Leading a Literate Life

Since its inception, SPYM has been dedicated to reaching out to the most disadvantaged sections of Indian society, with a strong focus on education and health care

LLL programme SPYM

The LLL programme (Literacy, Library, Life Skills) enables children to achieve a successful reintegration into Indian society – photo: SPYM, CC

In an individual’s life, nothing is more important than their identity. Who you are, where you are from and what you stand for. The ability to write your own name is still a privilege for many. As a society, we need to realize that the ability to read, write and speak in one’s language is not a privilege but a need. While literacy is not a privilege, getting one literate and educated is a privilege. Access to basic education, teachers, and stationery come to those who are economically advantaged. Or perhaps those to whom government schemes, provisions and programmes can reach. It becomes imperative for the society to empower the people without it. More so, the children and youth.

In the marginalized and discriminated sections, children understand and speak comfortably in their language, it’s the reading and writing where they need help. Parents are either illiterate themselves or busy to earn two square meals a day. More often than not, these children are unsupervised, leading to larger problems of them engaging in either drugs or illicit activities. Imagine the potential and lives going to waste. It’s this potential, untouched and unharnessed, that gets into the wrong side of the “norms” and create problems. And the stories of these untouched potentials are to be told. They can’t be reduced to a grid of statistics in an unrelenting and unforgiving national database of illiteracy, unemployment, drug use or crime.


Ajay Bose, now a college-going student, is one such stories of several potentials. He was a peer educator with us at our Todapur centre where he taught in the community. Todapur is a slum area in West Delhi. Ajay Bose helped us to spread literacy and other development programmes. In different programmes of SPYM with children, be it in the community or our centres, it is made sure that children are exposed to education and information. As a step ahead, we have named the program LLL or triple L which is an acronym for Literacy, Library and Life Skills. Children who come to our centres are made to take a test to understand their level of literacy. Basic questions are asked to understand the amount of work to be done with the child to get them to have a basic knowledge of alphabets and number. According to their understanding and level of literacy, the course programme is divided into three parts where children study and participate in various learning activities.

To aid learning, several other programmes like Sports for Development (S4D) and Learning with Games are also run. With the help of these programmes we ensure that children have an opportunity to grow holistically. The two programmes also help us to identify leaders or even inculcate leadership in these children. The trained staff at SPYM, also includes a counselor, who helps these children to know themselves, understand their potential and grow.  Once the children are set to leave the centres, they are again made to sit for a test to gauge how much they learnt over time. The difference that we see is measurable to a greater extent.

To work with underprivileged children and those who have been in conflict with law, it’s important that we also promote them for mainstreaming them with the society. It’s important that once they get back to the society, they feel that they are a part of it and not pariahs. Our in-house modules’ collection called “For Today and Tomorrow” has eight life skill modules where children are taught about emotions, family, relations and health etc. The modules have several aiding materials with the help of which trainers use games to teach the children.

The third L stands for Library. Children who wish to learn more and educate themselves can get books to read. The support is being given by Aseem’s Library at our centres. The books are wide ranging comics and stories. Books that have stories of some of these children are also there giving them a representation in the culture. Some of these children have also caricatured and painted these books. As long as children want to learn and grow, they will be provided a support at SPYM. That’s what we are dedicated to.