Patna Collective Grant – Bihar, India
The Gandhi Foundation had organised a 25th celebration of the film Gandhi at BAFTA. During that event, the Prem Rawat charity donated £7,500 towards an educational project that the Gandhi Foundation wanted to sponsor in Bihar, India.
The Educational project in Bihar focused on the following programmes/interventions:
The basic idea of this centre is not to replace public schools but rather to supplement them. We are aware that education has to be a responsibility of the government and no private initiatives, however well intentioned, can be adequate in this regard. What we can do however is to create a context where we can initiate a process of dialogue with the parents and children around education and culture. This would, we hope, be helpful in deconstructing government policies and pedagogies employed and in nurturing pressure groups that would compel the school administration to be more efficient. Hence, our centre works with children after school hours and employs a pedagogy which is dialogic and enriching. The focus is not only on text-based instruction but on a learning process which is activity-oriented, engaging, creative and critical. The children are encouraged to learn through role playing, action games, craft work, theatre and story-telling. They are also instructed in hygiene and sanitation. For these purposes they are learning to make effective use of the centre’s library which is rich in children’s story books. In the coming months we also intend to introduce audio-visual medium at the centre.
Basic education links the children, whether of cities or the villages, to all that is best and lasting in India.