Discovering the 8th Wonder

The Makkala Habba was a huge success this year. With unparalleled enthusiasm from school staff, HMs, teachers, parents, students and volunteers the festival became a mega festival.  To mark the success of this mega festival we organized “8 Wonders”, an exhibition displaying the creative work of primary school students from across Bangalore as part of Makkala Habba.

One best model was selected from every school where the Makkala Habba was held. These models were then got to the Akshara office and exhibited on the 19th and 20th December 2013. Post Makkala Habba, everyone at the Akshara office was gearing up to decorate the office and display the exhibits for people to see.

The 1st floor of the office was the chosen place to display the exhibits. Once the exhibits were arranged the whole place looked like a sea of vibrantly coloured LEGO bricks. The Library team at Akshara along with some photography expert volunteers made picture collages of the various programmes. The picture collage of the Makkala Habba gave an overall view of the month long event.

“8 Wonders” was a huge hit with people thronging into the Akshara office to see the LEGO models and discover the 8th wonder. This was Akshara’s first ever exhibition on public display and with a response like this we are encouraged to organize many more.

Three winners were chosen. The runners up were GKHPS Amrutahalli and GKMPS Nagvara. The winners were GKTMPS Cleveland Town.

For all those who missed seeing the “8 Wonders”, take a look at all the action that happened at the Akshara office here.

Makkala Habba 2013: Creativity Unleashed

Saturday mornings in the last 4 weeks had not just been the most awaited one for many a students in Bangalore but also for the volunteers.  After all, it was the celebration of creativity in a different and an innovative way for most people involved.

These Saturdays have been an explosion of creativity and learning for students from 9 Government schools across Bangalore with over 3655 children participating. This year the “Makkala Habba” was held from the 16th November- 14th December 2013 in Bangalore. The Habba was one place where chaos, excitement, energy, ideas and imagination were running high.

 A Community Festival
Akshara has been creating programmes in the Pre-schools (Anganwadis) and Government Primary Schools with an intention to improve educational outcomes. The “Makkala Habba” is a community festival which aims at bringing the parents, teachers and students together. The involvement of the parents and the community ensure the betterment of both the school and the students. A festival like this also ensures that the parents and the school staff build a good rapport and work together.

What is the Makkala Habba?
Makkala Habba is a Community Festival in schools and pre-schools. The festival involves the active participation of the Parents, Teachers and Children to engage in creative LEGO brick activity in the school along with the volunteers.

The Habba uses the theme of LEGO model construction wherein Parents, Children, and Teachers are to be invited to play, and create a LEGO model in the school. This year the Habba had multiple themes. This year the themes were chosen on things the children see around in their surroundings. My ideal city, My school, the market, village fair, modes of transport, shopping mall were some of the themes chosen this year.

Children had to depict the theme using LEGO brick based model construction. The duration of the Habba in each school was two hours. However, in these two hours there was an exchange of ideas, thoughts, views, conversations which helped these children come up brilliant models. On the other hand, there was parent- teacher interaction which otherwise is a rarity.

The Habba was witnessed by senior Education Department officials at many locations. Members from School and Pre-School Monitoring Committees were also invited. Volunteers from Akshara Donors and Friends helped conduct the Habba at the various locations.

This Habba would not have been such a success had it not been for the various volunteers.  Huge thanks to the volunteers from CGI, Hewlett Packard, Hibu, Robert Bosch, I-Gate, Target and the Akshara Team for their help and support. The first edition of Makkala Habba wouldn’t be the same without the co-operation and help from all those involved. 

Dasara Camps

The operations teams at Akshara had a crowded schedule in September. It was hectic and fulfilling. So much to do, in the short span of the Dussehra-Ramzan holidays. The Makkala Habbas, or children’s festivals, they organised in the four Blocks of Hoskote, Devanahalli, Kushtagi and Mundargi called for a heightened efficiency.

The teams selected 12 villages in Hoskote Block, 2 in Devanahalli Block, 20 in Kushtagi Block and 10 in Mundargi Block for the Habbas.

In September, Makkala Habbas took place in: 9 villages in Hoskote Block, 1 village in Devanahalli Block, 10 villages in Kushtagi Block and 5 villages in Mundargi Block. The rest of them were scheduled during early October.

