Partner Perspectives – Agastya International Foundation
The latest stories in our partner perspectives series feature some of the amazing partner organisations who have been inspirational throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They are organisations that have inspiring stories of courage and innovation to share. The partner organisations that feature in the series are a focal part of our Immersive Experiences. At Emerging World, the work of our partners inspires the participants in our programmes in life-defining ways and challenges them to think differently about the things that deeply affect people and truly drive change. Our work also supports our partners to shift the way they work and have a greater impact. These posts allow our partners to share their stories and perspectives of the work they do and the impact this is having in communities and in the world more broadly! It is our hope that their experiences and insights will inspire us to look deep and explore ways we can do more for the world!
Agastya International Foundation
Agastya International Foundation runs the world’s largest hands-on science education programme for underprivileged children and government school teachers. In our mission to spark curiosity, nurture creativity and instill confidence, we have reached over 13 million children and 250,000 teachers so far.
Our story of inspiration
The beginning of 2020-21 brought with it the COVID-19 pandemic. We jumped into action, prioritising relief efforts in light of the situation. Our regional teams worked tirelessly to distribute food essentials and personal protective equipment in the communities we serve. With the aim of keeping children occupied even during the lockdown, hundreds of Edu Kits, with material for simple experiments and model making, were distributed.
Taking forward the mantra that learning is not restricted to the four walls of a classroom, we shifted our operations online, reaching over half a million children. Our instructors rose to the challenge magnificently and adapted to the changing circumstances swiftly and nimbly. An initiative taken by two of our instructors from Maharashtra, in particular, inspired and stimulated all of us to look beyond a traditional classroom setup. Pandurang and Balaji from a village near Solapur, took an abandoned cowshed near their house and converted it into space for online classes.
They trained several hundred teachers from their humble shed. When asked about their motivation Pandurang said: “Ruk na humne sikha nahi” (We haven’t learnt to stop). Their inspiring story has proved that even in the face of adversity, innovation does not stop.
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