SHIKSHAMITRA is a process for learning to live better. It is a space where one

learns to keep well and to help others keep well too. Shikshamitra has an address.

However, it goes beyond this – permeating into the lives of many, influencing

one’s choices in life and ways of life. To be associated with Shikshamitra is to assume

the responsibility of trying to live better. It is a continuous attempt to search for

activities that inspire life and build trust, or, it is an attempt to keep away from

anything to the contrary. Shikshamitra is a means toward becoming aware of

how much one can be and knowing exactly what one’s limitations are.

May 17, 2008

Field Trip to the Village

Our students wrote nice reports in English on our recent school field trip to visit our umbrella organization, Swanirvar, also working to develop alternative education in the rural areas of West Bengal:

Our Trip to Swanirvar

We went to Swanirvar on 25th April.
We left at 6 o'clock in the morning.
First we took taxi for Sealdah from Shikshamitra.
Then we took train to Maslandpur.
Then we took trekker to Swanirvar in Adhar Manik.
It took 3 hours to reach Swanirvar.
We saw the Ichhamati river, mango trees, and lot of greenery.
We played football.
We went swimming in the pond.
We taught the students of Swanirvar wall painting/
I liked the mango trees and the Ichhamati River.
I disliked the power cut.
We enjoyed the trip.
-- Shahjahan A.

Welcome to our blog!
While going through the reports we have compiled over the past three year period, we came up with the idea of starting a blog which will highlight some of the activities, learnings, and hurdles we have come across as educators dedicated to developing a new, more holistic school model here in urban India.  It is our hope that we can develop some form of alternative learning project to fill the void in the existing formal education system offered to marginalized people in our city. We do not just mean "the poor," but all those students who may learn in different ways, and will not necessarily go into an academic occupation. We firmly recognize the changing conditions and needs of the country's younger population who, upon completion of their schooling, need to think independently and creatively devise a means of living through labor, crafts, or other options.

Instead of posting a long, drawn out diary of our past, we say hello from right where we stand now.  We hope to introduce the ups and downs of trying to make this model work, as well as introduce the people involved: through the accomplishments, excitements, and yes, even the daily difficulties of our students and teachers who want to make an honest attempt to move in a new direction, avoiding the mainstream, rote-learning systems of current education.