Friday, 10 August 2012

How civil society when integrated with Education can actually bring a change in the mindset!

When I had decided to come back to India after completing my Non Profit Leadership prog at Upenn five years back, I had a dream that I will begin some social enterprise which will bring a change in the minds of people to the social problems they are facing. For couple of years I struggled myself, on how to bring this thought into reality. Finally one day my mother, who is a primary teacher and the backbone of my thought process, told me "my dear, if you really want to bring in a change in the mindset of people then you have to enter in the field of education, enter schools and catch these young minds and sow the seeds of change in their minds itself. The magic will just begin to unfold in front of your eyes".

Those words led me towards working on developing this format of 'Experiential Learning via Nature based Activities', where in all the stakeholders of society(Individuals, Government agencies, civil societies and pvt institutions)  will some way or the other be introduced to children and then all the activities which these children are doing will be integrated back with all the subjects being taught to them. I remember when I explained this idea to my mentors Biz Divas- Sarika GuptaBhattacharya at the beginning of this year, she was excited to work with me only because of my passion but had no clue what I was talking about and how nature activities can be integrated with academics.

Today, the idea of ELNA has become a format and is being implemented in a school in Gurgaon under their Student Community Interface program as Project SAVE- with theme Understanding the 3Rs of waste management- Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.

All 3 Rs require children to do extensive surveys among various households, then interact with the NGOs who are working in that field, which would then be followed by an RWA Awareness Campaign where children will be promoting the solutions they have found. Then all this will culminate in the form of a seminar where children present the paper on what all they did in last 3-4 months and how it has helped them in widening their horizons and approaching towards finding a solution.

Yesterday under the Project SAVE we began our interaction week of children connecting with NGOs. One of the first NGOs we had invited is Ashish Foundation for the Differently Abled. The founder of Ashish Foundation, Geeta Mondol, came to school and explained children about the How old clothes and other stuff which is 'my' junk can actually become 'another' person's treasure!

The excitement among children was overwhelming and one could see the joy in their eyes about how their work will actually culminate into something nice and beautiful and help someone in need. A virtue which they had been reading till now in books only but were clueless on how it to do it!!

ELNA has been able to show them the way to do it!! That's exactly what Education is all about, how to bring the out what has been preached via books in the real life.

Project SAVE is an initiative being run in The Banyan Tree World School, Gurgaon by PotsLuck , a small organization which believes in integrating experiential learning via nature based activities with the curriculum. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the great start ! This is a truly innovative idea to bring about change from the ground above and mould young minds at the right time ! Good Luck !