The Phalgar Discover Program is located 2.5 hours north of Bombay in the Palghar District in Maharashtra. The 6 schools REAL supports serve the migrant Adivasi tribe, which makes up 95% of the local population, only 37% of which is literate. In order to support the Palghar Discover program, REAL has partnered with Dr. M.L. Dhawale’s trust fund (MLDT). To break the cycle of poverty in the area, REAL has provided annual grants of $12,600 over the past six years, totalling over $60,000.
In the rural Palghar district, it is often the teacher’s responsibility to motivate students to show up and succeed at school. The teacher training that REAL supports allows educators to learn effective lesson planning and activity-based teaching styles through workshops and classes. The Discover Program also runs and supports science and math olympiads which gets students excited about learning and competing with their peers. 10 laptops collected and donated by REAL donors kick-started our computer literacy program, in which students are taught to use basic software and are equipped with the skills to help them compete in an increasingly digital world.
Our Discover Program also empowers students through educational enrichment. Because schools are overflowing with students, this unique style of education allows groups of students from different local schools to learn together, and return to their local communities to share their knowledge. Additionally, the Discover Program’s mobile library allows every student equal access to quality education, no matter their location.
In light of our current global situation, none of the Discover Program schools are fully open and functional, and villages aren’t allowing entry to outsides. The plan as of early September is to train 10 volunteers, college students who are local residents of the villages, virtually while awaiting government approval to enter school rooms. Educational enrichment may come in handy when things begin to open up, as fewer students need to be together to learn, and those who are together can go back and teach the rest of their classmates in the safety of their village’s social circles.