the indian trust for rural heritage

Report
15th 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:
HERITAGE
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.
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School
HIGHLIGHT PROJECT: Hariharpur School
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.
TEACHERS TRAINING WORKSHOP
FATHERS, BROTHERS and UNCLES OF STUDENTS
WORKING ON COURTYARD DESIGN
MOTHERS and GRANDMOTHERS OF
STUDENTS, WORKING ON DESIGNS
Architectural Model of Final Plan
The residents’
involvement did
not end with
planning.
Once
construction
began, women
as well as men
volunteered
generously
and threw
themselves into
the tasks at
hand.
CONSTRUCTION IN PROGRESS
No outside contractors are involved; all work is
being done by village residents and using local
materials as much as possible.
Progress on Toilet Construction Being Discussed
with Parents
Construction of one almost complete section
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 longterm 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
Evening concert at British Council by
Hariharpur musicians
Village residents who travelled
to Delhi to see British Council
exhibition on Hariharpur
school project
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

similar documents