Archive for February, 2016

My Learnings – Nai Talim

Saturday, February 20th, 2016

Nai Talim‘ – a new education system that was designed by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937. Currently, there are about 300 schools running in Bihar around this philosophy.

I am inquisitive about this system of education and anyone who knows more about it at ground level. The web research is enclosed.

Nai Talim’ is a spiritual principle which states that knowledge and work are not separate. Mahatma Gandhi promoted an educational curriculum with the same name based on this pedagogical principle. It can be translated with the phrase ‘Basic Education for all’.

However, the concept has several layers of meaning. It was developed out of Gandhi’s experience with the English educational system and with colonialism in general. In that system, he saw that Indian children would be alienated and the concept of ‘career-based thinking’ would become dominant. In addition, it embodied a series of negative outcomes: the disdain for manual work, the development of a new elite class, and the increasing problems of industrialisation and urbanisation.

The three pillars of Gandhiji’s pedagogy were its focus on the lifelong character of education, its social character and its form as a holistic process. For Gandhi, education was ‘the moral development of the person’, a process that is by definition ‘lifelong’.

Basic education links the children, whether of cities or the villages, to all that is best and lasting in India - Mahatma Gandhi

Basic education links the children, whether of cities or the villages, to all that is best and lasting in India – Mahatma Gandhi

What is the role of Engineers?

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

What engineers can do to remove poverty – a very well-articulated video.

1. Can the cost of basic necessities in rural India be brought down tremendously by SMART ENGINEERING?

2. Are we applying our fundamental engineering skills to build basic infrastructure at an affordable cost?

3. Are we applying our engineering skills to innovate sustainable and scalable income models in rural India?

4. Why rural India and agriculture are synonyms, not rural India means smaller populated community?

Few thought triggers…

Follow the below link for more insights on what engineers can do:

Exploring the Societal Engineer

Exploring the Societal Engineer

Little Good News #10 Maharashtra Village transformation – Popatrao Pawar

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

A large part of Indian population still lives in rural villages. We wrote a lot of stories about social entrepreneurs who brought water, jobs or improved agriculture system in rural areas. But it’s rather hard to find a person who has transformed an impoverished village into a model of development, which the government of Maharashtra wants to implement across the state.

The person we are talking about is Popatrao Pawar, former Sarpanch of Hiware Bazar, a Gram Panchayat in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra. In 20 years, he was able to transform Hiware Bazar from a drought-prone village to a green and prosperous model village reproducing Anna Hazare’s Relegaon Siddhi model of village development.

We had the chance to meet him during the first day of Jagriti Yatra, where he spoke in front of 450 young people taking part in the journey.

Here are the six lessons we got from his talk:

1. People deserve power.
A village doesn’t necessarily need a leader. It needs a process that facilitates decisions to empower the community. That’s a key principle in Popatrao’s philosophy. This kind of approach is brought to important decisions: every time the government releases funds for the village, they sit together and decide how to use it to serve the community better. “Decisions for the village shouldn’t be taken in Delhi, but in the village itself, where people understand the problems they are facing,” says Popatrao.
2. Water helps the village flourish.
Water is a basic problem in most Indian villages. And that was the situation in Hiware Bazar 20 years ago. Today, their water management system is studied in universities. How did they do it? They started banning sugar cane and banana plantation since it consumes a lot of water. They also created channels where rain water is collected. That brought the village to have more water than what they need and to even sell it to neighbouring villages.

3. Education is an investment.
Twenty years ago the literacy rate of the village was 30%. Today, it is 95%. They invested a lot in creating a good education system and that’s how their schools became popular that people from other villages started coming to study there. “We don’t believe in erecting statues of leaders, we rather prefer to invest that money in schools,” Popatrao says. Yes, school is an investment. That’s why students are not paying any fee for their education. They just sign a paper where they declare that they will stay in the village once their education is over.

4. The more jobs we create the less poverty we have.
Today our village is more developed than a city in India. All the families who had migrated out of the village now want to come back. Just three families are living below the poverty line,” Popatrao declares with pride. In order to improve the employment in the village, they mainly focused on loan distribution, dairy, carpentry and tailoring. They are so successful in creating new jobs that people from other villages are coming for employment there.

5. Striving for the impossible. And make it happen.
Their beautiful story can be synthesised in one challenge. “Show me one mosquito in Hiware Bazar and I will give you Rs 100,” challenges Popatrao. The village is so clean and they fight malaria so well, that it is difficult to find any mosquitoes here. This ‘miracle’ makes the village so famous that politicians, VIPs and tourists from 21 countries come to see it.
Also few other amazing things are happening in Hiware bazar. To fight HIV/AIDS, they decide that every couple before getting married has to take an HIV test. They are the only ones in India who have taken this decision.

6. Spread the impact.
Hiware Bazar became such a best case practice that they decided to adopt other villages in order to replicate their development model and spread their impact. One of the villages they adopted was infamous for its high rate of suicides, but after the implementation of their development programme no suicide has been registered. At the same time, Popatrao Pawar became the Executive Director of Maharashtra state government’s Model Village programme.

Popatrao Pawar

Popatrao Pawar

Little Good News #9

Monday, February 1st, 2016

A 30-year-old Afghan military captain from Kandahar, who lost his hands while defusing mines in the war torn country, now has two Indian hands – thanks to a successful transplant carried out at an institute in Kochi.

Abdul Rahim who lost both his hands during de-mining operations in Kandahar 3 years ago, received a pair of hands from Joseph from Kerala who was declared brain dead. His will be, perhaps, the first case of twin-hand transplant on any citizen in Afghanistan.

The transplant surgery was performed by Dr Subramanian Iyer of Amrita Hospital, Kerala that was carried out for 15 hours. A Hindu doctor – a Christian organ donor – a Muslim recipient.

Humanity redefined!!!

Abdul Rahim with replaced hand transplant

Abdul Rahim with replaced hand transplant