I had the great fortune and privilege of visiting 30 of the free Art of Living schools in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Jharkand. For me the trip was a great learning! It opened my eyes to a new dimension and meaning to education. SRI SRI Schools bring alive the hopes and dreams of the villagers and their children, breathing life into a new generation of learners.
Never did they dare to dream that one day their children would go to school, yet today they stand in disbelief yet overwhelmed with gratitude that the dreams and aspirations they held in their hearts for their children will be translated into a reality that they will live to see.
The schools have been initiated by simple youth warriors/villagers (Yuvacharaya’s) trained to bring alive the dreams of a community. In one village the women folk got together to build a structure that serves as a school to their children. The men assisted by putting a roof over it, and the community was brought together for a single cause - to action a future for their children.
In places, where roads are yet to be made, water and electricity to be sought, the villagers find solace in simply constructed structures that serve as schools. Learning in open spaces, in the fields, under the trees, they sincerely seek ways and means in which to breathe life into their dreams.
The teaching methods used are truly inspiring. A new generation of learners is nurtured to become not only great scholars but also great human beings! Students learn about one another’s religion and culture. They celebrate and learn to live the inherent human values that make life joyful and pleasant. The holistic educational system allows for the blossoming of one’s personality and is truly a winning formula for nurturing successful human beings. Walking through the villages I learn’t from each one, each one in that moment became my teacher, and I realized that education wasn’t just about going to school.