Our news Indian tribal children improving education September 2019 This program, implemented by Assisi Aid Projects' partner Integrated Development Trust, aims to support children living within the rural communities of Tamil Nadu. The 2018-19 project year has seen an increase in the number of participants and villages that are able to access services, including parents groups, village development committees, evening tuition classes and Children’s Parliament activities. Participating children have made significant improvements in their learning and are demonstrating broader skills development and enhanced wellbeing. Evening tuition classes Many children from these Tribal Hamlets are first generation learners and many of their parents are illiterate, so tuition classes are designed to build on their basic education (maths, Tamil, English, and life skills). 3,600 evening tuition classes were conducted across 15 villages, five evenings per week. 80% of children in the targeted communities are now attending the classes as families recognise the positive impact for their children. More than half of the children attending the class are girls. The centres have been improved with support from the Village Development Committees and have been provided with sitting mats and solar lights, so children can safely access their lessons. Community engagement is strong, with parents contributing to their children’s tuition fees, despite 73% of families living below the poverty line. Children’s Parliament and life skills classes Older children participate in Children’s Parliament groups, where they represent children’s concerns to the community. This develops confidence and skills in critical thinking and leadership, with over half undertaking leadership roles this year. Understandings of children and women’s rights has also dramatically shifted, with 70% of children now recognising the equal importance of men and women, a huge increase from the baseline figure of 4% two years ago. Through these activities, boys and girls are able to foster respect for one another as leaders. Case study Chinnamma is an active participant in our children’s program, who has eagerly become involved in an array of activities such as Children’s Parliament, savings club, life skills classes, and evening study centres. She was able to utilise the skills she learned in the savings club and life skills classes to save money, which she used to buy items for her education such as school bags, pens, boxes, and notebooks.