STUDENT'S CORNER: What does ANALP mean to me

Almost all our first sessions with students, teachers and shareholders alike begin with an introduction and explanation about our program. It's great to hear our stakeholders's perspective about our program, but nothing can beat the feeling when our students articulate and share their thoughts about the program. 

This sunday, one of our student, Pratibha Priya from Aya Nagar sent us a very insightful e-mail sharing with us what our ANALP means to her and we thought it was worth sharing with all of you. So here goes.. 

Alohomora education

My name is Pratibha Priya and I want to become a commissioner. I am in 6th standard. I learned to bake cake from internet with my three friends. I also developed my skill of communication and talk to people without fear. I even did my homework and search questions which I am curious about though internet. My dream  is really big so l am slowly starting to plan for it though the information from internet. The program was really helpful to me and l am sure it will be helpful to a lot more like me in future.   

On 23rd October Sunday we had a showcase about what we have learned in the program. We learned things which were interested in. We learned independently on our own though internet. Some learned to Hair styles , magic trick, stitching,art & craft. Parents also came and saw their kids learn. It was a nice day for everyone present over there.

Analp ( Alohomora new age leadership program ) unlocking minds means to learn more and more because there is no limit to our learning. The purpose of starting this program is to train kids to be successful in 21st century. There are kids who dream to become commissioner,doctor etc but how to become , which exam to give they don't know. They do not have information. There are kids who are passionate about some sports, dance, singing etc but they do not have some on who can teach them. The program can be helpful to these kids and they should join our program to learn things which they are interested in though internet. 

       Written by -Pratibha Priya 

Pratibha and her friends sharing what they did as part of their independent learning project!


Her article once again re-iterated a sense of possibility in us and  gave us hope that anything is possible. With this article, we start our students corner- a space for students to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions through this blog. 

Stay tuned for more blogs written by out student writers.. 



On a bright Saturday morning, student-facilitators from Gurgoan, Ayanagar and Sangam Vihar communities came together for their first all facilitator training. The theme of the day was Exploration (KHOJ). We wanted our facilitators to be Explorer/Khojees and also get to know each other better. For this we planned three diverse sessions to help our facilitator wonder, question and learn to work in a team.

The first session was facilitated by Riddhi Didi. The session which was an expression session was planned to enable children to articulate and think deeper about a very simple yet critical question “WHO AM I?’’. We wanted to start the day on a high note, this session interspersed fun with exploration. Riddhi Didi started the session with a few warm-up activities, thereby making all students alert, alive and enthusiastic for the rest of the session. A lot of laughter ensued while warming up after which we all sang a chirpy, happy song “Mera Joota hain Japani” and Pari hoon main” Everyone had fun singing and learning the lyrics of this famous song, after which, we were asked to make our own lyrics using the song as a reference reflecting upon ourselves and our personality. Initially, it was hard, but as time passed, we got to know more about ourselves and delve deeper too.  We received some fantastic responses,

Mera kurta hain safed
Sar par baalo vali choti
Rahti hoon sangam vihar mein
Phir bhi karti hoon masti
— Uma, Sangam Vihar
Main apni jindagi ka lakshya khojne chali hoon
Kar rahi koshish tension lete lete
— Khushboo, Neev
Mein hava hoon. Logoko ko thandak pohchata hoon
— Kaushal, Ayanagar

After this amazing session, the room was brimming with energy. It was truly an enriching and thought-provoking session. The facilitators were all geared up for the next session by Durgha didi.

Durgha didi had something fun in store for all of the facilitators, an activity whose purpose was manifold. The students were in for an exciting yet challenging activity. The activity called “Pipes&Marbles” had students forming groups of 7-8 members, working together to help the marble reach its right destination. But hey.. it was not simple, the marbles had to be manoeuvred using only pipes and there were a set of rules which made the task ahead “Mission Impossible.’’ The facilitators were given 40 minutes to complete the task which also involved planning and execution. The first 2-3 tries were quite disastrous, after which teams got a sense of how to make the task ahead achievable. After identifying the problems, the teams brainstormed again, and with renewed energy started the task all over again. There were a few close misses, finally the students were successful with the task. After an exhausting and energetic 40 minutes, students were debriefed on a few questions involving team work and the sort of questions they need to ask to work effectively.

