Rather unusual way to get children excited about getting an education. Read along this article from NY Post LEARN-
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
I have come across enthusiastic appeals to contribute towards saving the environment by modifying the way I go about my everyday life. For example, I am piling up dozens of used batteries simply because I am yet to find an environmentally safe way of disposing them, even after actively searching for a recycling plant or safe-disposal facility close to Hyderabad. The same predicament applies to anything that can be connected to electricity from cellphone chargers to television sets. More importantly,
I find it very difficult to avoid using plastics. I buy juice in a tetrapack as against a plastic bottle, only to find that even they use plastic linings to make it waterproof. After little research I come to understand that there is no environmentally safe, affordable water-proofing alternative to plastics available to common man. If such a solution is not available, how is one going to avoid plastics?
Often those who make the transition to the green lifestyle would be forced to spend more on a regular basis!(either as cash or as time trying to figure out a green work-around). As a result, such a community will always be small. Worse, there will always be someone who says, "You know. Its too tough to be green" and will get back to the bad-old ways! (Consider the poor. They generate a lot of waste, but don't participate in waste management in proportion. But is it their fault?)
On the other hand even when solutions are available for an environmental problem, common man is not effectively sensitized. Consider the case of disposing kitchen wastes. Composting them to manure and using them as manure for plants is a tried and tested solution. However, the process of composting or the fact that such small compost bins are available in the market are known only the to environmentally conscious. Good intentions of appeals to be environmental consciousness not withstanding, a tangible impact can be achieved only if proven green alternatives are available and affordable so that common man doesn't really have to subscribe to the green movement to be green
Posted by Badhri at Friday, April 24, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
It has been a long time I wrote a post on this blog - any blog for that matter. The immediate cause of this post has been request from a friend in E4SI to spread the word around about their fellowship program.
Today I am in a helping mood and I say "I will try and help someone'. I see a visually impaired person standing across the road. I dart across the street grab hold of his hand and get him to "MY" (symbolism intended) side of the street. I pat myself on the back and move on. I did not even ask the person if he really wanted to cross the road. To make matters worse, now the person does not even know where he is.Thus it is very important to understand the dynamics - without complicating and overdoing things. Oppotunities like E4SI try to create that bridge between the willing and those who need the services of the willing, by getting them to "start to understand" the way things work. I personally feel that such initiatives are required so that young graduates with good intentions get a sense of direction. Though I am not very enamoured by the choice of colleges, - the top ones - that is a topic of some other post where I will try to include Nitin's views too.
Readers, do put in your comments, even if you disagree with what is written here!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Given that our team has interest in child education, I briefed her about our teaching module and expressed to her that there are quite a few "teaching modules" that are packaged as science kits that can be used, but our module is different in that we concentrate more on "how to teach" to the students using the teaching module, rather than just disseminating the module to be used by the children if and when they need it.
Basically the discussion with Dr. Vishnupriya and later on with Aishwarya crystallized to the following fundamental point:
Focus on delivery methods is more crucial to achieving the goals of the teaching module we are putting together than the infrastructure we use for the same.
On an aside, she has said that she is open to further investigating our idea, our current delivery methodologies and the schools we target and provide us with consultation. However she has made it clear that this may come at a fee since she is a professional as against a social worker. The fee would depend upon the duration for which she is associated with us and our affordability.
Friday, December 19, 2008
"A social initiative will produce a better impact when it is targeted towards the economically poorer sections of the society. The richer the beneficiaries are, the lesser social impact it has.."
While in general this point has a validity, it has to be revisited for every specific case. Here is an example. A team of my friends and I conducted a science demo in a private school nearby. When I talked about this, "Don't you think your initiative would be more useful to students of government schools?" was one question that popped up universally. My answer is "In my case doing it in *this* private school is likely to have a higher social impact" . Why?
1. This private school doesn't have a lab infrastructure in spite of the students paying a nominal school fee (Rs. 200/- per month).
2. The students here do have a capability to read, listen to and understand English, Telugu and Hindi which provides us flexibility in our implementation. So, it gets easier for us to get more students to start "thinking and reasoning science" - a better success rate at our initiative. On the other hand, a government school on which we are working on the ability to grasp English is lesser providing us with challenges (lesser number of teachers from our office)
Much more importantly, access to better education sure is relatively much more difficult for the poor. However, schools that fall in the economic category of the one that we are working on also face problems faced by government schools (non-availability of teachers, labs etc.). In addition to that they also suffer the ignorance of NGOs that rush to help poor quality government schools. It is almost as if these students are paying Rs. 200/- per month to be ignored!
Thankfully, in our case, we need to ignite as many minds to think and reason (in science and others..). In our eyes, whether the students have the ability to pay Rs.200/- or not, if their inclination to reason is lacking, they are equally poor! Only the former is equipped with a skill (English language) that offers flexibility for us to make a better impact.
A society, apart from being categorized into economically richer and poorer, can also be categorized into rich and poor based on other criteria. And the economically richer need not be richer (or have better opportunity) in all the other categories. Social upliftment, one must remember, is not only the upliftment of the economically poorest, but the upliftment of the society as a whole.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
What she presents here applies to any city in this world. Being from Chennai, I have literally witnessed the degradation of its ecology. One example I often quote is the degradation of River Adayar. If you have seen the river 10 or 15 years before you will understand what I mean.
Posting a talk about sustainable design ideas derived from nature may not be a proper post given the theme of this blog. But if you look at the title of the blog, I guess I am not way off from the target by posting it here. Instead of me telling it, I would like you to watch the video and decide it for yourself.
This amazing and eye-opening talk was given by Janine Benyus at one of TED conferences on green technology. Enjoy this talk!
NOTE: Click on "Player 7" or "Player 8" to view the video. Incase if you had problems the talk can be viewed at: Janine Benyus: 12 sustainable design ideas from nature
This amazing talk is from the outstanding researcher Dr. Jane Goodall given at one of the TED conferences.
NOTE: In case if you had problems viewing the video here you can get it from the source at: Jane Goodall: What separates us from the apes?