project information with others who might be interested in learning more and please continue to support our work yourself through future donations, it truly means the world to us and the children we serve.

Sincerely,

Jenny and the Limitless Team

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We are excited for the workshops to begin!
We are excited for the workshops to begin!

Hello to all of our fabulous supporters!

We are just 10 days away from launching our Rube Goldstein Machine Workshop and we have you to thank for getting us to this point! 

Over the next 3 weeks the Limitless Child Mobile Play and Learning Center, a converted rickshawwill literally roll into the ASHA Community Center in Janata Vasant, a large slum community in Pune, for a series of 3 exciting sessions! Following this, the Mobile Play and Learning Center, a maker space for children on wheels, will make its way to Renuka Mahajan Trust Orphanage where another 3 sessions will take place.

Since our last update the curriculum has been finalized, the participants selected, the materials sourced and purchased, and the facilitators are ready to get creative!  Stay tuned for photos, video, and feedback from the children.

This is a unique approach to empowering children who would likely never have the chance to learn in this way. The children who we serve live in very challenging situations and environments. We strongly believe that every child has a human right to learn and to play. In this season of Diwali, when we celebrate the festival of light in the darkness and the triumph of good and love over all, we must remember that all children have a flame within, ready to be ignited, ready to shine in its own unique way, all that is needed is the opportunity, and that's where we come in, and you too. 

This is just the beginning of what we hope to be a much bigger, farther-reaching program. After successfully piloting this project last year, we know that the impact is great and we have heard from many organizations in Pune and Mumbai wanting to bring the Mobile Play and Learning Center workshops to their children.  The only thing standing in the way of being able to scale this program is funding. Please take the time to share this project information with others who might be interested in learning more, collaborating with Limitless Child and financially supporting our work.  Please continue to support our work yourself through future donations, it truly means the world to us and the children we serve.

All the very best,

Jenny and the whole team at Limitless Child International

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Girls with their study table
Girls with their study table

The Crazy Machine


First of all, thank you to everyone who supported our Global Giving Accelerator project! We were absolutely blown away by your generosity and your sincere interest in our work. More importantly, we thank you on behalf of the children whose lives you are positively impacting!  Through your generosity, our Mobile Play and Learning Center will deliver STEM Education to 120 vulnerable children throughout the coming year! 

Following up on a series of Mobile Play and Learning Center workshops conducted earlier this year, the next set of workshops will unfold October 22nd through November 5th. These workshops will be based on the Rube Goldberg Machine project. For any of you who know what a Rube Goldberg machine is, you will already be smiling. For those who aren't familiar, well, think of an overly complex, convoluted, cartoon way of linking simple tasks in a chain reaction or domino effect, whereby one device triggers the next device in sequence. Why do this? Because it is a fascinating and fun way for kids to learn about cause and effect and at the same time learn about mechanics and engineering!  Check out this video to get an idea of just how crazy and amazing these "machines" can be!  Rube Goldberg Machine

The workshops conducted earlier this year were targeted at 2 distinct groups of children. The first group consisted of 20 girls from a slum community. The girls ranged in age from 10 to 15 and were referred through a Pune based NGO called ASHA.  ASHA works with girls who are at extreme risk for sex-trafficking, indentured servitude, early school drop-out and life-long oppression. The work of ASHA focuses on issues of self-esteem, female empowerment, and most importantly, the work supports engagement with education.

These 20 girls came up with their own project idea; a study table to do homework at their community center. They used easily sourced and recycled materials such as plastic water bottles, which they converted into twine!  What they created was absolutely incredible, and how they did it was equally impressive!  The girls are now enjoying their table and plan to make another.  All 20 girls participated in this project and all 20 have asked for more of this type of workshop!

The second group of 20 children reside at Renuka Mahajan Trust Orphanage, also in Pune. The children ranged from 5 to 8 years with some residing at the orphanage and some from the local community. Connecting vulnerable children living in orphanages with healthy role models and peers from the local community is a corner-stone of Limitless Child's programing and worked wonderfully with this group.

This workshop consisted of a project called "Creature Feature", which involved the children visualizing a creature made up of known land and sea animals, next drawing out their concept, followed by constructing their model out of craft materials, and lastly bringing it to life with a simple motor to make their creature wiggle and move. This project was totally hands on, introduced the concept of design theory, and the children absolutely loved seeing the fruits of their labor!. They also loved meeting and working with children and adults from outside the orphanage.

Drawing on the success of these first projects, including the positive feedback from the girls and the staff at both ASHA and Renuka, we are in the planning phase for the next set of workshops which we are calling the Crazy Machine Project.

The workshops will take place at the same locations with roughly the same participants. All activities will be fun, involve everyone and incorporate multiple ideas and concepts: physics, mechanics, electronics, woodworking, craft and anything you may find around you.

Everyone, including facilitators, work together. In each location, the entire group’s aim is to build one big machine. They all decide what the final purpose is e.g., watering a plant, lighting a bulb, breaking an egg etc.

Then, the entire group splits up into teams (15-20 people can be split into 5 teams of 3-4 people). Each team works on one part of the whole machine. Each team has to coordinate with other teams to ensure their part connects to the next team’s part (collaboration 101).

There will be four kinds of activities:

Inspiration: having access to and viewing various videos, samples of similar projects.

Learn: depending on the idea that the team wants to build out, they can learn how to work with circuit boards, Arduino, hand tools to put together wood, Dremel for engraving, soldering, stitching, weights, geometry and mechanisms.

Build: once teams have their ideas and sketches, they will start building their contraption. This will take place during the workshop and during the children's free time if they wish.

Reflect: After completing the machine, each group will talk to the others about their crazy invention and the new concepts they saw in action, as a result.

Along with the concepts this series will also aim to develop the following characteristics: Resourcefulness, Creativity, Learning by Questioning, Reasoning/Logic, and Hands on Tinkering.

The initial pilot project demonstrated that this program would have high impact on the population of children we serve.  We are now poised to bring another round of learning opportunities to these children, and we anticipate that it will be nothing short of life changing. For the kids we work with, education is rote, unengaging, delivered by under-resourced, overburdened teachers. Our Mobile Play and Learning Center workshops will be game changers for these kids. Metrics will be employed moving forward to help us demonstrate the on-going impact and efficacy of our work. 

Stay tuned for the next report which will share outcomes and feedback from the "Crazy Machine Project" and pre-view our next set of workshops set for November 18-19 in Mumbai with a new Limitless Child International Partner, Dharavi Diaries! And learn about 2 girls from our ASHA workshops who will attend an upcoming "STEAM School" conference in Mumbai hosted by a collaboration between Mumbai's own Maker's Asylum, the Embassy of France, and sponsored in part by UNESCO! Now this is what we're talking about!!

Jenny and the Limitless Child International Team

Children made their own Wiggly Creatures
Children made their own Wiggly Creatures
Girls participate in table making Workshop
Girls participate in table making Workshop
Jenny Mills with Mobile Play & Learning India team
Jenny Mills with Mobile Play & Learning India team
Renuka Orphanage workshop
Renuka Orphanage workshop
Table Making Workshop
Table Making Workshop
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Organization Information

Limitless Child International

Location: South Portland, ME - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @tom_dif
Limitless Child International
Jenny Mills
Project Leader:
Jenny Mills
South Portland, ME United States

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