Presentation on theme: "15 th International Conference of National Trusts Entebbe, Uganda, 30 September – 4 October 2013 “Our Heritage, Our Future:” Cultural Diversity for Responsible."— Presentation transcript:
15 th International Conference of National Trusts Entebbe, Uganda, 30 September – 4 October 2013 “Our Heritage, Our Future:” Cultural Diversity for Responsible Development Sustaining Rural Heritage through Education: An Indian Case Study Presentation By S.K. Misra, Chairman THE INDIAN TRUST FOR RURAL HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT www.itrhd.com
THE INDIAN TRUST FOR RURAL HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT (ITRHD) was formally registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act on 23 June 2011 “Just as the universe is contained in the self, So is India contained in the villages.” Mahatma Gandhi
India’s population is now at 1.2 billion. Almost 70% of our citizens live in 600,000 villages and countless small settlements, throughout the country. More than 30% of this rural population suffers from chronic poverty, and an estimated 15 million rural families are both poor and landless.
They endure lack of: Civic infrastructure Medical facilities Proper education Almost all the comforts and amenities of life
Struggling to maintain a basic existence, these rural residents are often unaware that they may possess one rich untapped resource: H E R I T A G E
THE INDIAN TRUST FOR RURAL HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT (ITRHD) was formally registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act on 23 June 2011 Keeping in mind the vast untapped potential of India’s rich rural heritage, ITRHD was formed in 2011 with a two-fold mission:
THE INDIAN TRUST FOR RURAL HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT (ITRHD) was formally registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act on 23 June 2011 1. To address the challenges of preserving India’s tangible and intangible rural heritage, for its intrinsic meaning and value;
THE INDIAN TRUST FOR RURAL HERITAGE AND DEVELOPMENT (ITRHD) was formally registered under the Indian Societies Registration Act on 23 June 2011 2. To connect the preservation and enhancement of this heritage with economic development, livelihood enhancement, and general improvement in the quality of rural life
THE PROJECTS To date, we have five projects completed or well underway: MEWAT MOSQUE RESTORATION (almost completed) (Haryana) KHIMSAR WASTE WATER TREATMENT PROJECT (completed) (Rajasthan) AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER DEVELOPMENT (Uttar Pradesh) MALUTI TEMPLE VILLAGE RESTORATION (Jharkhand) RAKHI GARHI INDUS VALLEY EXCAVATION (Haryana)
THE PROJECTS Two additional projects are in advanced planning stages: “LIVING MUSEUM” Project (Kohima, Nagaland (Northeast India) “LANGA” DESERT MUSICIANS VILLAGES PROJECT (Barmer District, Rajasthan)
THE PROJECTS Today, however, I will talk about one aspect of one of these projects, as it has been an especially rewarding one for all involved.
THE PROJECTS AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT (Uttar Pradesh State)
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT A cluster of three villages in Azamgarh District, each with a different strong and unique heritage asset, are the focus of this project: HARIHARPUR Musicians Village MUBARKPUR Weavers Village NIZAMABAD Potters Village
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT IN SPITE OF THEIR RICH HERITAGE ASSETS, ALL THREE VILLAGES SUFFER FROM: POVERTY, LACK OF CIVIC INFRASTRUCTURE, POOR HEALTH/EDUCATION FACILITIES, DIFFICULTY IN SUSTAINING THEIR HERITAGE
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT INTERVENTIONS A comprehensive program of interlocking initiatives has been developed for the entire “Creative Cluster,” involving: 1)Activities specific to individual villages, 2)Overall Azamgarh Cluster initiatives
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT The one I will present today involves the HARIHARPUR Musicians Village whose 40 Brahmin families are the descendants of traditional classical court musicians. Although they are farmers, they struggle to maintain their musical heritage.
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT HARIHARPUR Musicians Village From small children to octogenarians, all gather in the morning and evening to play tabla and sarangi and to sing classical and folk songs.
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT Village-Specific Initiatives Underway in Hariharpur include: Construction of a performance ampitheatre Construction of a small training academy with accomplished gurus (teachers) from Varanasi Construction of a small museum to preserve and display rare old instruments, and provision of new instruments to young musicians
AZAMGARH CREATIVE CLUSTER PROJECT Comprehensive Cluster Development Initiatives: Hariharpur will also benefit from the overall initiatives. The entire cluster of three villages is being promoted as a new tourist circuit, especially for visitors to the nearby popular destination of Varanasi (Benares). Various plans are underway for development of revenue-earning facilities which will be owned and managed by the village.