The last session planned for the day revolved around “Socrates questioning” which was led by Divakar Bhaiya. Bhaiya shed some light on the need for questioning and the role it plays in our day-day lives, following which facilitators were grouped into teams of 5 and were given a few topics on which they could apply the Socrates questioning method. Students began to reflect and think critically and come up with questions which could deepen their understanding. By the end of session, students felt more equipped with the usage of this method and understood the importance of it in our lives.

The day ended on a happy note with cake-cutting and singing. All our Khojees bid us goodbye with smiling faces and eyes filled with curiosity. What more could we have asked? We cannot wait to lead more trainings like this in the future.

Aya Nagar's first Internet Information Mela!

‘The internet will be the biggest equaliser in India’

This thought was put into action as part of Alohamora’s ‘Information Mela’ yesterday where a group of 18 children, from our ANALP Program, armed with 8 tabs and the internet (courtesy hotspot R-JIO) went into the community to practise and share the digital literacy skills they have been developing.

 Alohamora students venture out into their local community armed with tabs and the internet     

Alohamora students venture out into their local community armed with tabs and the internet     

On our walk through Aya Nagar, a semi urban area, our students interacted with many different individuals.

  • Two boys who were curious to learn how to bat for cricket - our students pulled up a batting techniques video on youtube
  • A hairdresser who wanted to explore different hairstyles – our students did a quick Google image search and then showcased a video on how a particular hairstyle can be made
  • A fruit juicer who wanted to know how to cut fruits for décor – A youtube video was pulled up.
  • Children who wanted to watch cartoons – thank you Youtube again!
 Kanchan sharing a cricket tutorial video with two boys to help them learn how to bat

Kanchan sharing a cricket tutorial video with two boys to help them learn how to bat

 Sharing a video showing how to cut a particular hiarstyle at a beauty parlour

Sharing a video showing how to cut a particular hiarstyle at a beauty parlour

 Kanchan and Geeta sharing cartoon videos with the labourers children

Kanchan and Geeta sharing cartoon videos with the labourers children

We also visited the student’s school where labourers are building a new section at the school. The children interacted with the labourers and the labourers’ children – and suddenly they were hit with the realisation of their own privilege and potential to make a difference.

Our students have the opportunity to go to an English medium government school and have a midday meal. They also have the opportunity to learn how to access information on the internet. The labourers’ children do not go to school, sometimes miss a meal.

Khushi asked a labourer ‘What would you like to search for?’

He replied ‘ Jhansi ka temple’

The labourers were from Jhansi and they were amazed that they could see images of the temple they would regularly visit at home on the tab screen.

In the conversations with the labourers and their children the students formed a plan and invited the labourers’ children to classes every Sunday where each of our students will teach a labourers child.

Our students have now taken this on as a community project and they have complete confidence in themselves and each other that this is a goal which can be and should be achieved.

 Students engaging with the Labourers who are building a new section at their school.

Students engaging with the Labourers who are building a new section at their school.

Let’s see what they make happen and what their independent experiment achieve. What we felt most proud about was that our students now feel empowered to take ownership and responsibility of the environment and community around them and believe they can make a difference – what more could we ask for!

 Monal and preeti translating the Hindi on the internet info sheet for Volunteer Lewis!

Monal and preeti translating the Hindi on the internet info sheet for Volunteer Lewis!

During this internet parade in the community we experienced the power and potential of what leapfrog results can be achieved through access to information via the internet – whether for an individual or the community.

Importantly access to information is only the first step. We must consider:

- What does the child do with this information to achieve their life goals (purpose)

- What are the skill sets the child can develop with this access to information (developing mastery)

- What are the support structures in place to help the child achieve their goal (is it an ‘e-nabling’ environment?)

And this is what we as Team Alohamora are working on - we welcome you to join in with the fun and learning next time!

 A housing complex in Aya nagar - we woke everyone up in the morning to share our ditial literacy learning! Join us for the fun next time!

A housing complex in Aya nagar - we woke everyone up in the morning to share our ditial literacy learning! Join us for the fun next time!



