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Nihar Pandit

The author is leading the International Business Strategy and an Educational Appliance for TCS iON

15

January 17, 2020 · 4 min read •

If the poor cannot come to education, education must reach them at the plough, in the factory, everywhere – Swami Vivekananda

There’s a silent movement going on around Gujarat, India called All India Rural Empowerment Program (AIREP). This movement is centered around the philosophy of VolunTeaching, where people across the walks-of-life spend one day for nation building.

What started in 2008 as a humble effort of teaching village children on a Sunday has now become a VolunTeaching movement. As on date, every Sunday, more than 200 VolunTeachers religiously go to 12 villages across 3 districts in Gujarat and teach more than 1000 children.

In the first village, where it all started, the 10th standard passing ratio was only 15%. The girls used to drop out after 7th or 8th grade. After 10 years and more than 50,000 hours of VolunTeaching by 200+ VolunTeachers, the girls of this village are not only completing their schooling, but also going for a formal degree. Topping that, they now teach children in the schools of the nearby villages under a new program of AIREP called MNMR – My Nation My Responsibility.

Many leading universities in Gujarat have adopted this philosophy and have started their own VolunTeaching movement under the University Social Responsibility (USR) model.

You may find further information about VolunTeaching at https://volunteacher.in/

Along with Education, the movement also focuses on Vocation. Following projects have been undertaken so far:

1.Project Mahek: We started project Mahek with the local Self Help Groups in the year 2011 and it has turned into a Producers’ Company (manufacturing incense sticks), so rare that it’s just the second of its kind in Gujarat. Mahek Producers Company is owned by ladies of Paldi Kankaj village, and we – VolunTeachers are the promoters. This initiative was also highlighted by the Government of GujarateGnan Rural BPO: We started eGnan Rural BPO in 2012 with a dual motive: a) To prepare the youth of the village for the technology of tomorrow, b) To teach them to handle finances – their own hard earned money. By undertaking data entry projects, these youths self-fund their higher education

2.Village Elegance: Yes, the name sounds urbane, and that was the purpose as well – bringing the art & elegance of villages to the cities. We started Village Elegance in 2012-13 to empower the women of the village. The VolunTeachers train the women with making handicrafts (lamps, pillow covers, zori – a kind of footwear, etc.). VolunTeachers sell these handicrafts through exhibitions happening in prime cities like Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar. The women put every penny earned for a constructive purpose, mainly for the education of their children.

3.To take this movement to the next level, we have established a new entity, “Avsath Vidya Sansthan“. The charter of this organization is to undertake multiple educational initiatives. We also intend to start computer centers and a skills school in the vicinity of the villages where we VolunTeach. The core intent is to develop (L)EARNING opportunities for the hidden gems in these villages.

Please visit https://avsath.ml/ for further details.

If you wish to assist us through the journey of VolunTeaching or with the Avsath Vidya Sansthan, please drop an email to aireprogram@gmail.com or avsathvidya@gmail.com

Alternate mediums to connect are available at http://volunteacher.in/contact-us/ and https://avsath.ml/contact

Lets contribute for the nation

Lets take responsibility

Lets convert our words into action

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image courtesy: Pixabay

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