Childlife Preserve:
Shishur Sevay

Dr. Michelle Harrison had dreamed of helping orphan children her whole life. In 2005 she left her home and family in the United States and set out to Kolkata, India. Using her personal savings, she brought together a team, established an NGO, secured a house, received a license, and petitioned the government for placement of orphan girls. She began raising and educating the twelve girls they were able to rescue from the government institution. The children (all having been abused) arrived illiterate, malnourished, undisciplined, and without dreams. Four girls with severe disabilities were unable to walk, care for themselves, or communicate. They all needed immediate medical and dental attention.

Today the girls are thriving!

Shishur Sevay continues to cultivate bright, articulate, hard working, and determined young women.

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Ichche Dana Learning Center

It means "I can soar!"

Six years of working with children who have been severely abused and abandoned has taught Shishur Sevay that conventional schooling just doesn't work. Their profound sense of danger and lack of trust leave the children unable to think much past survival. An educational system built upon memorization without context interferes in their ability to integrate information into a useable knowledge base. 

Icheche Dana Learning Center is a place where children can feel safe to learn. The focus is on the children, not the syllabus. They work with the children to identify their strengths and weaknesses and create measurable goals. The modalities include:

  • Khan Academy Flipped Classroom approach for math

  • Identity based studies of culture, governance, geography, and history

  • Liaison with specific classrooms in the US via SKYPE and exchanges of assignments

  • Field trips for application of interdisciplinary learning

  • Music, dance, art, song as integral to the integration of thought and expression

  • ALWAYS reaching for excellence; always appreciating the effort that is being made