An initiative to provide an opportunity to the children hailing from rural tribes of North East India.
Saraswati Vidya Niketan in Assam, North-East India was founded in 2011 as an adult educational program where ISKCON devotees educated, did several workshops and seminars for the local village youth who were previously working in nearby towns and cities as a labourers. Most of them were suffering from alcohol abuse, addiction to gambling, etc, which severely affected their economy, ecology and cultural roots.
The program initially started as a training initiative on organic farming in the land provided by the village head Mr. Kharsing Terong. During this program, the youths were given training on various types of agriculture practices such as cultivation of varieties of rice, sesame, sugarcane, corn, and various seasonal vegetables and fruits. The result was very encouraging. The youths saw a ray of hope and expressed interest in returning to their lands and practice organic agriculture instead of slogging in cities as labours.
Eventually, a few early bird enthusiasts took it up to practice and proved to be examples to others.
The educational program continued to give them all encouragement and technical support in this regard.
During this phase, a few bamboo houses were also constructed using locally available materials. With the help of donors, purchases of cows were also facilitated for families in the village. Such families were also trained in cow care and in use of various products such as cow dung, cow urine, etc for agricultural purposes. Apart from agricultural use, education about the importance of nutrition through indigenous cow milk and milk products were imparted.
With pursuance of this program for the next two years resulted in what we saw as a positive impact on the quality of life among youths in the village. The alcohol addiction, gambling menace among many such other social evils significantly came down and many giving it up completely. Rather, youths slowly got involved in a positive dialogue for various developmental works in the village.
Soon it was felt that there was a need for a school for small children. With continued support from the well wishers, ISKCON devotees constructed a structure made of bamboo that house a couple of classrooms for children.
The concept behind the school is to educate the budding inhabitants of the tribal villages in and around. The education is to build the right character, cleanliness, and training for self-sufficiency in food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. The training includes not only classroom based education but out practically with Mother Nature for various activities.
Saraswati Vidya Niketan (SVN) is currently run as a model school, it is a private entity run with the assistant and support of Centre for Traditional Education. It is open for both day students as well as for those staying on the campus as boarding students. Students are enrolled in the junior and senior grades.
The Vedic curriculum imparted as per the needs and inclinations of the individual student focuses on value education, scientific upliftment of consciousness, intellectual growth, 64 traditional arts, sportsmanship, and community service.
Students also imparted a professional development program along with their academic program. This is to encourage that them to become financially less dependent upon their parents after completion of their academic program. Various local crafts, agricultural practices, cow protection, handloom and handicraft are introduced with scientific, modern and economical values along with marketing and business development skills. This encourages entrepreneurship in students.
The School is especially committed to the under privileged segments of the population, such as gifted applicants whose parents could not attend school, and children with high potential facing difficult financial circumstances.
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