| progress and planning
Our progress and planning
In 2005 we have started making our program. Initially Mike Chanowski was the only person working on this. In March 2007 Mike Chanowski and Jasper Kappen made a trip to Hemalkasa. This is a place in central India in the middle of a very large jungle area, where only tribals live. In 1971 a very famous Indian humanitarian leader, Baba Amte, has established a hospital there for tribals. His son and daughter in law, Dr Prakash Amte and his wife Mandakini (both physicians), have practised there and this is now a centre for medical and social aid for tribals in an area much larger than Holland. More than 40.000 tribals per year receive medical treatment there. Attached to this medical centre is a school for 500 tribal children from the age of 4 years. Jasper Kappen and his wife have worked in 2003 – 2004 as volunteers for Baba and Prakash Amte. So Jasper Kappen is very familiar with the situation there. During their visit to Hemalkasa in March 2007 Mike Chanowski and Jasper Kappen have pre-tested a small program which was made by Mike Chanowski in the previous months. The children reacted very enthusiastic and showed their aptitude in physically handling and intellectually understanding the program amazingly fast. Inspired by the success of this visit we employed a full time interaction designer, Jeroen van der Ent, to assist Mike Chanowski with the work and produce the games.
In April 2008 Peter Edelenbos organized a two days meeting in Brussels with educational and linguistic experts from India, England, Scotland, Germany and Holland. We explained and showed our program and we exchanged information and views with them. The English expert offered us the free use of a sophisticated teaching program that can be used by the children as soon as they have obtained a basic knowledge of English.
In the period 20 July - 4 August 2008 Jasper Kappen and Jeroen van der Ent went to India. The purpose of their visit was the installation of the first samples of our program for testing at Hemalkasa and in two homes for children in central India. They also established good contacts with an IT company at Nagpur, a city of 3 million inhabitants 150 kilometers from Hemalkasa. The programs performed well and we have received the first testing results which proved to be very positive.
In August 2008 Peter Edelenbos organized a small expert meeting with Dutch experts to discuss some educational and linguistic aspects that have become relevant when we started working on the second part of our program.
During 2009 the first part of the program has been further completed. In 1010 we have started to work on the second part. We are confident that we will be able to complete that part in 2010. Besides working on completing the program we will also constantly be making improvements to the existing parts of the program after we have received the result of the tests.
In january 2010 Peter Edelenbos and Jeroen van der Ent went back to India to conduct more fieldtests and train coaches that are now monitoring and assisting the project. We also started our cooperation with Hole in the Wall Ltd. who are supplying hardware facilities for the tribal villages where we are active.
If it has been proved that the program is successful the program will be further adapted and extended: We will adapt it so that it can also be used by children starting at 2-4 years of age. We will extend it with two additional languages (besides English) namely Hindi (the national language of India) and Marati (the regional language of the state Maharashtra where Hemalkasa is located) so that the tribal children will become trilingual. We will teach the elder children (type)writing after they have learnt to understand, speak and read.