In addition, a “Festival of Rural Arts and Crafts of Azamgarh” was held at a high-profile cultural center in Delhi in April 2013. It attracted substantial audiences and tremendous publicity and TV coverage. Evening performances involved musicians of every age from the village. They performed alone, and also in tandem with famous musicians and vocalists who were born in the village, but are now based elsewhere.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School PRIORITIZING THE DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES In planning our overall Azamgarh initiatives, we took into consideration that one of the first requests in almost every rural village we have encountered is for better education facilities.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School This was also the case in Hariharpur, where the villagers were united in pleading for help in developing better educational facilities. Although they understood and appreciated the initiatives related to preservation of their musical heritage, education was seen as a more urgent and pressing need.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School Without education, it is clear that the new generation has little chance of understanding and appreciating their unique heritage, much less of obtaining the tools necessary for securing a comfortable and productive life. With no hope for the future, there is little motivation to continue and nurture the living heritage of their habitat.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School We thus decided that establishment of a new school in Hariharpur would be an ideal pilot project demonstrating the way in which education can be inextricably linked with preservation and enhancement of a unique living heritage.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School The basic objective was to establish a primary school which would provide good quality and value-based education free of cost to the children from all communities of Hariharpur village and its neighbouring villages. It was planned as a model that can in future be replicated in all the rural areas in which our projects are located.
Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development We began with two modest goals: To establish a pre-primary level school designed to meet nutritional and health needs of the students, to develop facets of their personalities not addressed in government schools, related to the creative traditions of the area. Thus, we have included such things as yoga, dance and music in the curriculum.
Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development Given the musical heritage of the village, plans include emphasis on music appreciation and training, giving students the tools to better understand and continue to nurture these traditions. When the music academy in the village begins functioning, students will also be exposed to and interact with visiting masters and performers.
Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development Since the village is divided along caste lines, we decided that every social sector of the population must be involved in the school project, as students, parents and teachers. As we give these children the tools to understand their history and their heritage, and to equip them to join the mainstream of contemporary life, we also are striving to inculcate values of tolerance and inclusiveness.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School With the theoretical context in place, we turned to practical considerations. The essential requirements were for: Teachers Teaching Space and Facilities Funding
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #1: TEACHERS Finding (and keeping) TEACHERS in rural Indian schools is always difficult. We therefore recruited six young women from within the village. One has a masters degree, three are college graduates, and the remaining two are completing their college studies.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #1: TEACHERS Most of them are daughters-in-law of village families, which will ensure their continuing involvement. As teaching is considered a respectable and safe profession, there was no family opposition.
Although they are drawn from three different social sectors (castes) of the village, they quickly bonded as a team and are working together seamlessly.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #1: TEACHERS Basic foundation training of our young faculty commenced in October, 2012 in a convent academy in nearby Azamgarh. Next, they underwent intensive two-month training in Varanasi, with a carefully designed training module. This summer, they came to Delhi for another intensive immersion training course, in English.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #2: PREMISES Until a permanent building could be constructed, it was decided to begin operation in two temporary buildings. One was taken on rent, and the other donated free of charge. Both were renovated to make them suitable for school functioning.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #3: INITIAL FUNDING Costs of building renovation, teacher training, and provision of food, uniforms, supplies and equipment were met by donations from ITRHD members and friends. An appeal requesting donations of Rs. 3,000 (approx US$ 50) to support one child for one year was met with generous response.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School CHALLENGE #3: INITIAL FUNDING Uniforms and other essential supplies have also been donated. The village residents have been generous supporters, donating land, use of one of the temporary school buildings, food for mid-day meals, and many in-kind services.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School With the initial challenges thus met, and with the help of friends, colleagues, and the community, we were thus able to fulfil the residents’ fervent pleas for immediate start up.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School In February 2013, the CHACHA NEHRU SCHOOL opened its doors with 64 nursery-level students, from all sections of the community, and with one child from every family that wished to participate.
