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Friday, April 10, 2015

Bon Voyage – floating hope of education



If the children can't go to school, why not take the school to them and make it enjoyable – as enjoyable as a boat ride on the river .


With these thoughts, Ajeet Singh started a novel and innovative 'boat school'. Considered a stepping stone in the world of learning, the children spend two hours after their regular school day and study, play or revise without any pressures or tensions.

This interesting concept got coverage in leading newspaper as the 'Varanasi Boat School'. I first read about it on DoRight.in and was intrigued by it. I almost dismissed it as a random gimmick but something told me that the boat school was not just floating around … it was just the first step in the Journey of Doing Right.
I did a bit of googling and found that Ajeet Singh means serious business here and it is not a temporary experiment. In fact, he is not alone in this initiative either. I saw a couple of boat school and other innovative school examples – not just in India but around the world (of course, these are in developing countries only). 

It's a fairly simple idea - If the students can't come to the school, take the school to the students … and make it fun for them. The Boat School is fun and it serves the purpose.

Ajeet Singh  is not only educating the students but keeping them 'off the streets' (or off-the-ganga-ghats in this particular case) thereby making a dual-positive contribution to the society and if he can scale up this initiative to include more children, you will have a sort of magicaltransformation hitherto thought very difficult.

But scaling up is never easy.

The boats currently being used are 'donated' by a local fisherman and the professor and other volunteers are providing their 'teaching time' for free. Scaling up means involvement of more people, more boats and of course, more study material for the children … and all this has monetary costs associated with it.

The boats of the fisherman are also something you need to think about. They are definitely not beautiful or attractive and I am sure we should not even talk about the 'safety' features and equipment of the boat (since there will be nothing to talk about).

This is where a single person's effort begins to show its limitation. Funds are always short when it is only one person funding it … but then the power of many is invariably there to tap in this age of social media and a far greater social consciousness.

Lets say the individual needs about 100 thousand (one lakh) to create a magical transformation of the boat school. For a single person it may hardly be anything. But imagine, just about a 100 people coming together who understand the significance of the effort and for whom a 1000 bucks is but a weekend movie and dinner in restaurant. The load becomes significantly lighter when shared and the goal seems pretty much achievable.

So maybe you can head to DoRight.in and make a donation to this initiative. Think about it. Your weekend movie-dinner could educate a child. Isn't it worth !!

I would suggest you head to DoRight.in and watch the video about this Boat School – maybe that can inspire you to donate (even more) J  http://doright.in/category/learning-on-board/ 

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