Trust. Collaboration. Action.
United against environmental destruction and poverty, we stand.
Project Director: Apoorva Rangan
The first step was to secure seed funds to launch this program. In the beginning of 2009, Ashoka Youth Venture was accepting applications for a seed grant of $1000 from bay area youth who wish to launch social ventures. We came up with a detailed plan. We chose Somana Halli Higher Primary school from Rural India and the Mission of Hope School from Haiti. Apoorva came up with a detailed program proposal for the school from rural India where as Callie took upon the task of writing a proposal for the school from Haiti. we defended our proposal in front of a community panel and we were awarded the seed grant for the Adopt a Rural School program for 2010.
First Model: Somana Halli Higher Primary School in Hunsur area
A Collaboration between Project Jatropha, Talent High School from Hunsur, India and Somana Halli Higher Primary (Elementary) School from Hunsur India.
During our 2010 summer project site visit, we successfully launched this program in our first model school.
Step I : Selection of science kits, School books and saplings for garden:
We held a meeting with the science and humanities teacher, Ms. Nalina. She explained to us the necessities to establish a solid, basic science curriculum. We did research on the available science kits in Mysore. We visited several learning supplies stores, libraries, and book stores. We compiled a list of books that are usually read by elementary school kids. We took our parents to help us choose some of the books in local language. We shared the list with Ms. Nalina to seek her approval. Most of the books we chose were appropriate for the school children. We bought books in local language Kannada. and English. Choosing the science kits was a fun experience. We purchased almost all of the kits that were available after getting a firsthand experience of using them.
The last part was choosing the plants for our fruit orchard program. In our previous visit, we had assessed the land availability in the school premises. Based on the availability of land, we came up with a precise list of plants. We visited the local plant nurseries and spent time in choosing the appropriate varieties. The list includes Teak, Pongamia, Mango, Curry Leaves, Sapota Guava, moringa etc. We purchased the plants the previous day itself so that it was easier for us to pick them up next day morning before going to the school.
Stpe II : Collaboration with Talent School of Hunsur for Anchor:
That Friday Aug 13th was a special day for the students and teachers of both Somana Halli and Talent School. We reached the Somana Halli school at 9 AM. The Talent school students joined us soon after. We had a special assembly at the school premises. The kids were very excited about this.
We gave the science kits, and books to the teachers. We spoke to the kids. We dug pits, planted the saplings both in front of the school and within their premises involving the kids of Somana Halli and Talent schools. We watered the plants along with the kids. It is a gated facility. This is of great importance prevent the cattle grazers from entering.
STEP IV : Assigning Responsibilities to School Children:
We spoke to the kids at length in small groups and explained the importance of those plants. With the help of the teachers, the students were divided into groups and given responsibility of specific plants. Each group is assigned with weekly duties. They have a sense of ownership.
STEP V : Bonding with the students:
The last activity was mingling with the kids. We sang and danced together. By the end of the day, we were like their older siblings. We were all teary when the time came to say good bye. However, we told them that it was just the beginning of a wonderful relationship. We returned return again in the summer of 2011 to see the progress. The first year was critical as it was a new concept to all of them. However, our venture is a huge success.
Our sincere thanks to Amy Wilson, Ravi Mistry and John Granados for all their help, support, and timely advice. Finally, thanks to Ashoka Youth Venture for providing us the seed grant.