This document attempts to answer some of the questions you might have regarding donating to Udhbhavaha. To know about vision, principles and what we do, please visit our website http://www.udhbhavaha.org/
- Why should we reinvent our social templates and education system?
Is it possible to build a strong society with children growing up in fears, under pressure, purposeless, lost in values and culture? Are we happy about the upbringing of our children? When we think of our society and education today, it is important for every one of you to introspect on this question. History has taught that no nation can walk the path of prosperity without living in harmony with nature, being culturally grounded and rooted in strong values. To build a stronger and resurgent society, we need to raise children who are connected to their roots, can connect with mother nature and are fearless. Udhbhavaha is a bold social experiment to achieve exactly the same.
Head-oriented approach to education has created a serious imbalance in individuals due to which youth of today are dealing with anxiety, relationship issues, clarity of thought and purpose in life, compromised values, heavy dependency on the system leading to fears and self-centricity. Though there is a movement that is slowly rising to identify the root cause and to create awareness about this, most of the times it is too late as we are too entangled in the web of the consumeristic world. So, it is an urgent and immediate need of the hour to make sure children are made aware of this and are brought up as holistic individuals.
At Udhbhavaha, we attempt to provide a holistic education that nourishes the head, heart, and hand of the child, growing into balanced individuals capable of making a difference to themselves and to the society. We are a community of teachers, children, and parents who are seeking to lead a more connected-purposeful life and want to create an environment grounded in our culture. We believe that our effort in this social experiment will inspire a whole lot of people and Udhbahava will be an inspiration to reinvent the education system, hence act as a social template.
2. Why should you support us financially?
If we are able to
- find the innate inclination of a child (Vritti) and support the child to pursue it, then there is a possibility of the child living a purposeful life
- provide an environment where the child is allowed to explore, make mistakes and grow as free and fearless individuals, then there is a possibility of creating better citizens who will add value to the society and country
- build a foundation of a strong value system that is culturally grounded, then there is a possibility of having good human beings who live with mutual respect in the world
- create an ecosystem of living in harmony with nature, then there is a possibility of creating a sustainable community which understands the laws of nature and lives by its principles
Designing and creating this system requires
- right people coming together
- support of knowledgeable and learned mentors
- parents who are willing to take this pioneering path with their children
- teachers who are willing to learn and create a new path
Along with this comes the need to research, physical infrastructure and money to support the cause.
Udhbhavaha (an initiative of Vidyakshetra Trust) is a not-for-profit organization. For us at Udhbhavaha, it is not a 9-5 job! It is part of our life’s journey and this is what we want to do for life. The set of parents we currently have are the ones who have dared to take this step of deciding to walk this journey with us as they feel this is the right way to educate a child. It is clear that we need an alternative for the current/contemporary education system and we have decided to take this step!
The design of every aspect of the organization should align with the values and principles it stands for. Hence the financial model at Udhbhavaha is designed to build a mindset of co-existence and inclusivity.
We follow a “needs-based salary” model, meaning, the salaries of people at Udhbhavaha is not fixed based on their qualification or experience or the position they hold. A teacher who joins us shares their financial requirement based on their family needs and we try and see if we can meet it balancing out the need of the individual and our affordability.
We follow a “daan-based” model, meaning, there is no prescribed fees for children joining us. We request parents to contribute to the best of their capacity towards our running costs. We believe that Udhbhavaha should be accessible to all parents who want to be part of this journey. Their financial ability should never be a block for admission.
We are a small community of about 27 children, 8 full-time and 10 part-time teachers. To achieve the desired outcome, we intend to remain a small community and possibly grow up to 100 children in its peak. We see that it is not always possible for families to completely finance the needs of Udhbhavaha, taking all costs into account. This creates a shortfall between the in-flow and expenses. Sustenance of such educational endeavors is only possible, when society at large, support. In many parts of the world, all not-for-profit educational institutions receive external support for their capital expenses. Till we establish this model and visibility increases, we would need financial assistance from the society to sustain this experiment.