Two Weeks, True Bonds

Burning heat and unrealistic temperatures are mundane for us Delhi-ites in the middle of May. The  streets are deserted and most children are found in the comfort of their homes. However, in the locality of Sangam Vihar, regardless of the scorching heat students spend their summer in this little haven of knowledge, not ceasing to learn even when they're on holiday. Most teenagers conventionally spend the summer accessing the internet; be it to complete holiday homework, listen to music or simply get in touch with their friends. We realised that the internet is such an integral part of our lives that we forget to realise that the ease with which we access it comes with a lot of exposure and practice. This summer, we decided to intern with Alohomora to help teach children to reap the benefits of this vast ocean of knowledge- the internet.


What we taught and what we learnt...

Main Objective : The digital literacy programme works towards quenching curiosity  of teenage students through the internet and broadening their horizons of learning.

Becoming a Permanent Member of The Internet:

The internet connects like-minded people worldwide from different cultures, backgrounds, lines of work and ages. The purpose of this course is to give students international exposure and an opportunity to become a global citizen. When  we introduced the concept of online messaging and email ID's, students were enlightened by the fact that they could communicate with most everyone for free. As they sent each other messages it was rewarding to see their eyes light up with awe and joy, they had become a part of this vast digital community.


Access and Sort information

During research time, an emphasis was laid on assembling information, using appropriate keywords to get better results and achieve apt clarity on the topic in question.

Enhance Curiosity

We introduced a new useful website every day, to make their searching skills more efficient. On days when we would run out of time, we realised that the students have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, as they would approach us for user-specific websites at the end of every class!


Application in the Real World

On facing one of the most exciting activities of the camp, planning a 10-day trip to Jaipur, within a specific budget, students learned to analytically solve real world problems. They accessed information on the internet to find hotel prices, book  trains or buses, and decide how they would spend their time there.

Work Spirit!

Although the camp was based on self-learning, the projects and assignments were arranged in a manner that both independence and team spirit were perfectly juxtaposed learnings throughout the many activities.


Self-learning : Main project

The main project for the final week of the summer camp was to acquire a new skill from the internet. The students were divided into groups and they thought of a topic whose knowledge would be essential in their daily lives. We came across many out-of-the-box ideas. Some of them being, magic tricks, Mehendi-making, cooking Chole-Bhature, making an electric motor, etc.

Time Management

Every activity students carried out was to be completed within a fixed time period. This helped them practice a very important life-skill, time management.


What we noticed and took back:

The students never ceased to show us their eagerness to learn and grow. Being curious and courageous were the ground rules of the classroom! They made the best of all the opportunities they got to learn something new, learning new word meanings, new websites, and most anything that they came across. They kept themselves motivated to learn and grow at all times : working tirelessly in the burning heat, persevering even when they didn't understand anything and even putting up inspiring Dr. Seuss quotes on their library wall!

  "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."-Dr. Seuss

"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose."-Dr. Seuss

Their dedication to their future immensely inspired us, on reaching home after a long day a sense of achievement took over us and followed by a sense of humility. Complaining about anything seemed unreasonable, learning became our objective, much like our students. These two weeks of camp developed a symbiotic relationship between us, we taught them as well as learned from them. Two weeks is a small time for a bond this strong to have formed, but with the magnitude of our learning and their strive for excellence, we did it. They indeed were a remarkably impactful two weeks of our life!


9 Reasons Why Children Should be Involved in Solving Social Issues

children for change

Ours is a society with many contradictions. While we aspire to a better life and environment, we try to insulate ourselves from the problems around us. We protect our children from social issues instead of letting them take charge and solve those issues themselves. The result is children growing up disconnected from the social reality.

Here are some reasons to bring change and expose children to social issues:

1.       Key to success – Many organizations like UNESCO have researched the set of skills children should learn to be successful in the 21st century. With the rapid changes in work environment, academic excellence   won’t be enough. Building citizenship and socio-cultural awareness is a key 21st century life skill which can ensure a successful career.

2.       Future Leadership – Children are the leaders of future. They will be faced with decisions which will have dire consequences for the humanity. Their decisions can be environmentally and socially conscious only when they understand the issues deeply from a young age.

