Panvel Visit - Ashram Shala, Santivan, Neri
AeSI Schools Outreach Programme26-11-2003 -- Sane, Sudhakar & Arya visit Ashram Shala (School for Adivasis)
Ashram Shala, Shantivan, Neri (A village around 10 km from Panvel) is a residential school for adivasi kids. It has children from class 1 to 7. They come from hamlets in the hills between Kalyan to Karjat. Shantivan is a quiet, serene place. Shantivan in addition runs old age home, leprasorium and health clinic, does agriculture that largely supports its own needs.
Sane, Sudhakar and Arya reached the Ashram Shala by 08:15. Kids of all ages were by then up and waiting for the event. After a quick breakfast and improvised arrangements for projection (this is the most problematic part of all govt schools. The walls are never clean enough to be used for projection. Even if we carry cloth that can be used a screen usually there will be no means of tying the cloth. Tripod and screen may be the answer).
Venue was a small hall (one can never imagine that 300 kids can pack themselves into a room of such size. As they marched in they squatted in a tight pattern as if each kid was a piece of jig-saw puzzle. Not a milli-meter of space was wasted. They sat like that for next hour or so not betraying any feeling of discomfort. It is a lesson on how one can get used to so liitle in life.
This was not a standard programme. Kids were much smaller in age, did not have adequate exposure, had very limited vocabulary, etc. But Prof Sane improvised and launched into an interactive session in Marathi. Every now and then a picture that came up on the wall or some simple thing that was said by Sane about aircraft or flight will brighten their faces. But most of what one would normally cover was beyond their comprehension, but they were making an intense effort to absorb.
Arya was ready with thermocole models and demonstrated a few ideas. When the model flew into the kids there was excitement to touch it and try ones hand.
As the event ended the bag of gift was handed over to the teacher and we shifted to the open ground outside for a flying demo.
By lunch time we were off for a quick lunch at their canteen. Food at the canteen is so simle but very tasty. Much of the ingredients are locally cultivated.
If you ever find the time DO ONE SUCH TRIP.