Sri Aurobindo Rural & Village Action & Movement (SARVAM, an initiative of Sri Aurobindo Society) has been conducting English Access Micro Scholarship Program since 2013, through which the students in the village learn English language through varied activities and mediums. This Program is run in association with US Consulate, Regional English Language Office (RELO) and FHI 360 for the village students. As a part of the Access Program, various American English language trainers, scholars and experts regularly visit the SARVAM centre to train teachers and students on new methodologies and approaches to learn and teach English.
The US Embassy, New Delhi, partnered American Councils for International Education to conduct a regional workshop for alumni of the English Access Micro scholarship entitled ‘Journeys to Success –Access Alumni Stories’. The workshop, spanning 2.5 days, was organized at Chariot Beach Resort, Mahabalipuram, Tamil Nadu, from April 30 to May 3, 2019. SARVAM was represented by 8 alumni students at the workshop.
This alumni engagement program provided the Access alumni opportunities to
- Share achievements and successes as Access students
- Develop new skills such as leadership and digital storytelling
- Connect with other alumni and collaborate on group projects, and
- Increase participants’ awareness of the benefits of becoming actively involved in the USG alumni network.
The workshop facilitators helped the participants over the duration of the workshop to develop these accomplishments into a short narrative using audio-visuals. The participants worked in small groups to create 2–3-minute narratives to describe their accomplishments. The final projects presented at the end of workshop will be uploaded on the websites of the US Embassy, US State Department, Access Program, and American Councils.
The American Councils engaged the Access alumni in a dynamic program to:
- Teach participants critical digital media literacy skills that will highlight their activities and successes as alumni.
- Enhance participants’ leadership and problem-solving skills and build solidarity among Access alumni through team building, group projects and interactive sessions.
- Share the ways in which the Access program impacted their lives, and showcase their achievements accomplished as a result of their participation in the program.
- Increase the participants’ awareness of the benefits of becoming actively involved in the US Government (USG) alumni network.
The SARVAM student participants finally got an opportunity of exhibiting the English-speaking skills they had picked up through their English Access classes in an external environment, which increased their confidence levels and grasp on the language. They thoroughly enjoyed the experience of sharing their life stories and experience of learning English in all the fun ways which are devised under the Access Program. On the whole, the entire journey, experience and stay were extremely enjoyable.