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.

July 31, 2010


After noticing that many of our children were not having adequate food – some were bringing a tiffin (snack) to school each day while others weren't – we decided to start up a programme to provide a substantial tiffin to all the children so that everyone has a proper snack during the school day. The programme started up in July 2010 with an initial donation from friends of Shikshamitra. Since nutrition is very important for growing children, we hope to be able to continue this programme permanently.

The tiffin we provide is not a full meal, as school finishes by 2:00 pm and children go home for lunch. This is for the snack time at approximately 11:30 every day. So far, introduction of a tiffin by the school has been a real success, everyone sits together and it is a very sociable time to relax and enjoy each other. The children share and talk about what foods they like and dislike. The older children are helping the younger children – plenty to learn by all sharing a bite to eat together!

Some of the items served on our menu:
Bun & banana
Egg & Bread
Moori & Vegetables
Samosa & Sweet

Financing the Tiffin Programme:

Thanks to kind donations from Clare Iberson-John, Neil Haran and Susie McNaughton, Nicole Harding Ozturan, Jacinta Byrne and Kiely, we were able to get the tiffin programme underway and running up to October 2010.

Rs. 6-7 per student per day
Current student enrollment 25 students
Budget per day = Approx Rs. 150
Budget for one month of Tiffin Programme = Rs. 3000

July 13, 2010

Resource making

by Bhavaniprasad Majumdar

One day a beggar said, "Give me a bit of bread or give me a bit of money."

The Babu replied, "I have nothing in my home – it's completely empty."

Upon hearing this, the beggar offered, "Why then do you sit idly? Come with me and let's go!

What's wrong with the two of us begging together?"

In our Bengali class, children were given this poem in Bengali.


by Bhabaniprasad Majumdar

Bhikhari bolle, din duti ruti

Nay din duto taka;

Babu bollen, nei kichhu ghare

Ghar bilkul phanka!

Bhikari bolle, bose keno tabe?

Cholun, berie pori,

Doshta ki tate, jodi eksathe

Dujone vikhkhe kori.

The students were asked to read the piece, discuss the concepts, and then to make flashcards using their own words and illustrations for the story. Children came up with very original drawings to match the story. The students have actually designed a nice resource material to be used in future Bengali classes and the illustrations, rather than being drawn by a professional hand, are ones that the children themselves can relate to.


July 03, 2010

Twelve in One Million Giraffes

One of the nicest rules in the One Million Giraffes online project to collect one million hand-made giraffes before the year's end is that you need to share the link with others so they can join in the fun! So, here's the link to our inspiration for making giraffes and sending them across the world:

In art class last Thursday, the students were introduced to this guy Jorgen's project, a bet he made with a friend to try and collect one million giraffes from all over the world. It is certainly not a simple task but he is an optimistic person and, after Shikshamitra took up the challenge, he is now twelve artistic giraffes stronger. We started the class talking about the number, one million, and the unique characteristics of the giraffe: it's long neck, beautiful eyelashes, patches, paintbrushly tail, etc. We looked at some photos and a small model of a giraffe and then...the giraffe magic began. All kinds of materials were placed in the center of the room and the kids worked alone or in groups to create their own giraffeworks to add to Jorgen's beautiful collection. We had a zoo of stitched giraffes, paper giraffes, a tall wooden giraffe, painted giraffes and recycled giraffes by the time our class was finished.

Something I really like about this project is that when you look at all the creations that have come in on the website, it is very clear that everyone has their own perception of what a giraffe is and looks like -- but all of these are giraffes just the same! Who knew there were so many kinds of giraffes out there? We had so much fun doing this so our only question now is -- Why not try your hand at creating a giraffe of some sort and send it in too?

Our giraffe gallery can be viewed at: