Progress Report7 May 2009By Roshan
Background and Project Vision
Adharshila Shiksan Kendra(Adharshila Learning Centre-ALC) was founded by Amit andJayashree Bhatnagar, who believe that true education:• Is community-minded, preapring the child to contribute to society• Is linked to tradtition, the land and livelihood as much as to academics• Prepares children to engage social issues and think of solutions to themClasses are run democratically. Beyond the basics, students choose the topics they areinterested in, and learn through a combination of books, activity-based learning, andconsultation with the local community. Organic farming on the six-acre plot iscompulsory for all students.Sakad is located in Barwani district, a district which is majority Barela-an adivasi clanthat traces its roots back to the Bhil tribes of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The communitieshere have not been traditionally linked to mainstream society. As revealed in a survey bymy eigth grade social science class, as recently as forty years ago, there was no casheconomy here. This means many children being educated are the first in their families notto be trained in a trade or farming, but the paucity of work opportunities leaves eveneducated youth looking for opportunities to migrate as wage labor.Older rural youth believe themselves to be, in their own words, powerless. In my roles asteacher on campus, and rural youth facilitator, I hope to help youth see themselves ina broader perspective, and help them to think of solutions to reduce the exploitation of them and their communities in the future.
Project Goals and Future Plans
My project goals for the coming months involve older youth, both within and outside theschool. The ‘graduating class’, the first batch of students at the eleven-year-old school tocomplete the twelfth standard board examination, are a group of intellectuals committedto action. They have collectively done everything from win a National Science Congressaward for a report on the link between malnutrition and biodiversity loss to starting arural theater troupe. I intend to structure a summer program for them to fully explore their interests. In addition, working in the villages of some older students home for thesummer, I plan to start a network of discussion groups and local libraries, and make themsustainable by involving local youth. I will also use these months to finalize thealternative curricula in Math, English and social science I have been working on.
Project Implementation Progress and Future Plans
The nature of the days at Adharshila, defined by the interests of the students and the