3. Is this a sustainable model?
In the last 4 years, parents part of the community and well-wishers in the society have sustained this cause and this is a lead in the direction that this model will work. It would be our continued efforts to reach out to the society to support and in the process induce a thought process that has been native to this land for long. In India (pre-colonial era), education, food, and medicine were never sold. The society at large supported the education setups. This approach had run for ages. Today, we are all witness to the perils in these fields as they have turned into a business. One of our objectives is also to inspire society to think differently.
4. What is your growth plan?
An initiative like this which is creating a framework for a new thought process requires time and dedicated efforts. We intend to keep the community small and plan to grow to 100 children in about 8 to 10 years.
5. I think this is some kind of conspiracy theory and why should I bother about it as it has zero impact on me!
We should open our Eyes! It may appear to us that we may NOT be directly impacted. It is more than evident now that the ‘Most Educated’ individuals are the ones who are insensitive towards nature and the consequence of it, is the Global Warming/Climate Change/Environmental Pollution. More than anything else we have to see the impact on the food/water/air which we consume and which are fundamental building blocks for a human being. None of these are pure now! This impurity is not just at the physical level, even the relationships we have are polluted and the evidence for this is the increasing number of broken families. To trigger your thoughts, all of us want to eat pure food, but how many of us want our children to become farmers?
We at Udhbhavaha are trying to come up with an educational model for addressing these contemporary problems/issues. We want to make sure that this solution is both sustainable and scalable. Yes! It is a pioneering effort and a huge challenge, but it’s time we stop complaining and be part of the solution. We are also mentored by a strong advisory team that consists of people who have spent their lives in understanding the space we are working on. This helps us in making sure we learn from their mistakes and are guided in the right direction. Once this prototype is a success and documented, we can work to replicate this model in other schools so that everybody gets this kind of education. You are also welcome to visit us and be part of a day at Udhbhavaha to see what we do.
6. How can you be part of this?
- As Parents who are inspired by this thought process and are looking for holistic education for their children
- As Teachers who see this as their life’s journey
- As Volunteers who are willing to take up different roles
- As Research assistants who can help us in our research in various subjects and also in documenting our learnings.
- As benevolent donors who support the cause affirming the fact that it is the duty of the society at large to support such initiatives. You could also help by connecting us to your network of prospective donors. We would be more than happy to come and present our journey.
7. Why so big and so much money involved?
For anything new to happen there is a need for a lot of resources and time. To expose children to various forms of Kalas, academics, livelihood experiences, travels we need manpower and other infrastructure support. And once it is working, a running model can be easily replicated. It is like inventing medicine for a disease. Only the initial ones take time and once we know the formula, replication is easier.
8. What do I get after donation?
First of all, we believe that it is part of our duty to spread this message and thought process in society. Its time all of us awaken to certain realities. By being part of our cause, you are becoming one link in this chain to bring about a change in society. Your contributions are going towards building the future of this nation. You become part of this community of like-minded individuals who are working towards a better tomorrow. You will find meaning and purpose in supporting us to sustain such an initiative.
We are very grateful to our donors, however, we do not believe in publicizing the donations. As a donor, you are welcome to visit our campus, volunteer, help in research, be part of our community festival celebrations or be associated with us in your best capacities.
For a more tangible benefit, you can claim an 80G tax exemption on the donations made.
9. For scalability, where will you get the teachers from?
We want to regain the social acceptance and respect to the role of teachers so that the deserved to take up teaching as their life’s journey. We want to conduct various outreach programs/conferences to be conducted. This is the reason we are opening out initiatives to volunteers who can learn with us and replicate.