BASIC CHARACTERISTICS AT BEGINNING Opened in February 2013 in leased premises. Targeted to children from poor/marginalized families. Emphasis on including girl children. One child per family, at initial level. Children in the age group of 4-7 years. No tuition fee or any other fee is charged.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School AREAS OF EMPHASIS Uniforms, books, and many teaching aids were acquired by donation. Balanced “mid-day meals” are cooked at the school, under expert guidance. Many of the raw materials are donated by villagers. Along with the vernacular, English is taught. Bi-annual free medical check ups are provided to all students.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School For ITRHD, however, this was just the beginning. We realized that unless the entire community was involved in developing and running the school, chances of sustainability and success were slim. At this point, the British Council entered the scene.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT In 2012, under the auspices of the British Council, a team of young architects (WORKSHOP architecture) toured India, searching for a rural area in which they could help to design and construct a school with the full involvement of the local community.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT They chose the ITRHD project in Hariharpur, and sanctioned Rs. 11 lakhs (approx US $18,000) toward construction of a school building that would be designed in collaboration with the community, sensitive to ecological and climatic conditions, and utilizing local skills.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT The team began with a two-week architectural workshop in the village, in which 20 young architects, engineers, plumbing experts and other professionals from various countries participated, lending expertise and suggestions.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School INTERNATIONAL INVOLVEMENT The core team then moved into the village for 3 months, overseeing initial construction and teaching the residents various building skills. Three prototype classrooms and a toilet were completed. The remaining construction is being done by the community under our supervision.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School COLLABORATION The international team worked intensively with the entire community, as well with ITRHD staff and the senior Indian architect who supervised the project, engaging parents and teachers in the entire design and construction process. It was a learning experience for all concerned, and has led to a strong sense of pride and ownership within the village.
For me personally, as for all members of our team, this has been an extraordinarily rewarding project.
This group of children, running wild through the village just one year ago…
Now happily and faithfully attend school every day, take part in organized activities, and have begun to love learning.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT We decided at the outset that the key requirement for sustainability was to make the entire community the prime stakeholder. They have responded beyond all expectations.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School COMMUNITY DONATIONS Premises for the temporary school building given on nominal rent; Land provided for new school building on long- term lease at very nominal rent; Land donated land for school kitchen and garden; Contributions of grains, cereals, and vegetables for mid-day meals.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT Active participation in recruitment and selection of school teachers and staff; Enthusiastic participation in design collaboration workshops with architectural team; Availed of skill training by international team; Providing labor and supervision of construction, all without cost.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE To begin, every child in the village of nursery-level age (representing all communities) whose family wished to participate has been included in the first batch, totally free of cost. When the heritage and tourism development initiatives begin to result in economic returns, the school can eventually move to self-sustainability.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE At the moment, we have sufficient funding to support two years of operations at current levels. We have several grant applications in process for funds that will provide some permanent corpus, as well as the ability to expand to higher grade levels.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE Those families who did not enter a child in the first batch are now demanding to be included as well, so expansion is definitely required. Enthusiasm has, in fact, swept the village.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School SUSTAINABILITY AND THE FUTURE Our next priority is to acquire sufficient funds for recruitment and training of additional teaching staff, at higher grade levels, as well as to expand the types of training being provided to the first faculty group. We hope to be able to do this in the coming season.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE The school is serving as tangible proof to the residents that our work in heritage preservation will indeed result in improvement in the standard of living in general, and that heritage preservation and education can be inextricably linked.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE The message is being reinforced by other means as well. In March, the British Council in Delhi presented an exhibition “Building Community,” featuring work in process from Hariharpur, as well as replicas of work from other projects. Several of the Hariharpur teachers, children and residents attended the exhibition. Musicians from the village presented an evening concert.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE Seeing their school (and their work) highlighted in the British Council galleries, linked to performances by their musicians, and all highly appreciated by Delhi visitors, strongly underscored the linkage between education and their very special heritage.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE Ankita (one of the Hariharpur teachers) at British Council exhibition in Delhi highlighting the work at the school.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE Village residents who travelled to Delhi to see British Council exhibition on Hariharpur school project Evening concert at British Council by Hariharpur musicians
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE This was further reinforced in April, when we organized a “Festival of Rural Azamgarh Arts and Crafts” at a leading cultural centre in Delhi. Many village residents travelled along with the local musicians, and saw them being given tremendous accolades (and much television coverage) both in the informal daytime sessions and the formal evening concerts.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School LINKAGE: THE SCHOOL / THE HERITAGE We are, in the end, trying to show our rural citizens that there are, after all, paths out of poverty, roads that will lead to better lives. Two of the most promising are the roads originating in their heritage and in their children’s education. By linking the two, we think we are making a strong case.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School The project has been a truly collaborative one. Under ITRHD direction, the other partners have been: a leading Indian architect, Mr. Shiban Ganju; the British Council team (WORKSHOP architecture); Schools in Varanasi and Azamgarh (teacher training); Individual donors (financial and in-kind); Almost every single resident of the local community. It has been a unique and extremely satisfying partnership.
Indian Trust for Rural Heritage and Development Thank you. please visit our website, at www.itrhd.com