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People's Environmental Awareness - Khati (PEAK) Follow PEAK with the financial assistance of World Nomads on the path to delivering educational, water supplies & solar home lighting systems to Kumaon villages....

Educational Resources - Khati (Part 2)

INDIA | Thursday, 3 April 2014 | Views [632]

The library  has two new laptops used for computer training and watching educational DVDs....here is a shot of the kids enthralled with a DVD.

The library has two new laptops used for computer training and watching educational DVDs....here is a shot of the kids enthralled with a DVD.



The new printer is a welcome community addition that needed a 'home'. The library isn't a great spot, thanks to many, many inquisitive little fingers.... So it was decided that the main area of the peAk building was a good central location for ease of access. As you can imagine, living in the mountains has limitations on resources at hand, it's not possible to pop off to the hardware as necessary! Scott came up with the brainwave to re-use an old solar panel, long ago discarded due to a manufacturing fault. After a few hours work, a little bit of cursing and some improvisation, the 'solar panel' table was complete with printer on top and a metal trunk below to store the a variety of project goodies (laptops, laminator etc). This was a great, practical, re-use of a resource that saved us having to back-load the panel to the 'kabari wallah' (recycle dealer) in Bageshwar.

There was an issue of logistics in carting laptops, printer, laminator and assorted other goods that had to make the perilous jeep journey on unsealed, rocky roads and then on a mule to reach the final destination of Khati in one piece. This is where the idea of using metal trunks to endure the rigours of travel took shape, bearing in the mind that every resource that comes into the valley needs to have multiple uses.

The ubiquitous trunk that stores a variety of 'special' goods is found in every Kumaoni household with ours being no exception. In Almora/Bageshwar we purchased three larg trunks made by local metal workers (sturdy and well constructed) and loaded them up, providing plenty of padding - this is were children's clothing and home made beanies destined for a cold climate proved useful - to soften any blows. This did little to ease my stress levels as my mind sarted calculating the statistical chances of everything arriving in one piece, aided and abetted by possibly the roughest and scariest jeep trip on wet, slipery, muddy roads that I had ever and the misforutune to undertake.... and I am not easil scared!

My first check at Kurkia (post trauma) eased the stress as I concluded the jeep trip had been kind on the trunks (not on my arse, hips or nerves) and therefore hopefully the goods inside. I was exceptionally happy when a couple of days later the mules arrived at our door and we discovered the trunks suffered only minor dents, that on inspection, proved to be superficial with all goods inside in perfect condition. Two trunks now house school goods and the other is used under the printer table, all will help ameliorate the silverfish onslaught during the monsoon.

On the subject of new equipment here is a tale of the new laptops... Ganesh (Class 5) had previously spent time in a Delhi Hospital, bedridden, watching kids television for months on end, while he endured a series of metal pins in his leg (with medical bills bankrupting his family*) after a fall. Upon his return he used to regale his classmates with wild tales of cartoons and kids shows. Whereas, in the last few years, the children of Khati have grown up on a steady diet of night time serials without the luxury of being able to watch children's television. The decision of viewing choices is the realm of adults, so the 3-4 available hours per night (sunshine dependent) to watch television are 100% dominated by the ever favourite Indian soapies. The kids were't convinced of Ganeshs tales.....

Until the day came when the new laptops were pressed into action to watch educational DVD's - incidentally the same day Ganesh felt vindicated - and the children for the first time watch shows aimed at.... children. The response has been phenomenal, with adults frequently coming into the library to see what's on and students requesting different shows from peAk's small library of educational DVD's now a weekly occurrence. It is a wonderful sight to watch the kids in front of age appropriate shows as they laugh and learn with wrapt attention. And the wonderful feedback from both young and old has been one of the many joys of this project.

It is also a heartwarming sight to watch a couple of women nearing eighty, wizened through years of hard labour, the hardships of life etched on their faces, come to the library to sit in on what the kids are watching. When offered a seat and a soft cushion they tell me "I won't stay for long - my eyes are weak". As they make themselves comfortable amongst the kids there are excited murmurs and big smiles. A little later they shuffle out and head back down the track and all I can hear are peels of laughter and much talk about what the just saw on Sesame Street! They are now repeat offenders......


peAk co-ordinator


* 39 million Indians a year are pushed below the poverty line each year by the high cost of medical bills.

Tags: education, khati, kumoan himalaya, library, peak, school

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