26,000 underprivileged students
learn life skills

Bal Chetna Shibir, an Art Of Living course designed for children living in slum areas, villages and economically backward regions, has transformed the lives of 26,000 students in Pune, India. In six weeks (July 27 to September 8, 2010), the project reached out to students in 134 schools - 120 Marathi schools, 12 Urdu schools and 2 English schools.

On the day of the concluding ceremony, the chairman of the education board said that the knowledge points taught during the course will be included in the daily prayers of the students as “Paripath.” Weekly follow ups are being organised in the schools where shibirs were run, to support the children in maintaining the positive attitude that has been developed in them.

The course aims to increase confidence in students and to develop leadership qualities and a positive attitude. Special stress-elimination techniques are taught that will help the children lead a healthy and stress-free life.

There were some additional topics that were included for the students from Pune.Students were taught the importance of vegetarianism, proper utilization of water and the significance of hygiene and health. Other techniques taught on the course helped many children overcome abdominal pains, headaches, chest pains, joint pains, coughs, colds, and enhanced peace of mind, increased calmness and deepened their ability to concentrate. Many students also shared how their family problems were resolved during the period that the shibir was running.

The project was a joint effort of 35 Art of Living teachers, numerous volunteers and the help of the Primary Education Department - Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation, Pune Maharashtra, including Mr Arjun Thakre (Chairman of the Education Board), Mr Mayala Khatri (Vice Chairman of the Education Board), Mr Hari Bharati (Administrative Head of the Education Board) and Mrs Sharada Londhe.