2016 Institutional Goals Set and Met
1. Created a quarterly program with clear staff responsibilities.
2. Maintained harmonious staff communication, continued weekly staff meetings, posted responsibilities on a new Office Flow Chart.
3. Expanded Professional Development for our Office Manager and Teacher.
4. Printed and posted Lokuttara's Vision and Mission Statement, Code of Conduct, and Non-Discrimination Policy.
5. Moved students into boys' hostel, once all local permits were approved. Also built a Compound Wall for this hostel.
6. Continued to maintain quarterly reports and financial statements.
7. Maintained quarterly Trustee meetings, documented in Minutes.
8. Developed Local Advisory Boards and Volunteers to assist with different aspects of the 2016 program.
9. Created more income-generating programs and more local partnerships, and recruited new students.
10. Extended local and international support for long-term sustainability.
2016 Instructional Goals Set and Met
1. Created Student Learning Outcomes for English and Computer curriculum to share with students, parents and supporters.
2. Developed supplemental language learning activities, exercises and homework.
3. Collaborated with global faculty on curriculum development.
4. Expanded existing Computer classes, in collaboration with an accredited IT agency.
5. Offered more non-residential programs, workshops and classes.
6. Offered student-centered Leadership Training at the Academy.
7. Developed and launched more community classes.
8. Recruited local professionals to lead workshops on topics of interest.
2016 Program Goal Challenges
1. We have created new Advisory Boards, and are still building a diverse Board of Directors.
2. We have added field volunteers and built new business partnerships for local support. We will continue to build this capacity in 2017.
3. We will continue to grow our international base of support.
4. We have created Student Learning Outcomes for our English and Computer programs. We will develop these further in 2017.
5. We developed our English and Technology offerings, but not our Science curriculum. We will develop partnerships to explore this in 2017.
6. We did not offer Personality Safety classes for girls and women, but instead offered a free medical clinic for the community, as well as other public programs. We will incorporate our Public Safety curriculum into our 2017 family classes.
7. We did not partner with the local Teachers' Colleges on Teacher Training, but our Director did make a presentation at a local Teachers' College on Lokuttara's student-centered teaching methodology. In addition, five of our former students joined our team and attended our in-house Lokuttara Leadership staff trainings on student-centered education.
8. We collaborated with U.S.-based English teachers on curriculum, but the lessons were too advanced for our students. In response, our English Teacher created her own workbook, appropriate for the unique learning needs of our students, starting with basic first-language literacy skills.
Lokuttara Leadership Academy offers non-residential workshops, classes and trainings for local girls and boys, women and men at our rented Academy facility. We lead a 10-Month Residential Program for boys, in our own hostel building. We host Community Programs and Celebrations, and collaborate with parents, volunteers, supporters and advisors. The highlight of our year is our Six-Day Residential Winter Camp. We are supported by a global community of friends.
2016 Program HIGHLIGHTS
2016 Six-Day Alumnae Leadership Training Camp
Lokuttara finished the 2016 year in December with our 7th-Annual Six-Day Residential Camp. It was conducted at our own hostel building, led by Arun and Dayamudra, with the support of Lokuttara Staff, Retreat Managers and Student Secretaries, who also did outreach before the camp.
In January 2016, Lokuttara hosted a Public Inauguration Ceremony of our new Boys' Hostel, designed and built by our dedicated teams of local volunteers and supporters.
2016 Student Programs
Our first student program of the 2016 year was a Two-Day Communicative English Camp in January 2016, led by Dayamudra, Arun, and the Lokuttara Staff. Lokuttara hosted a variety of other student programs throughout the year. These included a Drawing Workshop for children, a Master Student Program, a Three-Part Motivational Workshop Series, a class on Lokuttara's Code of Conduct, and a Personality Development Training, all led by professionals from the local community. We also had three visitors from Maharashtra, who led a one-day Chinese language workshop. And we collaborated with the local AIM organization on a one-day career training program.
2016 Community Programs
In February, we hosted a tea party to express our gratitude for our local supporters and their families. We treated them to tea and snacks and they sang us songs. And in May, we hosted a medical camp, in collaboration with Amaravathi Eye Care Hospital and Bio-Vision Medical Lab, offering free eye screenings and cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure check-ups. 80 people were served.
2016 Residential Programs
In March, we did outreach in Perambra, in the Kozhikkodu district of northern Kerala, to recruit our 3rd Batch of Residential Students. These students come from very isolated, impoverished and illiterate communities. With these students, we expanded our Communicative English curriculum and introduced them to computer training for the first time. The students embraced the new learning opportunities, developed themselves, and set goals for their future.
In May, we sent off the 3rd Batch of Students with a ceremony that included their parents, alumnae and our supporters. Students shared their experiences of living and studying at the Academy, exressing their feelings and emotions. They also performed songs, dance and drama. Parents expressed their satisfaction with their sons' progress and their gratitude for our Academy.