3.       The x factor – This is the age of competition. Children constantly need to differentiate themselves with their experiences to stand out in a crowd. It not only builds a different perspective, but also a depth of character.

4.       Part of society – They are a part of the society and are directly or indirectly will be affected by its issues. They are the citizens of tomorrow and will need to bear the consequences of our actions. Issues like pollution, water scarcity, lack of public transport, safety, inflation etc will impact them as much as the under-resourced sections of our society.

5.       Skill building – Working on real world projects give students an opportunity to apply their knowledge which makes learning real for them and builds skills like problem solving, collaboration, research etc.

6.       Builds critical thinking – All the social issues and complex and inter-connectedness and working to solve any one of them pushes the students to explore the complexity involved. Students need to apply a lot of different thought processes to come up with innovative solutions pushing their thinking.

7.       Fulfillment and satisfaction – Working on real world social challenge and see the impact of their actions is a satisfying experience for everyone, especially for children. This builds self belief and confidence among children and gives a much needed sense of purpose.

8.       Mentoring support – Most of the organizations working to solve social issues are happy to support children in their initiatives. This creates a strong ecosystem of mentors and social entrepreneurs who are willing to guide and motivate the children in their endeavor.

9.       Career as an Entrepreneur – Experiences like these also open up a different career option for the students as a social entrepreneur. Being a social entrepreneur is fulfilling and challenging at the same time – it will be a preferred career choice in future!

Children Can Change the World!

Can children change the world? And do they really need to be bothered by the daunting task of changing the world? Join us as we share stories of children leading change in their families and communities!  

India is a young country where around 40% of the population is below the age of 18. Children are the biggest stakeholders of our future. But the education system which is supposed to set them up for future, is failing them miserably. As per the ASER report, published by Pratham – one of the most reputed NGOs in India analyzing the education status in rural India-  the enrollment rate in schools is at 96.7% but only 10% of these children go on to attend college. This percentage for urban India is around 20%. Just imagine the amount of potential that is being wasted!

Working in the education sector for the past 3 years, I’ve brushed against many issues that need urgent fixing. However, there were many promising stories of change as well. My experiences have taught me that if children deeply understand issues and decide to take charge, they can influence their own lives and also make positive impact in their communities.

One such story is about Ishita, a student from my class. She was a carefree, 8 year old girl from an urban slum in Delhi. When her mother joined a stitching class to be able to contribute to the family income, Ishita wasn’t much bothered. But as her mother started becoming more independent, she started understanding the importance of her mother’s experience. When, due to some miscommunication, her father refused to let her mother work Ishita is the one who took matters into her own hand. She continued with her protests till the father came to the discussion table and her mother was back to her learning and work.

 Ishita's mother and other women taking charge to become independent with the encouragement of their daughters. 

Ishita's mother and other women taking charge to become independent with the encouragement of their daughters. 

Ishita’s story shows the influence children can have on their families and in-turn the society. If only they understand the social issues in depth, children can be a collective force to lead change. What we need to do as educators, is to create experiences for our students where they are exposed to various problems the society is facing and give them the space and encouragement to explore the issues in depth.

Sustainable change can happen only when children are aware of social issues and want to get involved. When children deeply understand social issues, they carry tremendous influencing power to change the society starting with themselves and their families and eventually their communities at large. Children can be the strongest change-makers. 

Alohomora @ Raahgiri

We've been spending some energizing Sunday mornings for the past two week! Raahgiri Day is a fantastic example of Design Thinking coming to life.
How do you deal with the excessive traffic and subsequent pollution levels in urban cities like Gurgaon? Block some main roads to cycle, dance, be part of a scavenger hunt , play football on the streets and really do anything else you want except drive. Make citizens aware of the benefits of being socially conscious about using cars, and spend a fun Sunday morning with your friends and family! There is really nothing to lose. Perfect example of how powerful problem-solving skills can be.  

Here's to hoping Alohomora students also develop such creative ideas for pressing social issues in our "Children for Change" events. 

