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See what's happening at Shikshantar over the past 11 months!
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Shikshantar             e-Patrika             Summer 2013 
Hot Off the Chula:


New Bamboo Geo-Dome on Shikshantar's Roof-Top

Shikshantar's roof-top now hosts a bamboo geo-dome that the team built together in a single day!  Economical and eco-friendly (covered with discarded flex-boards and date leaves), it has so far proved very useful for hosting gatherings, as a quiet space for creative personal work and a shady greenhouse for budding new saplings.  Watch this really funny 2 minute video with our friend Sarah leading the Geo-Dome building workshop.

New Initiatives in Udaipur as a Learning City
Udaan Learning Park
For the past 6 months, Ravi and Guddi have been regularly visiting a rag-picker community in Badgaon, on the outskirts of Udaipur.  In the spirit of seeing beauty and talent in the lives of slum children, they have formed deep bonds with them and are co-creating a self-designed learning space. Some of the ideas they have worked together on include: playing co-operative games, community cooking, painting a community space, theatre and dance, mobile library as well as making various upcycled products from waste.  
Shanti-Samriddhi Healing Hands Stall
Rama has been going to the Fateh Sagar lake every evening to offer a healing massage in the gift-culture spirit. The intention is to co-create a public space where local people can share their pain/tension and generate positive energies that can be taken to our homes, neighborhoods and workspaces. Many interesting conversations and new connections are emerging as part of the community massage process. 

Slow Food Stall at    Shilp Gram
Rohit from Banyan Roots Organic Store and volunteers from Shikshantar set-up a 3 day healthy food stall at Shilp Gram festival to engage the Udaipur public with the idea of Slow Food.  Rana Pratap special ‘Haamo Tikkis’ (potato-millet patties) were sold along with Body Builder special multi-sprouted, ragi bhelpuri chaat. The stall also featured a poster exhibition raising questions about our food system.
Samvaad T-Shirts
Lata and Vidhi have been painting community media t-shirts with beautiful hand-painted decorative designs. We wish to promote the dignity of local languages (Mewari and Hindi) and to encourage more spontaneous city-wide conversations around thought provoking quotes/proverbs.  A launch party for these for Samvaad t-shirts was held on Fatehsagar lake. Please send us your favorite quotes.
Volunteer Udaipur - Free Money
Celebrating the International Free Money Day, volunteers from Shikshantar and Volunteer Udaipur freely distributed away a sum of Rs.2000 to people visiting Fatehsagar that evening.  Each person was offered Rs. 20 as a gift—ten to be kept for him/herself and another ten to given as a gift to someone else that they do not know—thus opening up the space for many conversations on the role of money in our lives today and on how to rebuild a culture of generosity and abundance.
Zero Waste Workshop for International Students
The Shikshantar team hosted a five-day workshop on zero waste living for six students from School of International Training, USA. A city-walk on traditional sustainable designs, a visit to the local dump-site followed by an up-cycling workshop, making soaps with cow-dung, city-farming, a miming workshop by a friend visiting from Kolkata, were some of the highlights of the workshop. In collaboration with local youth, the group also organized ‘An Evening of Giftivism’ on Fateh Sagar lake.
Awa-Kin Wednesdays
To ‘Awaken’ in the spirit of ‘Kinship’, every Wednesday at 7 pm, Vipul and Rama host a small gathering of people interested to share a space of silence and to connect with oneself from deep within.  A circle of sharing based on an inspiring reading follows an hour of silence.  The gathering closes with a simple vegetarian meal.  Awa-Kin communities have spread over 60 locations around the world.
Natural Colors for Holi
Guddi, Vidhi and local children celebrated the festival of Holi by making natural / herbal colors using ingredients such as turmeric, flowers, henna, ash etc.  Hand-made paper packets containing these colors were sold at various locations and NGOs across the Udaipur city.  The real wild part of Holi celebration at Shikshantar was the use of solid cow-dung (apparently a natural facial for skin care!) for playing Holi.
City Roof-Top Farming
In setting up a demonstration model for a truly productive use of urban roof-tops in Udaipur, Shikshantar (inspired by the recent visit of Preeti Patil from Urban Leaves) has just welcomed four new fruit trees on its roof-top—Lemon, Pomegranate, Moringa and Guava.  In addition to our home herbal garden, twenty new veggies have also begun to sprout in re-cycled water containers.  A vertical garden is also in the making with the use of two-liter mineral water bottles. 
Swapathgami Walkouts-Walkon Network:
  • The latest Hindi edition of Swapathgami magazine has just been released. Find out what walkouts have been walking on to. This issue has lots of great stories, including: Prem Patra slow letters, Halchal Cafe, learning from watermelon peels, city walks and cooperative game-a-thons. 
  • A 2-day Swapathgami workshop with school children entitled 'The Call of the Superheros' was co-hosted by Vishal, Manish and Jayesh with Arch Academy, Jaipur. In the spirit of play, students were invited to connect to the superhero within themselves and work together in teams to undertake some special missions to discover their deeper superpowers. This was in preparation for the Play the Call Global Game planned to take place around the world.
  • Manish and Vidhi hosted a week-long Swapathgami seminar on 'Nai Taleem for the 21st Century' with future drama teachers in the National School of Drama Theatre in Education program in Tripura. Core themes revolved around Disenchantment, Decolonizing Ourselves and Re-imagining Learning.
  • In February, a 3-day Swapathgami gathering was co-hosted by the Global Cooperative Forum and Shikshantar in Udaipur. Fifteen dynamic leaders from across India were invited to engage in a meaningful dialogue on how to nurture emerging global shifts in human consciousness and system redesign.
  • A Families Learning Together gathering was held last November at Tapovan Ashram in Udaipur. Ten families who are carrying out creative experiments in their homes, including homeschooling and unschooling, came together to share their experiences and questions. We hope to re-build a new kind of joint family network.

