Rural School Transformation- Conservation through effective education

In keeping with our core values, our model for conservation at our field station and any place we work is based on education. We believe strongly that education is the best entry point to a conversation with a community.

Our work in these schools doesn’t involve a short visit, spending a few hours with children, playing some games, putting up some banners and then moving to the next school. Each project is a long-term, intensive engagement with the school where we work with the staff and students to facilitate sustainable transformation.

At the Pench Tiger Reserve, we have worked with our first school- The Telia Government School. Over a year, we raised funds to improve their infrastructure and built a lot of it by joining forces with the students, teachers and folks from the village. We also supported teacher training, to equip teachers with new techniques, materials and an understanding of what a classroom could be. Through all this, we also helped harness various learning material from stationery to laptops.

At our field station at Hunsur, we will be working with the schools as one of our first steps towards affecting the community at large. Our primary focus will be to create effective, sustainable, interactive and happy learning spaces for children to come to. We do this by working with the teachers and students to bring in new elements from infrastructure like solar electricity and biogas units to teacher training and classroom materials.

Through this partnership with the schools, we’re able to ignite numerous conversations. We’re able to demonstrate to children that their future can hold a lot more than they might have been resigned to. Or, we’re able to expose them to global perspectives and possibilities. We’re also able to bring in dialogues about wildlife conservation, health and sanitation, civic sense and so much more.

Moving away from the chalk and talk type discourse, we emphasize strongly on real experience and relevance in a child’s learning process. So, at Hunsur, we’re also creating an experiential learning Centre where children will get to build various skills from carpentry to outdoor survival, improve their English and Math and be exposed to how communities can grow and develop through systemic cooperation and synergies.

The learning Centre has been christened ‘Under the Mango Tree’ because it is in a mango orchard. What the name doesn’t let out is that the Centre is a full-fledged learning space, equipped to make skill building, science, Nature, language and so much more come alive for children.

What we need is for people to visit and spend time with the children. Come over! Teach or be taught. Help build part of the school. Or, just come and excite our students about the possibilities that lie ahead of them. This is a community initiative. The larger and more diverse the community, the better!