Lunch for soul! 🙂
Next, I had been to Vigyan Ashram, a
school Gurukul located at Pabal, a small village 40km away from Pune. The objective of the school is to teach children, mainly from the nearby rural areas, skills which have direct relevance to the family occupation, primarily agriculture and related vocations . The children develop the traits of entrepreneurship right from the school as it is mandatory for them to earn Rs. 1000 per month through the skills that they are learning currently.
The school stands on top of a hill at the rear end of the village. Most of the infrastructure of the school is built by the children of the school, as part of their learning. More recent structures are geodesic domes, which do not require bricks during construction and do not require foundation, and are still strong enough to withstand earthquakes or other calamities. Thus they are a low cost solution to the RCC counterpart, and yet as strong.
We left from Pune at 9am and reached Pabal at around 12.30 in the noon. Vigyan Ashram is a 15 minute walk through the village. The principal of the school Mr. Anand was occupied with some lecture then, so we met Mr. Ranjeet, who explained us the philosophy of the school, the details of the DBRT (Diploma in Basic Rural Technology) course, the IBT (Introduction to Basic Technology) program and then we went for the trip of the campus.
In 2002,the school developed a low horsepower tractor affordable to small farmers, which was named MechBull. This 10hp diesel driven model was later adopted by a few companies, modified in design & is commercially sold. Such tractors are commonly known as ‘Jugaad’ in the states of Gujarat & Rajasthan. MechBull has power equivalent to 4 bullocks, and is low cost.
A lot of tools working on Solar energy are seen in the campus. A huge parabolic disk focuses the sun rays on a small disc inside an adjacent from where the heat energy can be used for baking products like bread, or to maintain enough warmth inside an incubator for hatching eggs, or simply use for heating water.
Currently the experiment for Solar powered egg incubators are on.. And also Chikki (candies made using groundnut & jaggery) making using solar products is being tried. Ahoy, Carbon free Chikkis!
The food for students & the staff using solar energy as well.
Food processing is also taught to the children wherein they learn the whole process of making a product from raw materials. Children make tomato sauce, jam, jellies, tamarind candies, amla candies and a few other things. They not only learn how to make these and test the final product, but also the labeling, packaging and sales is in the hands of the students who sell the finished products to the visitors at the school, and also cater to orders placed from the village.
There is a FABLAB at the school too, where sensors for different purposes mainly in irrigation are built. Also, led lamps are designed in the lab. <More info on the lab lab in the next post>
The school is rightly called an Ashram as the teachers and the students stay in the same campus and the learning is mostly skill-based. Children wake up early in the morning, do some physical exercises and jogging, then clean the school campus, have breakfast and then have a one hour theory class in which the day’s work is discussed. From 10.30 in the morning upto evening, the practical learning takes place. Also a small meditation session is conducted during the break for food. All this was explained to us by Mrs. Kalbaug, fondly known as Amma when we went to her room during our campus tour. Life at school is very natural, much away from the pollution and the commotion of the city!
The blog, vigyanashram.wordpress.com/ contains the details of most of the projects taken up at the school.
A place worth visiting, people worth being proud of! 🙂 🙂
[P.S. : if u want to go to Pabal from Pune, you need to catch a bus to Rajgurunagar from Shivajinagar. From Rajgurunagar, you directly get buses for Pabal. Catch a bus early in the morning, as it takes quite sometime to reach Pabal. ]