Institute for Initiatives in Education

How Institute for Initiatives in Education Began
In 1992, India witnessed a violent upheaval in the form of conflicts between the upper castes and the lower castes and between the Hindus and the Muslims, the former over special privileges in jobs and education to the members of socially and economically backward classes and the latter over the demolition of a 15th century Mosque. These conflicts endangered the secular foundations of the Indian society. After a series of consultations with the civil society, in which over 5,000 people participated, we were convinced that education can bring a change to this situation. Hence, Sanchetana founded the Institute for Initiative in Education (IFIE) in 1993.
We could reach out to thousands of children from marginalized communities spreading the message of peace through our educational classes, which continued for more than 15 years. The coaching and tutorial classes for high school children were for both Muslims and Hindus. There were almost an equal number of Muslim and Hindu students in all the classes. Sitting side by side and attending classes together has helped remove mutual suspicion and misgivings among the Hindu and Muslim youths. We also organized programs like Celebrating inter-communal festivals, Leadership development camps for youths of both the communities, Cultural programs in which youth from different communities participate jointly, workshops and seminars for promoting inter-faith understanding. IFIE started its first coaching class in 1994-95. But within the next two years it inspired local groups to start similar classes in different places in Gujarat

Regular meetings and different programs are organized to build their capacity as community leaders. Continuous efforts are made so that they realize their unity can become their strength with their identity as the members of the Sangathan. Regular group meetings are organized with individual leader as well as their groups to facilitate leadership.

Creating Leadership to improve state of Education in slums
IFIE Community Classes

Community classes is an impact of Sanchetana’s efforts to create leaders from the community. Community classes are organized in slums by adolescent leaders for younger kids. The community classes are unique in two ways: one, they are organized by adolescent leaders in slums completely voluntarily and second, the classes have ‘no black board… no punishment! ‘ The classes are through different games and material like marbles, stones etc which are easily available in slums in each house. And so education which is usually given in schools or classes, is imparted to younger kids in their own areas by their own people. 40 leaders through 25 community classes reached out to more than 1000 children during the last year! The number of leaders and children is increasing each month.

The role of Sanchetana is imparting training to the leaders and facilitating them to carry out different activities in community classes. Various trainings like science, history, math, creative writing, storytelling, craft etc are imparted to leaders of community classes. They afterwards impart the same training to the kids.

Programs like Summer camp, Teacher’s Day, Children’s Day, Parents’ Meeting (Vali Sammelan) etc are planned and executed by the adolescent leaders.

Community School: Space of joy and connection

Sanchetana initiated Community classes through leadership of young girls three years ago. The step was taken forward in 2018 with creating space in the community – Community School. It is the creative space where subjects like science, history, art etc shall be taken up. The children learn to connect deeply with the subjects rather than learning or remembering information… initially we have started with science and environment inputs and soon the space shall bring in more experts who shall open a window of knowledge to these brilliant kids!! Their enthusiasm and happiness are the strength of this space! 

Assistance to adolescent girls to pursue higher education

Interventions are made to support adolescent girls move towards higher education through scholarship and other activities like personal visits, counselling, group meetings, career guidance etc. Collaboration with private coaching classes and teachers helped provide coaching to girls for higher education. We also network with National Institute of Open Schooling – NIOS through which students can take up 10th and 12th examination without going to school.

Our approach to fulfil this objective is personal as well as collective. We personally attend every girl and her parents as we understand each girl has a unique problem and also approach them collective so that we can attend to common difficulties and reach out to larger number of girls.


Adolescent Leaders


Community Leaders



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