 We've been planning activites at their Gurgaon location, to build some excitement in citizens and engage them to think creatively about road safety, pollution, cleanliness. Participants experienced walking on the streets blind-folded to think of ideas to make road blind friendly, created some colorful street art with chalk, cleaned up the roads while on a scavenger hunt, and identified zebra-crossings that needed to be repainted, among other fun. 

Uploading some pictures here. Bring your friends and family along next time we're there! 

The Power of Make-Belief: Pushing Boundaries

Meet this pair of “C-O-O-L” glasses. It possesses magical powers that not only makes voices louder like a microphone, but also makes the speaker more confident. What does the speaker have to do? Just put on the glasses, stand up straight and talk. Hearing the excitement in Aman’s voice, as he read aloud a page from his story, is one of the defining moments in my fellowship. Aman had always been a quiet student; so quiet that I would often have to walk up to his seat to hear his answers.

Then there is this Santa hat. Wearing the Santa hat makes you see things from another’s perspective. It makes you approach someone you had a conflict with, and talk to them calmly. All you have to do is put it on your head, and say sorry to someone you’ve fought with recently. In a moment of negotiation with two boys who had gotten into a fight, I fronted an idea. I ignored their fighting, wore this hat I had bought just a day earlier and apologized to the class for raising my voice. The sudden change in my demeanor left the boys confused, and more importantly, calmed them down. I asked them if they wanted to wear the hat too and it was a chain reaction. We spent the next half hour passing the hat along as boys who had been cause of many disrupted lessons and bullying came out of their shell to go to their classmates to make up and be friends.  It was incredible. From that day on, the hat remained in my classroom as the “friendship hat.”

Both the stories above demonstrate, what I like to call, the power of make-belief. These harmless inanimate objects gave the kids a sense of foreign energy to push them out of their comfort zones. A lot of teachers use this strategy, from keeping toy mics for speaking and listening classes, to having magic carpets for students to stand on during show and tell, to having a magic wand that casts a spell that grabs students’ undivided attention.

A similar phenomenon occurs in adults as well. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, talks about how certain postures, she calls them power poses, affects confidence levels in people. Her message, “Fake it till you become it” also in a way talks about this power of make-belief. She says, if we ever have to do something that scares us or makes us nervous, we should just 'fake' confidence and get along with the task; and if we 'fake it' often enough, we'll forget that we were 'faking it' at all! We will 'become' that confident person. You trick your nervous brain to believe in yourself, to act with poise and strength.

So try these power poses sometime if you're nervous about an event;  or create magic in your classroom with any object you like if you’re thinking of ways to build engagement in kids.

For more on Amy Cuddy and power poses take a look at her TED Talk. You can read her research here.

For some simple classroom ideas look at these: magic mic, magic wand, magic carpet

How is a child intelligent? – The theory of multiple intelligence.

While teaching my third grade students last year, we decided to participate in a football competition. Since, I taught in a girls’ school, football was not a common sport. Mofida, who was fairly disruptive in class, took to the sport very well. Soon, she excelled in it and her academic performance improved as well due to her new-found focus and confidence! And this was not a one-off incident. How often does one encounter a parent who thinks their child is a failure with bleak career prospects because of the poor marks they get in school? There are several examples of people who did badly in school and still became huge successes in life. To a large extent, the key to students’ success lies in identifying their passion and relentlessly pursuing it with confidence.

So the question arises, what can be done to identify these interests?  Do all children learn the same way? Also, who can help a child in this journey of self discovery?

A big challenge in the current education system is the standardized form of learning each child undergoes. In this structure, children do not get the opportunity to explore their interests and a part of their intelligence.

The traditional tests like JEE, CAT etc. look at predominantly two types of ‘intelligences’: Verbal and Math. ‘Intelligence Quotient’ or IQ, another measure of intelligence also focuses on the above 2 intelligences. However, it is being argued that these tests are an inadequate measure of a person’s intellect.

Howard Gardner, a development psychologist, in 1983 proposed a theory of multiple intelligences which suggested that children learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways and hence have multiple intelligences. Every child is ‘intelligent’ differently and has a mix of ‘intelligences’ categorized in the following ways.