New Resources and Publications:
  • Shikshantar was invited to give the keynote address at the 2nd European Congress on Global Education in Lisbon, Portugal in Sept. 2012. An article version of the speech entitled, 'McEducation for All: Whose Agenda Does Global Education Serve?', was published in the internationally-acclaimed Critical Literacy Journal Vol 7, 2013.
  • Members of Shikshantar and Swaraj University were invited to present our ideas and experiences with self-designed learning at several TEDx conferences around India (Mumbai, Delhi, Coimbature). Have a look here at some fantastic talks by Rahul Hasija, Sakhi Nitin-Anita and Vidhi Jain.

Upcoming Events:
  • The next Learning Societies unConference will be held at the UWC Mahindra College, Pune, India from June 14 to 19, 2013. It will attract amazing people from all over the country who are seeking to create new visions of education through diverse and vibrant learning communities, learning spaces, and un/learning processes. Check out the LSUC website and facebook group and share your learning experiments with shifting human consciousness.
  • In June and July, Swaraj University will be hosting orientation meets for youth interested in joining its fourth batch in late-July, 2013. This unique self-designed learning program focuses on Self-Sustainability-Social Justice-Social Entrepreneurship. Look out for meets in Ahmedabad, Nashik, Pune and Udaipur.
  • We are working to expand the Year On Campaign throughout India, which seeks to encourage and nurture young people in taking a gap year from their school or college. Help us by asking business, media and NGO leaders as well as school principals in your cities to write in support of the gap year idea. Visit our Year On blog to learn more.

How can you co-create this movement with us?

Over the last 15 years in Udaipur, we have seen Shikshantar organically evolve into a leadership (un)learning community, an incubator for radical educational experiments,  a center for unschoolers, a gift culture café, a dariya dil dukkan freecycle store, a community media center, a zero waste center, a self-healing center...and a jeevan anand-dolan engaging with diverse people, from all around India and the world. This has been made possible by the contributions of friends, who have given their time, talents, energy, resources and caring spirit. We are grateful for all that we have received, and in turn, for all that we have been able to share with our wide web of friends, families, organizations and movements.

We invite you to continue to help co-create this life movement this year. Please consider starting up an innovative self-designed learning experiment with your family and friends, writing some reflections on your own unlearning journey, sharing ideas for new connections and collaborations, walking out of something that you do/consume that doesn't support your deepest values, or making a financial donation to Shikshantar to support fellowships for local emerging young leaders. We invite you to write to us at
shikshantar@yahoo.com



About Shikshantar Andolan:

Shikshantar Andolan, a not-for-profit movement, was founded to challenge the culture of schooling and institutions of thought control. We are committed to creating spaces of wisdom, imagination and friendship where individuals and communities can together engage in deep dialogues to: (1) generate meaningful critiques to expose and dismantle/transform industrialmilitary models of Education and Development, (2) reclaim control over their own self-design learning processes and learning ecologies, and (3) imagine (and continually evolve) their own complex shared visions and practices of Swaraj. We are continually experimenting with processes of gift culture, jugaad being and unlearning. Shikshantar is run solely through the support of friends. As a matter of principle, we do not accept funding from international donor agencies, governments or corporations.  visit our website: www.shikshantar.in