The Optimist Citizen

Preparing the Slumdog billionaires – Story of Parvarish : The Museum School (A Museum based School for Slum Children)

Children and volunteers celebrating Holi at Parvarish : The Museum School
Children and volunteers celebrating Holi at Parvarish : The Museum School

A usual afternoon scene in a slum, throws an image of children playing around in the dirt and mud, and shouting abuses. Often left to fend for themselves by their illiterate working parents, these children have no interest in education, as they do not wish to get regimented into a regular routine. Instead they learn odd skills to earn a rupee or two, take drugs and become criminals.

Now think the Opposite !

Imagine slum children waiting to board a school bus, learning science by playing with various experiments, learning mathematics by throwing pebbles, history by seeing ancient statues, ornaments, coins, and a fun treasure hunt game helping them learn the cultures of various parts of India. Sounds unusual and fun, but that’s true. Parvarish – The Museum School is the first of its kind approach, to provide quality education to slum children through innovative ways. But what does their school look like?

Usually big cities with large population of non-school-going slum children, also have many Museums, that are subject focused and have exhibits for all ages. The Museum School collaborates with these Museums as centres for learning, matches the Museum exhibits and working models with curricula of different classes, and invites colleges conducting Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) courses for practice teaching by their B.Ed students.

Children from slums are picked up by school busses, and taken to the Museums every day. Using the exhibits as Teaching Aids for the subject, B.Ed students teach them various topics for different classes, through ideal teaching methodologies. Moreover there are numerous Citizens and volunteers who support the teaching.

Educated girls from the same slums hired as literacy teachers, are trained on innovative, fast-learning approaches, to teach the children. The Museum School has designed a curriculum to provide holistic education ranging from behavioral changes to literacy, to academics, physical education and adolescence education, to vocational skills and entrepreneurship development.Its practical oriented approach for teaching, sparks inquisitiveness in a child, helps the child learn everything conceptually, in an easy and fun loving manner. The teachers also help the students with their after school studies, that acts as a support system, similar to what privileged children get from their educated parents and home tutors. Well-acclaimed artists volunteer too teach extra curricular activities to the children.“We provide the students an environment and a platform to identify their potential and develop their skills” says a senior Teacher.
Initiated by Mrs. Shibani Ghosh, an educationist and social worker, in September 2005 The Museum School started with 20 rag picker children from 1 slum, and grew to 200 children from 8 slums in 10 years. Every year a set of children graduate out and a similar number join.
“I wanted to use my knowledge and skill for something meaningful. Instead of teaching regular children, who get enough teachers, I thought of dedicating my life to teaching underprivileged children” says Mrs. Ghosh the founder of Parvarish.

Mrs. Shibani Ghosh (Project Coordinator) of Parvarish celebrating Holi with the children
Mrs. Shibani Ghosh (Project Coordinator) of Parvarish celebrating Holi with the children

Collaborating with 5 Museums in Bhopal, The Museum School has removed disparity in quality of education between a rich and poor child, without any further investment. Functioning 6 days a week, and 11 months a year, for the past 10 years, ‘Parvarish’ as it is fondly called, has groomed the children to become responsible citizens. While many children have completed their schooling and started regular businesses, some of them are pursuing higher education in Engineering, Science, and Commerce. Some of them have taken up art forms as their career. The Museum School has also been replicated in Bangalore.
This year The Museum School has been made a Public project, with affluent citizens supporting the expenses, and city’s youth volunteering to teach. So if you too want to see slum children in your neighborhood, get educated and come out of poverty, join the mission by visiting their website.


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