  1. Musical–rhythmic and harmonic:         sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones and music.
  2. Visual–spatial:                                        spatial judgment and ability to visualize
  3. Verbal–linguistic:                                   words and languages
  4. Logical–mathematical:                          logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking
  5. Bodily–kinesthetic:                                control of one’s bodily motions and handle objects skillfully
  6. Interpersonal:                                         sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments and  motivations, work in a group
  7. Intra-personal:                                        introspective and self-reflective capacities
  8. Naturalistic:                                            to do with one’s natural surroundings and
  9. Existential:                                              spiritual or religious

Every child has a few predominant intelligences which define his or her interests and learning styles. For example, a child might struggle in math, but might be great in interpersonal and kinesthetic intelligence etc. There can be many such combinations.

This understanding in parents and educators can be a great asset to help the child realize his or her potential. This can help improve teaching in school to include more learning styles in a single lesson so that every child in the class grasps what is being taught.

What can the children do?

Explore. The earlier a child can identify a passion and start pursuing it, the better.

What can the parents do?

This theory can also help the parents to understand their child’s interests better, enabling them to appreciate and support the child in his or her pursuits.

What can the educators do?

They can plan their lessons such that it caters to wide learning styles and intelligences of children. A single objective in Math, for example, can be taught using visual aids, explaining the concept through songs, letting the students move from their seats to collaborate etc. This will help many more children get the concepts being taught in a single class.


Read more on multiple intelligences:


Take a test - Find your intelligence:


If Alohomora could unlock all doors...

 Spell (noun)- A word or a phrase supposed to have magical powers.

Alohomora  (noun)-  A spell used to unlock objects.

The idea behind Alohomora began soon after our Teach for India fellowship ended. After all the highs from our students’ farewell notes and cards had subsided, we started to analyze the impact we had made on our students over the two years. If end of the year test results are any indicator, certainly the kids had progressed from where we started, but barring 40% of the students, the rest were nowhere near the academic level they should be in grade 4. However our kids had definitely grown (and not just physically)!

Our kids had a spark that was hard to miss. They now had a fearless confidence that led them to have conversations with any person we brought to class as volunteers, to lead anti-violence drives in the school community, to share their opinions with their parents, and above all else, to ask questions about everything they saw or learnt. It is this confidence that made them excited and invested to learn in school, instead of being bored in classes and scared of tests. It is also this spark that gives us hope that these kids have entered a different life path than their peers and will grow up to be responsible, productive citizens of society.

The change happened gradually, over two years of struggle and chaos, as lesson plans went to the bin in the first 10 minutes of a session, while hours were spent going off on tangents discussing if Aladdin’s actions as a thief should be forgiven, or finding the connections between addition and multiplication, or debating whether trees had feelings. Classes meant for 40 minutes lasted 2 hours as we gently nudged the quieter kids to speak up, pushing ALL students to be an active learner in class. The choice we made to shift the focus from academic instruction was a huge risk to take in the current education system. But it empowered the kids to believe in themselves and to shine.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond measure.” - Marianne Williamson

We, at Alohomora, believe an excellent education can give kids the push they need to realize their inherent power.

What if we could ignite this ‘spark’ we’re talking about in a shorter time span and without compromising on traditional academic instruction? What if we could just introduce kids to the skills and mindset required so they gain the confidence to be engaged in their own learning? What if we could kickstart the thought process kids need to discover their talents and see the immense potential they have? What if we could unlock their minds to the world of possibilities in front of them? What if we could just say Alohomora!  

And that’s what we aim to do.

We want to have short term engagements with students and work with them to initiate an understanding of their interests and passions, to encourage their inherent curiosity and creative thinking abilities, and to give them the confidence to take their education in their own hands so they are prepared to see opportunities and make their choices to lead impactful lives.  Our modules are high energy, activity-based lessons that ensure the kids internalize what is being said while creating fun and memorable moments.

This blog is devoted to widening our perspective of what an excellent education stands for. It will be a collection of personal experiences, notes on students’ achievements, reviews of articles and books by influencers in the education space and our thoughts on how we can facilitate an education that allows every child to “unlock” their potential.

*Teach for India is a nationwide movement of outstanding college graduates and professionals working towards eliminating educational inequity in India.