The Habbas were three-day festivals at each location, and the details that had to do be dealt with were huge; every minute aspect to be attended to. Everything had to fall into neatly programmed slots and then emerge as a choreographed whole on the day of the Habba in each of these villages.

All stakeholders had to be contacted in person and their involvement and support secured. They included parents, school managements, youth groups, gram panchayats, community based organisations and self-help groups. And children, who needed no persuasion.

A timetable was drawn up for the three days, and the list of items to be organised tackled.  Habba schedules; donor support; logistics and preparation; themes for children’s activities and talent shows; the inauguration, the closing ceremony; the topics for guest speakers; community programmes like cultural activities focussing on education, discussions and exchange of ideas;  invitation cards, advertisements, the media’s presence, public announcements of the Habbas in villages. It required planning at an acute level.

Makkala Habbas – The Objectives

Makkala Habbas were community education festivals that took a leaf out of the successful summer camps held in the Blocks in April-May. Each of them was organised as a single, stand-alone event. There was the underlying purpose that gave them commonality, as did the sequence of activities. The template was broadly the same, but every Makkala Habba turned out to be different, with its own stamp.

The objectives were: to raise awareness in the community about the school system and their role in it; provide children with learning opportunities, a space to explore their talents and get them to use their holidays in an effective way; make parents aware of their children’s learning; and enlist the involvement of local youth in primary education in their villages.

The Activities

There was a lot that happened for children at the Habbas – challenging games like the play tree, memory game, pick and speak; drawing a village map, quiz competitions; an ASER (Annual Status of Education Report) test to determine competence in Mathematics and English; craft, drawing and painting; village processions highlighting the importance of education; guest lectures; a tree planting drive; song and story; and inspirational moments. The community participated with great enthusiasm, contributing effort and resources.

The Back-End Operations – Training and Community Meetings

The back-end operations for Makkala Habbas began with the training of volunteers and community meetings.

Fifty eight youth volunteers were trained in Hoskote and Devanahalli Blocks; 96 in Kushtagi Block and 52 in Mundargi Block. They led the Habbas, took charge of the process, coordinated with the community, managed the children, all the fun and the learning, and ensured the smooth progression of activities. They were participants as well, in the skits on education at sundown, and in all that transpired those three days.

The Hoskote team went about preparing for the Habbas systematically, conducting 17 community meetings in September. They were energising forums for people’s participation.

The thrust of the team’s communication to village communities was to take part in education with the conviction that it can be the change-maker their children need. Though the meetings were called explicitly to canvas support for Makkala Habbas, the team never stopped reiterating this message and exhorted parents to involve themselves more forcefully in their children’s education, find out about their learning outcomes, build a stake in schools, propel School Development Monitoring Committees (SDMCs) to address school issues and be a force for change.

The topic of Makkala Habbas nudged to the centre of the meetings and the team shared with the community the vision and purpose behind them, the list of activities they had organised, and told them how, with their cooperation and support, the festivals could become enshrined as biannual events in their calendar. Providing learning-enrichment in interesting dimensions for children during the holidays, and an opportunity for parents and the community to engage more constructively with education.

Makkala Habba is Here!

Festivities at Akshara continue with the much awaited “Makkala Habba”. This is a festival of learning, creativity and a get-together for the teachers, students and the parents along with volunteers. 

Children checking the LEGO blocks

What is “Makkala Habba”?
“Makkala Habba” is platform that brings teachers, students and the parents to interact with each other creatively under a single roof. Creativity is exhibited using Lego bricks to build stories around the model. “Makkala Habba” is all about getting teachers, parents, students at selected library schools in Bangalore to build a model based on the theme given. 
LEGO models made by children and parents.
“Makkala Habba” will be held from 16th November- 14thDecember 2013 in Bangalore.The 2 hours of Makkala Habba is going to be one place where chaos, excitement, energy, ideas and imagination are all running high. This year “Makkala Habba” will be celebrated in 12 schools with over 3655 children participating.
Join us as we celebrate creativity like never before! For more details to volunteer for the “Makkala Habba” write to us at
We are looking for volunteers to help us on 23rd November 2013.

Take a look at all the fun at the LEGO Habba 2012 here.