Even though it may have been smallest financial turnover in Tara.Ed’s history, 2017 marked a milestone in Tara.Ed’s journey with a revolutionary, high impact-low cost project being launched in Afghanistan and our overall impact reaching 17500 students – tantalizingly close to our 2020 vision of providing 20 000 students with quality education.
2017 also marked a milestone for project implementation as, after an eight year partnership, the Rosary Ajra project concluded in April. Over the lifespan of the project, Rosary school grew from 450 students supported by 12 teachers to 590 students, supported by 18 teachers. Over eight years, a total of 990 children and 32 teachers from Rosary Ajra engaged with Tara.Ed through the Tara.Ed teacher tour, open classroom events, receipt of a scholarship or use of Tara.Ed provided facilities. From 2009 – 2017, Rosary hosted eight Tara.Ed teacher tours in which a total of 31 Australian teachers and pre-service teachers undertook a month long cross-cultural skills exchange with Rosary teachers. The teacher tour was the core of Tara.Ed’s engagement with Rosary, and the learning, relationships and memories of these exchanges will continue to impact classrooms in Australia and India for years to come.
After a three-year hiatus, 2017 also saw the Gyanankur School quality education project resume, with Tara.Ed providing in-service teacher training for the 19 teachers in the school through the reestablishment of the Tara.Ed Teacher Tour program. Similarly, Tara.Ed’s impact in Bangladesh continued to grow throughout 2017 through the annual Tara.Ed Uniform Drive and Teacher Sponsorship program.
In Afghanistan, 2017 saw Tara.Ed launch the Australia-Afghanistan Teacher Collaboration Programme (AATCP), an online mentoring program which draws on the successful elements of the Tara.Ed Teacher Tour – teacher collaboration – to provide continued professional development, training, and support to new teachers in crisis and conflict situations. The initial pilot project, involving 13 Afghan teachers and nine Australian teachers proved to be a huge success, with a potential reach of 5500 students. Tara.Ed also contributed the development of a Teacher Formation Program (TFP), a comprehensive, six week teacher training course aimed at providing teachers in crisis, conflict and refugee contexts with the skills and knowledge they need to successfully function in a classroom. This course is currently under consideration for implementation in the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh.
Tara.Ed’s work improving the quality of education for thousands of children in the Asian region was recognised when I, in my capacity as President of the organisation, was awarded the Australian Women’s Agenda Leadership Award in the Not-for-Profit category, and again when Tara.Ed was named as the winner in the Community Achievement Category at the India Australia Business and Community Awards (IABCA), the premier awards program for within the Australia-India space.
That we achieved so much with a volunteer workforce and modest budget shows the strength of the organisation’s vision and mission and the unwavering commitment of its volunteers and supporters. I would like to thank the Tara.Ed Management Committee; Carolyn Dorrian, Geetha Bhat, Sylvia and Martin Purcell, John Macpherson, Peter Malone and Shaun Star for their contributions and continued commitment to the Tara.Ed vision; the President and Members of the Rotary Club of Berrima District for their unwavering support (even when things don’t go to plan!), our webmaster Arun Neelakandan for his continued efforts maintaining Tara.Ed’s online presence, and last but not least, our supporters and sponsors who are the backbone of the organisation, allowing us to continue our work with some of the world’s most vulnerable children. Thank you, we couldn’t do it without you!
Jennifer Star – President
Tuesday, November 14, 2017.