Yet another eventful year at the E-Base has passed. Last month, the E-Base program completed four years. In the company of our wonderful students and forest guards, we celebrated four years of learning and creating appreciation for wildernesses and the tigers that reside in them. This year saw our students improve their reading skills, explore the biodiversity around them in more depth and learn yoga. Here is a quick glimpse of our anniversary celebration in Pench.
A modern day movement in support of the planet began in this month close to half a decade ago. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had awoken so many of the youth, and increasingly degraded air and surroundings lead to more people raising concern and springing into action. Environmental health was, for the first time, a part of tea time discussions of the common man and the agendas of the politicos. That was 1970. This is 2015.
Despite increased awareness and more inclusive action to address environmental issues, we are, unfortunately, still in the midst of a climatic crisis, one that leaves us with a precarious future. One of the biggest reasons for this climatic turmoil is deforestation. However, it is not only the risks of climatic turmoil that we face due to deforestation, it is also a loss of our food and water security. Ahead of Earth Day on the 22nd of April, this workshop by Priyanka Pandit was about this very concern: loss of our green spaces.
As part of Kokuyo Camlin’s ‘Camlin Kids Power’ initiative, Camlin promotes awareness of burning social issues amongst underprivileged children through mediums such as music and art.
How glad we were to Priyanka and the folks from Camlin over to explain food chains, deforestation and food security with the help of a book and a guitar!
To begin with, Priyanka took the students on a tour of the forest. A forest comprises of producers, consumers, decomposers and the likes. The consumers are herbivores and carnivores which are poles apart in every way, but still have one common link: the producer, our very own forest.
While the 1864 novel introduced to children a completely spectacular image of the underground and of what the Earth is made up of, the reality is quite different. However, it isn’t of importance that the Earth’s core isn’t as exciting as that imagined by characters, Alex and Professor Lidenbrock, the Earth’s core is still extraordinary. Off course, one does not expect the same hospitality from the planet like in the science fiction novel.
This month’s agenda compromised of a virtual journey to the centre of the Earth. Our students are aware of what is extant above the Earth’s surface, but this workshop took them below it to discover what lies beneath.
Purvi Vora and Sangita Kapadia of Reniscience Education made this workshop just as entertaining as the far fetched novel with some fantastic activities.
This month, we had a unique workshop by a very unique personality, Vikram Sridhar. Vikram is a Performance storyteller and theatre practitioner who uses his art and story telling gift to make a difference. Vikram believes the body is a tool of communication. Through his workshops he assists students in becoming more aware of their own bodies and helping them use them as communication tools like he does with his folktale telling performances.
Our planet as it once began has been constantly undergoing changes. The only difference between the changes taking place in the last few centuries and those before that is that now these changes are instigated by man’s actions.
The students know one thing like a gospel truth: life cannot exist without oxygen. It was time to however introduce them to other atmospheric gases playing equally significant roles in the upkeep of our planet.
Amrita Lalljee, Amba Jhala and Anirudh Nair were down in Pench to conduct a very unique workshop this month. The trio, established names in the field of performing arts, visited our students with the motive of making them have some fun and simultaneously helping them find their voices.
Our students walked into the E-Base, unaware of what we had in store for them for the next three days. The workshop encompassed all kinds of learning and fun, from laughing out loud to performing skits based on personal experiences.
Performing Arts is strongly linked to building one’s confidence and opening up. Our aim is to help our students not only find their voice to make them confident community leaders but also identify performing arts as a strong medium of expression and raising awareness.
Bill Bryson elucidates the significance of water through a lovely chapter, ‘The Bounding Main’, in his book A Short History of Nearly Everything. To illustrate just why Water is such an important component of our curriculum, we’d like to quote his rather rather colourful lines on water. He says, “Water is everywhere. A potato is 80 per cent water. a cow 74 per cent, a bacterium 75 per cent. a tomato, at 95 per cent is little but water. Even humans are 65 per cent water, making us more liquid than solid by a margin of almost two to one. Water is strange stuff. It is formless and transparent, and yet we long to be beside it. It has no taste and yet we love the taste of it. We will travel great distances and pay small fortunes to see it in sunshine. And even though we know it’s dangerous and drowns tens and thousands of people every year, we can’t wait to frolic in it. ”
The last week of September saw the students of Pench, Maharashtra getting up close and personal with water. They got right into its chemical composition to its behaviour.
With a quick introduction to the chemistry and physics of water, the students studied the water cycle that makes water just so unique. We had a little fun challenging some of the students to try water that had condensed from the use of dirty, inky water (Yes, like we are sure you have guessed, there were no volunteers, it was down to Pooja to drink it).
With immense help from two wonderful ladies, Divya Nawale and Monica Szczupider who joined us in Pench this month, we have gotten through the bulk of our work.
This month, we began work on our reading program baseline study. Before we open up the library to our students in Pench, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, we wished to determine the as is state of affairs. Our focus remained on two major components of the reading program- the fluency of reading and content knowledge. The students in the region of Pench grapple with similar problems in the education sphere as those in other remote locations in many parts of India.
It’s time to talk about the elephant in the room- our ever growing population!
Jugaad came down all the way from Delhi to share with our students their brilliant creativity with waste. As closure to the waste module for the year, we brought in the experts to teach our students at the E-Base exactly what to do with the most commonly found waste in their houses!