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LEGO Foundation supports children in India

LEGO Foundation supports children in India Image

LEGO® Education products have reached India, where the LEGO Foundation will use educational products to support 98 schools under the Arcot Lutheran Church School Project (ALC SP).

Through play and learning, the LEGO Foundation is helping deprived children in India towards a better life.

LEGO® Education products are already used in the LEGO Foundation’s Care for Education projects in South Africa, Brazil, Mexico and China. The projects are all charitable, and will help children in getting a proper education thereby making it possible for them to create a better future.

Now the educational products have reached India, where the LEGO Foundation will use educational products to support 98 schools under the Arcot Lutheran Church School Project (ALC SP). Support will take the form of educational materials for many thousands of children from poor backgrounds and the training of their teachers.

Although the Indian caste system, that divide the population into different social classes, was officially abolished by India’s national constitution of 1950, it continues to live on, making it tough for unwed girls not belonging to a caste to create a promising future for themselves.

“Poverty and being an outcast are two sides of the same coin. We want to make a difference for those children. Education can alter their life situation,” Hanne Jørgensen.

As master-trainer Hanne Jørgensen has been in India as a part of the project, where she has trained schoolteachers at all ALC schools in the many features of LEGO Education material.

Hanne Jørgensen can see that the LEGO Foundation – through its work in India – can help deprived children in the sub continent to a better life.

LEGO Education products by themselves cannot break down the barriers of the caste system. But schools participating in the Care for Education programme have earned such a high reputation in India that children from higher castes attend the schools, even though the children of untouchables also attend. 3000 girls live at the schools that participate in the Care for Education programme and it may make a small contribution towards breaking down some of the social inequalities within contemporary India.

Hanne Jørgensen recently went to India to train the teacher in the use of the materials.

“Teachers in India have a two-year education. But they have to go through the same LEGO training as the children,” she says.

Teachers learn with LEGO bricks
She trained approx. 110 teachers in the state of Tamil Nadu to teach and play with LEGO Education products. Training was organised in the form of group work; teachers opened the LEGO boxes, unpacked the bricks, and solved problems involving certain complications. All problems were followed by a discussion of possible solutions. It was Hanne Jørgensen’s task to suggest methods and questions which the teachers can use when they instruct the children in the use of the LEGO material.

“It is a question of showing examples and putting words and concepts on what you are demonstrating,” she explains.

Although the Indian teachers were unaccustomed to LEGO Education products, Hanne Jørgensen found that they quickly accepted the products – and often added a personal touch in the form of songs and stories in their presentations.

“It was a positive surprise. The teachers did much better than I’d hoped. Culturally, many things have to be taken into account. You can’t just arrive at the school with a two day, cut and dried programme. It’s important that I fit in with the teachers, not the other way around,” says Hanne Jørgensen.

To ensure that the Indian teachers build up their own pool of experience with the LEGO Education material, three local Care for Education people have been employed to support the teachers. This will enable teachers to start using LEGO products in the classroom this spring.