The GOS Study Centre was set up to provide a conducive and suitable environment for school girls from underprivileged backgrounds to study after their school hours. The Centre functions from Mondays through Friday between 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm. Over 50 girls from Classes 6 to 11 studying at GOS MCJ Hr Sec Girls School, Bethany Girls School, Seva Sadan School and the nearby Corporation Schools around Chetpet attend the Study Centre. They are provided with a nutritious drink and snack on arrival and volunteers from Madras School of Social Work ( MSSW) help them with their studies.
Personal files have been created for each child to monitor their progress in academics. There are two classrooms that are well lit and ventilated. Comfortable and new benches and tables have been procured for the children. Apart from academics, extra-curricular activity is an important part of the programme. Motivational talks are held regularly. All the festivals are celebrated with great gusto and the girls put up a cultural performance. Bi-monthly medical camps are conducted. Due to close interaction, the social work students who are volunteers identify issues and provide one-on-one counselling to the girls and sometimes their mothers too. A Monthly meeting is conducted for the mothers of the students to keep them abreast of their child’s development. Reading is encouraged and a mini-library named ‘Dr.Muthulakshmi Library’ has been started with the books collected from well-wishers.
After initial apprehension from the students of having to sit in a classroom once again after school hours, there is a massive demand by students and their parents who want to sign up at the Study Centre. This is because of the huge impact it has had on the students. There has been a marked progress in the academic performance of the girls. Their mental and physical health has improved tremendously thanks to the nutritious snacks and medical check ups and counselling. Due to the success of this centre, opening of Study Centres on similar lines at other Guild of Service Units is being considered.
M.Abithalakshmi is studying B. Com (C.S.) at Annai Velankanni Girls College, Chennai. She completed her schooling from GOS-Mary Clubwala Jadhav Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Egmore.
She says, “before joining the GOS Study Centre, I used to get very low marks, as there was no one to help me at home with my studies. After joining the Study Centre, I got excellent support from the student volunteers (‘akkas’) with my studies. It was extremely easy for me to understand the subjects from ‘akkas’ as they were very polite and friendly with us. Apart from regular studies, I enjoyed the Zumba dance class, spoken English class and motivation classes”.
She adds, “The GOS Study Centre is a safe and pleasant place to study and is very helpful for deserving students from lower income group families like me. We cannot afford tuitions and the assistance provided by the akkas is very helpful. After school, we would go to the Centre from 4.30p.m till 6.30p.m. On arrival we were given a healthy snack like a variety of sundal along with milk / ragi porridge every day free of cost. I learnt a lot at the Study Centre and gained self-confidence to study well and work towards achieving my goals in life. I would like to come and help the students of the Study Centre once I am placed in a job”.
Charulatha, joined the GOS Study Centre in 2018 whilst studying in Class 10 at GOS Mary Clubwala Jadhav Girls Higher Secondary School, Egmore. Living in a singled roomed house with a thatched roof she used to find it difficult to study and was a below average student with poor marks in Maths.
At the GOS Study Centre, she enjoyed the positive atmosphere with bright airy classrooms. She used to look forward to the nutritious evening snack and milk/ porridge on arrival. After joining the Study Centre, with the assistance of MSW student volunteers, who are fondly called ‘akkas’, her grades improved in all subjects including Maths.
Charulatha says, “apart from helping us with our studies in a very comfortable environment and healthy snacks, I used to enjoy the other activities at the GOS Study Centre. We used to be taken for day long educational tours around the city with good food. The motivational classes held regularly by experts from various fields was very helpful for all of us to develop our self-confidence”.
Charulatha is presently studying B.Com (C.S.) at Chellammal Women’s College, Chennai.
A.Kaavya was average in studies and was particularly weak in Science. She used to dread tests and exams and would avoid doing her school assignments.
She joined the GOS Study Centre in Class 10 and with the help of the student volunteers started improving in her studies. She says, “after joining the Study Centre, I gradually started getting my confidence back in my studies. I started attending class tests and my marks began improving. I become friends with girls from other schools attending the Centre and they motivated me and we used to compete with each other in studies. The best part about the Study Centre was that it was not just about studies; we learnt spoken English and had great fun with dance and songs. We used to celebrate festivals together and it became like a second home”.
Kaavya is presently pursuing B.A. (Economics) at Meenakshi College for Women, Chennai.