Thursday, April 12, 2007

Learn & Earn at Shikshamitra

Originally uploaded by dalbhat.
There is a new program just being started at Shikshamitra, the school where I teach in Alipore. It's called Learn & Earn. For the older children in the school, the pressure to start thinking about how they will make a living is already on and they have lost some of their interest in pure academics. The Learn & Earn program hopes to expose them to various trades and handicrafts after school, so that they might find a niche which they feel comfortable in.

The program began this week. The older kids will come in two days a week afterschool to participate. CLOTH, as you can see from our bulletin board, is the focus. At least for the first two months. On Tuesday, we held a small exhibition of cloth: cloth puppets, wall hangings, clothing, cushion covers, bags, pouches, ornaments, etc. It came together very nicely, especially as some of the children also remembered to bring something in for the display. One boy brought in his sister's embroidery sampler, and another brought in a small hanging she had in her house. We discussed the connections we have to cloth, and how emotions can be attached to pieces of fabric. Sudeshna showed us a quilt her mother made for her using Sudeshna's very own frocks from childhood. After the discussion, the children got to work making their Learn and Earn notebooks, covered in scrap fabric. On Thursday, we began one of the first production projects. We will focus on creating unique products that may be for sale. To start we will be making some patches to sew on bags which I hope to sell in the US this summer to raise money for this project so we can buy supplies and get the kids set up to start producing and selling for themselves.

We are also looking for donations of CLOTH, any old clothes or fabrics that people want to discard will be recycled here.

Some other possible exposure experiences will involve paper, clay, food, etc.

Wish us luck in this endeavor!!

Cloth Exhibition for kids at ShikshamitraSudeshna talking about clothCloth book coversDSCF1060

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