Most of the poor settlements at the time did not have a pukka structure, a building to serve as a landmark for itself. So making such a structure followed in a few settlements.
This building was meant to house the supplementary school, and when not in use as a school, serve as a shared community space which could be put to other uses as needed, thereby giving them a chance to learn from shared experience and attend trainings held on health, land-use, women’s development, and so on as a part of the initiatives by RDT’s other sector programmes.
Since basic subsistence was an issue, Supplementary Schoolsstarted the day with a nutritious meal, which was a big draw for mothers to bring their children along for. At these schools, RDT staff sat with the mothers to make children presentable for school by oiling and combing their hair etc. and lessons in basic hygiene and neatness would be impressed upon them.In time, the meal was supplemented with a supply of uniforms, books and bicycles.Supplying bicycles to children was a particularly appreciated gesture, traditionally, children had to walk many kilometres to their schools, and bicycles not only eased their load physically, but also helped them look forward to their school commutes – and thereby improve their drive to study.
With these basics in place, families slowly came around to sending their children regularly to local schools, taking their place with children from other communities, something that they were otherwise reluctant to do- since for generations education itself was seen as something that higher caste and better off children indulged in.
Supplementary Schoolsalso ran classes in extra-curricular activities such as song, dance, drama and sports, allowing the rural poor children to stand out among their better-off peers in govt. schools, and boosting their self-esteem and confidence. Supplementary Schools also ran holiday coaching prior to Class VI and Class X admission exams to ensure their competitiveness with their peers from regular schools.