Plus Trust: Collaborating for a Better Education
Problems are not challenges but they are the opportunities to work towards a better and brighter future keeping this motto in Mind, 21 young (18 new fellows and 3 fellows from the 2016 Batch) and enthusiastic edupreneurs participated in four days workshop organized by Plus Trust Organization Bangalore in Udaipur District from 23rd March 2017- 26th March 2016.
About Plus Trust:
Plus Trust is a Bangalore based organization that encourages the young people to take projects based on inclusive education and animal welfare and provide them an opportunity to bring a change which they feel is necessary to improve the present conditions and challenges. It motivates eduprenures to implement and support them with networking, mentoring and incubation stage funding.
Plus Trust Fellowship Workshop: 2017
In 2017, plus trust received more than 100 fellowship applications out of which twenty candidates got selected for a four days workshop on self-learning and development in Udaipur. This Workshop aims to introduce the candidates to new ideas and concepts in the field of education and provide them an opportunity to interact with people working in the same field and support them to develop their initial ideas into a sustainable project.
Introduction of the Selected Candidates:
In this workshop we have candidates from different rural areas of different Indian States(Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, Uttrakhand, Bihar, Uttra Pradesh). These Candidates have faced inequality, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, disparities themselves and thus understand the issues and challenges of the rural areas they belong but rather then sitting quietly or whining over their problems they decided to be a part of the change they want to see and promote the concept of inclusive education to their respective villages.
Day one started with introductions and ice-breaking activities, this day was a combination of fun and games. The participants shared their preliminary ideas with each other, their expectation from the workshop, what they think this fellowship can do for them and made general code of conduct to take care of each other during these four days. The team members Girish and Smirti shared the story of Plus Trust till date and along with them the old fellows of 2016 Batch also shared their experience with the new participants.
During the discussion the participants mentioned that they feel this fellowship at an individual level will support them to, Implement ones own idea, establish their identity, develop their new skills, inculcate the feeling of self confidence, recognition etc.
In the evening an out-bound activity session was organized by Krishna Baldev (Jatan, NGO) and Deepika (old plus trust fellow), we believe playing games as a group always brings people together therefore this session was kept on day one. During the session the group played a lot of team building game which helped us to bring them together as a team and provide opportunities to members who were little hesitant to speak in the larger group. the group really enjoyed these activities and was positive about implementing these activities while implementing their own projects at the field areas.
The day ended with a movie sessions where the participants in a group screened and discuss on movies “Printed Rainbow”, “Chairy tale” and “Swami”. Each movie depicts human emotions, their dreams and how children dreams get created or destroyed during the process growing up.
The second day started with lot of enthusiasm, passion, games and discussion which further helped in building safe space for sharing thoughts.
Day was devoted towards understanding the pedagogy and how children learn any concepts.
Resource person explained that education is not just about acquiring knowledge but its an holistic approach towards aspiration, to learn and unlearn, increase the capacity to ask questions, spread knowledge and share experience.
In the journey of understanding education the participants got engrossed in the process of learning, they all agreed they felt more connected with the subject because of the two way communication process and also because the resource person could able to generate interest of the participant in the topic.
The resource Person explained that to make the pedagogy more interesting its is important as a teacher that we should not give a direct answer to the children rather create a zig- zag path to encourage critical thinking among them and make room for fun-learning.
Sharing an Experience with Professionals:
To provide an understanding of the issues related to the mobilization and fund raising which is crucial to run a social entrepreneurship , the team invited Ms. Manju Khatik and Mr. Rahul Dubey to interact with participants on the topic of mobilization and fundraising respectively.
Ms. Maju Khatik is working on the topic of community mobilization and participation of women leaders in Panchayati Raj institution for more than 10 years. In her talk she shared her experience of mobilization and what are some common challenges she face and how to overcome them; she also explained that the mobilizations should not be seen as a fixed activity or a group of fix activities but it is a process that goes over a period of time and needs to be innovated at every step.
Mr. Rahul Dubey is a founder member of an NGO named ALFA Education Society working towards communal harmony, children education and also constructing an Eco-friendly school in in a village. He shared his experience of raising the funds for the school from the community as well as from other platforms like internet funding, he also explained that funding should not be only seen in front of money but it can also be in terms of material or in terms of labor and one should look for these options during the process of Fundraising.
Understanding Theater as a tool of Mobilization and Team Building:
In the evening professional from the theatre group “NATYANSH” based in Udaipur took session on how theater activities can be used to make the process of education more interesting, they have conducted different activities on team building and explained street play as a medium of raising awareness within the community.
Day three started with science experiments and fun, the Resource Person asked participants to break up into small groups of three and explained the basic concept of Newton’s third law of Physics, but to do this he did not use a lecture mode rather all you need is a string, a tape, a balloon, a story of a rocket and the stage is set for children to explore the world of knowledge and imaginations.
The next activity was carving a knife out of an ice-cream sticks, through this activity the resource person explained that education does not only means having an information but it goes beyond, it means acquiring skills and knowing how and when to use these skills, for example knowing about a knife is an information, carving it with our own hands is a skill and knowing that it should be used to cut vegetable and not to kill people is the spiritual part of the education. After the activity the resource person also explained about the concept of NAI TALIM by Gandhi and role of education for society at large.
The team visited Apna Jatan Center, an education center run by Jatan Sansthan (NGO) in a slum area of Udaipur city. This center help the children who don’t go to school, act as a day care center for young children and tuition center for school going children. This work is very similar to what many participants have in mind to open a space of education in their village. The participants asked a lot of questions to staff present about the working of the center and issues they faced.
After the organization the participants divided themselves in the four groups and each group performed a street play on different topics related to the education in the slum area, which they have prepared and practiced previous evening.
Understanding “Other Gender”:-
Due to the long practice of patriarchy in our society identifying an act of gender discrimination is a difficult task, though we have a lot of discussion and extensive work on Women rights the rights of “other gender” is not even seen the light of the day in many places.
In order to talk about the issue and make a basic understanding on the subject on of the Participants took a session on this topic. This session gave the participants a space to think and discuss on the issues and challenges related to Gender Discrimination.
Using Stories as a Medium:-
In the evening a story session was conducted by Resource person Radhika to explain how stories can be used as an effective tool education. She also shared her experience of teaching English Language with the help of Stories, She told the participants that a story is a tool which is so engrossing for children as well as for the adults for providing information and creative skills
Day four started early as all the participants went for “Hertiage Walk” organized by a youth group in Udaipur and saw the historic and natural beauty of the city. The group enjoyed this activity a lot.
On the basis of the three days sessions and experience the last day of the workshop was devoted towards working on ideas.
In the starting Ms. Smiriti shared a common structure for the proposal writing with the participants and discuss with them on how to develop a plan which is more sustainable in a longer run.
The participants prepared rough drafts of their ideas and presented in the larger group and took feedback and suggestions on how to improve and make their project more sustainable. The session was very informative and one can clearly see that the participants could inculcate the information and concepts shared with them in last three days.
The workshop ended with certificate distribution and promises of taking forward the friendship which each and every one found in these four days.