india: a new life

FEATURED LESSON PLAN: Helping Youth in India and Around the Corner



In this lesson, the class will watch a video news story that features a shelter in India that aims to help children living in the street. Students will analyze how the services of this shelter benefit both the children and the community as a whole, and will discuss how youth at the shelter are tapped as leaders to serve other youth in need. The class will then research local social services for teens, organize this information in a directory, and share it with peers. For more background information on India and the shelter featured in the video, please see this lesson’s Related Resources.


Subject Area:

Social Studies, Geography, Civics, World History, Health


Grade Level:

Grades 9-12

Note: The video clip used in this lesson includes three verbal descriptions of violent crimes witnessed or experienced by children.



    The student will:
  • Identify strategies used by a shelter to help children living on the streets of the Indian city of Vijayawada
  • Explain the benefits that such social services provide to both the individual served and the community
  • Collect, prepare and distribute information about local organizations that serve youth in need


Estimated Time Needed:

One 50-minute class period


Materials Needed:

  • Internet access and equipment to show the class an online video clip and to conduct research
  • The FRONTLINE/World film India: A New Life (length: 16:57)
  • Map showing the location of India




  • Show students where India is on a map. Tell the class that hundreds of thousands of children in India are homeless and live on the street, where many receive no education and are vulnerable to abuse, exploitation by unregulated employers, abduction and hunger.
  • To see how this problem is being addressed in the southeastern Indian city of Vijayawada, show the FRONTLINE/World story India: A New Life (length: 16:57). Focus student viewing by having them take notes on the types of services provided by Father Koshy’s shelter.
  • Discuss why so many children in Vijayawada live on the street and the services that Father Koshy’s organization provides to help them. How might each type of service benefit the children at the shelter and the community as a whole? Also, examine the shelter itself. How is it funded and staffed? What are the organization’s values? In what ways are youth at the shelter involved in serving other youth? How does this youth leadership meet the goals of the organization?
  • Have students find out what types of organizations and social services are available in your community for youth who need help with issues such as depression, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, hunger, abuse at home, rape and homelessness. Your school’s guidance counselor, blue pages section in the telephone directory, government departments for health and social services, and city websites are good sources of such information.
  • Help the class create a social services directory that organizes this information clearly for youth and summarizes the services available for each type of problem. Such a directory could be presented in an online wiki, a flyer or some other format.
  • Have students distribute or publicize this information to as many youth as possible. Point out that in doing so, they are acting similarly to the peer educators in the video who connect youth in trouble to those who can help.



This teacher’s guide was developed and written by Cari Ladd. The section on using these materials with ESL students was written by Sally Bunch.



These resources are designed to help ESL students/English language learners (ELLs) both increase their English skills and achieve the learning objectives of the lesson plan for India: A New Life.


The following words are used frequently in the video and can be used to communicate about the content:

    • counseling: Help from a professional in dealing with personal difficulties
    • integrate: To become part of a group or whole
    • development: Process of growth through stages
    • addicted: Dependent on a habit that is difficult to quit


  • Pre-viewing Activity
    • Introduce each Target Vocabulary word one by one, soliciting or providing definitions.
    • Divide the class into groups of mixed English proficiency. Assign each group a Target Vocabulary word and ask them to brainstorm responses to questions involving each word:
      • What are some reasons people need counseling?
      • What should immigrant teenagers do to integrate into U.S. culture?
      • What do children need for their personal development?
      • What are some things that people become addicted to?
    • Solicit one response to each question before beginning the group work. Ask groups to record their responses in list form and share their lists with the class afterward.


  • Post-viewing Activity
    In the featured lesson plan, students will take notes on the types of services provided by Father Koshy’s shelter as they watch the video. In addition to reviewing these services with the class, revisit the group brainstorm lists and ask students if any new responses came to mind. For example, it may not have occurred to students that people can become addicted to living on the streets. Have students add the additional responses and keep these vocabulary brainstorm lists handy so they can consult them as needed.



  • While Watching the Video

    Pause the video to check in with the ELLs in your class. Three suggested check-in points:

    • Five minutes in, ensure that students understand what kerosene is, call on volunteers to provide a brief explanation of why Hassina ended up living on the street, and summarize how Father Koshy and Anu Dasaka began Navajeevan Bala Bhavan.
    • After a few of the organization’s services are shown or discussed, ask for an example that a student has written down to ensure that the others understand and can complete the note-taking activity.
    • After the issues involving girls living on the street are presented, discuss them with the class along with the definition of trafficking


  • Post-video Discussion Activity

    Some ELLs may have emigrated from India or other countries struggling with a street-children epidemic. Ask if anyone would like to tell the whole group about the situation. Encourage questions from classmates, including native English speakers in a mainstream class, such as, “Which cities have a problem with street children?” and “Do you know if there are services available to help them? Does the government provide any?” This discussion can also take place as a previewing activity to engage the ELLs’ prior knowledge of the issues, which will also facilitate comprehension. Students’ relationships with the themes may vary, so their participation should be optional.


  • Grouping Strategy for the Research Activity
    When researching organizations and creating the social services directory, allow students from the same country to work together and focus on local organizations serving their populations. They may work with native-language materials, but their final contributions to the directory must be in English.

  • Alternative for Distributing the Social Services Directory
    If there are only a few ELLs in the class or school and they are self-conscious about using their emerging English skills when distributing the directory, allow them to approach another teacher or a guidance counselor instead.



    Have students role-play a situation in which they share the social services directory information compiled by the class. Some examples of situations may include:
    • Approaching a peer to explain and distribute the social services directory. Have another student ask that person why and how it was made. Have the distributor explain how to use it.
    • Have one student pretend to be a runaway or a friend with a drug or alcohol addiction, unwanted pregnancy or other issue. The other student can try to encourage him/her to seek help, suggesting one of the agencies or contacts from the directory.

    Encourage students to incorporate the target vocabulary where appropriate. Lower-level students may compose a script beforehand.



These standards are drawn from ESL Standards for pre-K-12 students, grades 9-12, published by Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. (TESOL), at

    Goal 2: To use English to achieve academically in all content areas
    • Standard 1: Students will use English to interact in the classroom.
    • Standard 2: Students will use English to obtain, process, construct and provide subject matter in written form.
    • Standard 3: Students will use appropriate learning strategies to construct and apply academic knowledge.


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