10. How will these children survive in the outer world?
With so much dependency on an external system and lack of faith in self, insecurity is looming large with the current youth. In any case, the existing system is failing in this task, we have to look for alternatives. When children learn holistically, work with their hands and nourish their feeling realm, we believe that children grow to be more grounded and self-confident. It is different and new but not isolated. It is created to address the needs of the current society. Children will be exposed to real-world situations through Livelihood experiences like farming, travels, project-based learning, learning from people of different walks of life. We feel that these are the children who will be able to better deal with the current world1
11. How can you say that you are genuine?
We are open to having you spend time with us to understand what we do and building a closer relationship. Moreover, everyone here has taken up this as their life’s journey after spending enough time on research to understand this space by leaving behind their lucrative careers.
12. Do you support underprivileged children?
Our education system is for all children and we believe the daan–model definitely enables families to join us irrespective of their financial status.
It’s also time to revisit the term “underprivileged” as it is usually used to refer the financial status. Today, children living in villages amidst trees, animals, and fresh air is much more privileged than a child in a city. And the irony here is, families in villages prefer an English medium plush school where the child is moving away from its roots and getting disconnected from life. In that sense, we have all lost our privileges to pure water, food, and air and Udhbhavaha is an attempt to regain these privileges at least for our future generations. In that sense, yes, we are supporting underprivileged children and adults.
13. It looks like you are practicing/preaching Hinduism. Are you against other religions? Are you affiliated with radical Hindutva organizations and/ or political parties?
There are several dimensions that we need to look at here.
First of all, we have to understand who is a Hindu and what is the meaning of Hinduism.
Hindu is a geographical identity given to us by outsiders who came to this country thousands of years ago. People living in the landmass that lies between the Himalayas and the Indu Saagara (Indian Ocean) were referred to as Hindus. And the outsiders noticed that there are certain common practices and traits among these people, across the length and breadth of this large country. Men and women wearing unstitched cloth, walking barefoot, sitting on the floor, fasting on particular days of the month, celebrating the same festivals, and so on. This is part of the culture of this country and it is known as Bharathiyata. Bharathiyata is not just about our external appearance, it is also about the way we look at life and living. Concepts of punarjanma, karma, dharma, Mukti, and embracing uncertainty guide us through life. At Udhbhavaha, children get to see Bharathiyata in action, experience the richness of this culture, and imbibe its timeless values. So this is not a religion like those that believe in one Supreme God and follow a common set of practices.
Since we practice Bharathiyata, it does not mean we are against other cultures and/ or religions. Bharathiyata has pluralism as one of its values; people following a different way of life are treated with respect and allowed to live in our midst, in the manner they choose to live.
Udhbhavaha is not affiliated with any religious institution or any political party.
14. The school has been closed for 2 years. Why do you need money when nothing is happening?
To understand this aspect, let us look at an analogy.
A tree provides us with fruits, flowers, shade, leaves, wood, and entertainment. But at times, it may not be able to do so due to weather conditions or other factors. The tree requires nourishment from the earth, air, rain, and sun at all times, whether it looks beautiful or is bare. If this nourishment is withdrawn considering that the tree is not providing us anything, then the tree will not survive.
People around the world have been greatly impacted by the global pandemic. And Udhbhavaha is no exception. Udhbhavaha is what it is because of the people involved in running it. Most of these people have no other source of income and depend solely on their salary to take care of their homes and family. It is paramount that we hold on to the people during these tough times so that when the situation gets better, we can come back together and do our best.
15. Why should I pay for your child’s education?
Udhbhavaha is not a school in the conventional sense; it is much more than that.
Udhbhavaha is a community learning center, working towards understanding what real education is and making a sincere attempt to bring about social transformation. Along with offering cutting-edge education to children, we provide various learning opportunities to adults. Charcha, Dhristi, Parichaya are some of our programs that are open to the public and have immensely benefitted participants from around the world. Daily interactions with children at Udhbhavaha provide teachers with valuable insights about child behaviour and the learning process, which we share through our blog. If you look at educational institutions around the world, they are primarily supported by society. And this was the case earlier in Bharatha as well. This ensures that knowledge is not sold to the highest bidder but is offered whole-heartedly to the deserving, irrespective of one’s social standing. Udhbhavaha is here not just to make children literate; we are here to change the world and make it a better place. You are welcome to join us on this great adventure!