In June, we sent off five former students to Maharashtra, for social work training at The Nagaloka Training Institute and the Hsuen Tsang Retreat Center. These students, who had previously dropped out of school, have now found a new sense of self-confidence and are committing to more advanced training, in order to contribute to social change in their communities. One of these students is preparing for entrance into the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.
In September, we inaugurated our 4th Batch of Students, who represent the Malappuram, Ernakulam, Trichur, and Kollam districts of Kerala. These students are now harmoniously living, working, meditating and studying together. They worked diligently with our team and volunteers to complete the Second Phase of hostel construction, in preparation for our December 2016 Winter Camp.
Our teacher Archana researched supplementary learning materials for our English program and created an original student workbook. She launched a Student Portfolio Project, maintained Student Profiles, and drafted Lokuttara's Student Learning Outcomes by level, to be shared with students, parents and supporters. She also created Student Learning Outcomes for our Computer curriculum.
This year we celebrated the second anniversary of Lokuttara Leadership Academy, with a community program that included our students, their parents, local families, our volunteers and supporters. We hosted a cultural program and a lunch, and our community made suggestions for the growth of the Academy in the year ahead. We also hosted a public film night with a discussion, and a cultural program for our 4th Batch students with a chess competition, singing and music.
2016 Community Support
We held two Student-Parent-Teacher meetings for our new 4th Batch of students. Students shared their experiences of Lokuttara with their parents and their own transformations. Teachers shared the students' academic and personal growth, and the parents expressed satisfaction with their sons' progress. They were very emotional sessions, finishing with cultural programs of song and music.
We cultivated community support in other ways as well. Local supporters contributed Malayalam books to expand our Student Library. And Lokuttara's Advisory Boards met three times, discussing development and support for the Academy's infrastructure. We also hosted a family gathering for our Advisory Boards, and they contributed furniture for our Boys' Hostel.
In October, Lokuttara's Director, Arun, attended the International Network of Engaged Buddhists (INEB) Conference in Nagpur. There he made a presentation on Lokuttara's programs, reconnecting with Nagaloka Training Institute Alumnae. He also met our San Francisco supporter, Viradhamma.
Arun also made several public presentations in 2016. Among them was a motivational workshop on student-centered learning, for future teachers at a local Teacher Training College. Arun co-led a weekend retreat for Ambedkarite activists. And he was invited to Dubai, where he gave a presentation about Lokuttara to the Ambedkarite Association. They pledged their support of the education of Dalit youth in Kerala, and Arun accepted an Ambedkarite Innovative Movement Award, on behalf of Lokuttara Leadership Academy.
We had two visits from our supporters from the Koshy family, brothers Jose and Mathew. In April, Lokuttara's supporter Jose Koshy visited, speaking with students and meeting with our staff. And in November, our supporter and mentor Mathew Koshy visited for the second time. He met with our staff and students and advised us on our Computer curriculum. We surprised him by celebrating his birthday with cake and song. Everyone was very motivated by his visit.
We began this year with the First Phase of construction of our Boys' Hostel. We built a Compound Wall, receiving materials at a discount from one of supporters, and the generous volunteer labor of our Contractor, Welder and Builders. We finished the year with the Second Phase of hostel construction, expanding the bathroom block and veranda, and developing our grounds. This work was completed in the middle of a severe monetary crisis, which severely impacted the economy of the laborers in our community. Despite this challenge, our team, students, and a number of devoted volunteers finished this construction, in time to host our December 2016 Winter Camp.
The Lokuttara staff continued phone campaigning and launched new outreach campaigns using social media. And we are happy to report that we received 12A Registration, through the support of officers in Alappuzha and Ernakulam, who inspected our facility, filed our application and received approval for our accreditation.
GOALS FOR 2017
In January 2017, our Lokuttara staff set the following goals for the year ahead.
1. Continue our residential boys' program. Conclude and send off 4th Batch of Students. Recruit and inaugurate 5th Batch of Students.
2. Continue day classes and public programs such as: Computer classes, Master Student Workshops, Personality Development Workshops, Art Classes, Women's Classes, Family Counseling Sessions, Health Education Clinics, Film Nights, Family Cultural Programs and Winter Camp 2017.
3. Continue outreach to local families to increase short-term enrollment and build public awareness of the Academy's offerings.
4. Begin first phase of Girls' Hostel planning. Launch the pilot of this hostel in July 2017.
5. Complete 3rd Phase of Hostel Construction to host more public programs.
6. Host regular celebrations to build local community commitment to the Academy, such as Academy and Hostel anniversary programs, special events, staff birthday, student inaugurations and send-offs.
7. Offer motivational classes in local public schools and Dalit colonies/low-income neighborhoods.
8. Host regular Alumnae Activities, to build a strong network of student leaders with responsibilities at the Academy.
9. Host regular meetings with supporters, advisors and volunteers.
10. Host regular meetings with local mothers and women's organizations.