Hadadi is a small village in Karnataka’s Davanegere district. Around 13 kilometers from the town of Davanegere, there are nearly 8, 000 people living in Hadadi. Hippocampus started its Learning Centre in 2012 with the after-school program. In the first year, there were only 18 children. Initially, the community wasn’t very supportive as they were only aware of conventional teaching styles and felt Hippocampus was wasting their children’s’ time by teaching them through play.Kariyamma was one such parent. She hesitatingly sent her first child, Kalyan to the Hippocampus centre but his progress was so immediate and visible that she later enrolled her second child, Sharath as well. Now, Kalyan is in the first grade and Sharath is in upper kindergarten.
Kariyamma says, “Within few months of joining Hippocampus, both my children learnt how to introduce themselves to new people. Now, whenever they see a book, they will be excited to read. They even like to accompany us to the grocery stores to buy our weekly supplies as they are keen to count and pay the money.”Another parent, Nandini has a similar story to share. A teacher herself, she worked for almost 4 years in different schools but when she saw her son Gokul’s progress, she immediately applied to Hippocampus and is now working as a teacher for grade 1 students. She proudly says, “After around 3 months, Gokul started to weave small sentences in English and would sing rhymes all day! I was pleasantly surprised that a pre-kindergarten child could do all this as in the previous schools I’ve worked with, these things take time. That’s when I decided to join them and haven’t looked back since then.”
Hippocampus has made a conscious effort to involve the local community to witness the growth of their children through parent-teacher meetings, annual days and similar events. This resulted in increased student enrolment, from 17 children in 2012, Hadadi’s Hippocampus centre has grown to 96 children and 4 teachers. Another noteworthy development is that for 5 years (from 2012-16), Hippocampus was running the classes in two different, small houses. But this year, a local resident came forward to build a centre on his piece of land! Finally, Hadadi now has its own Hippocampus centre with 5 class rooms, toilets, water supply and even a play space for children.
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