For those interested specifically in our work in the village, here is a brief description of such projects and plans:
Vidyashram School, Betawar
The school (started in 2006) is an integrated one with both children from the surrounding villages and children from the city. The curricula, facilities, and teachers are the same as those in the city campus. Children work with their surroundings in all the subjects, learning about their own environment in context of the larger world. We want to show that the standard of education can be as high among children who are village based, 1st generation school-goers, and complete integration between children of all backgrounds is possible and good for learning.
Environmental Work and Tree Planting
We are working on planting trees on our own and others' land in the village. We want to create awareness about environmental issues, especially soil erosion, water conservation, and garbage disposal, and do this through wall-painting, performances, and interaction with residents. We are planning to start organic and ayurvedic farming.
We run classes to teach English to youth and adults, and are starting programs in carpentry, sewing, computers, and literacy. Our focus for vocational training is two-fold: to provide useful, employable skills to youth and adults, and to produce child-centred products for children. Students and apprentices work with master craftsmen and artisans on toys, clothes, and furniture specially designed for children. Once they learn the craft, they can start their own business, get a job, or apply to continue to work at NIRMAN.
NIRMAN started a public library in its Betawar campus in April 2009. The library includes fiction and non-fiction, reference and textbooks, magazines, and newspapers in English and Hindi for children, youth, and adults, and is open five days a week. Plans include increasing the timings and having regular events such as storytelling and discussions.