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It Takes a Village…of Kids

Did you know that children with disabilities in India have often been kept out of school? Other kids are pulled from school to work at an early age. Education for all children—and other big changes—have come to the Indian village Ammaiyappan, thanks to a great teacher, her students, and the Intel® Teach Program.

Small village of Ammaiyappan

Historically, most people in India with disabilities have led secluded lives—denied education and isolated from their communities due to societal stigma. When designing a lesson about Helen Keller, teacher Magdalene Premalatha had one objective in mind—help her students understand that people with disabilities are simply “differently abled,” and they can achieve great things. As it turns out, her lesson delivered results far beyond her expectations.

Premalatha, who teaches social studies and English in the small village of Ammaiyappan, began integrating technology and project-based learning into her lessons after completing Intel® Teach Program training in 2004. Her Helen Keller lesson sparked a classroom discussion about two local children with disabilities who were not attending school. With Premalatha’s guidance, her students began a campaign to change the attitudes of parents, teachers, and the school headmaster and district officer. The result? Eleven children with disabilities were mainstreamed into local schools within a year. Many of these children are now effectively expressing themselves for the first time using classroom computers.

“Intel Teach has made a tremendous change in my teaching. Whenever I feel my students are not attentive, I use the project-based learning methodology in the class. Automatically they will become attentive.” – Magdalene Premalatha, Intel Teach participant in rural India

Education for all children

Armed with technology skills, Premalatha’s students have changed lives in many additional ways.

Children are no longer pulled out of school to work in Karakkottai, the village where Premalatha taught before transferring to Ammaiyappan, because of her students’ campaign against child labor. 

Thirty women in Karakkottai attended a free 6-month tailoring class that Premalatha’s students brought to the village, gaining an additional way to earn money. Each of Premalatha’s students got at least one person in Karakkottai to stop using tobacco as part of an “Each One Catch One” project.

Her students taught villagers in Karakkottai to create compost from waste and harvest
rain water for irrigation.

Intel Teach program

Intel® Teach Program

Premalatha says she has seen a tremendous increase in the confidence of her students, and believes that project-based learning helps them become better citizens. She notes, “I cannot thank the Intel team enough for this because they encourage me at every step and give me all the guidance I need.”

Intel education

Intel® Education

Students taught villagers in Karakkottai to create compost from waste and harvest
rain water for irrigation.

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