Sourish Jasti, Reporting from Hyderabad, India.
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What is YAGNA?
“YAGNA – Youth Awakening for Glorious Nation Ahead” is a nonprofit organization set up by a team of doctors from Osmania Medical College, striving to contribute to continue/scale/improvise the existing health and education system in the community. Their Swami Vivekanada Gurukul of Human Excellence is an initiative to nurture values and Indian culture during childhood.
The drive to the school itself was filled with many amazing nature sights. It was in a very rural area that was just 5km from an extremely deep forest. The kids often play with snakes, scorpions and cows - an activity that would strike fear into the hearts of many people elsewhere.
Nearest major city: Hyderabad (70 km away/2 hour drive)
How are the students taught?
The administration at YAGNA has made a very innovative change to the traditional school system found in India. Resources are very scarce, so instead of using the conventional textbook method, the teachers use more holistic means by combining books and interactive learning.
There are 9 periods in a day with classes varying from mathematics, sciences, languages (English, Telugu, and Hindi), physical education, and electives. The electives are numerous and represent the many walks of life and culture represented in India. Many of the students are orphans or come from poor farming families and so the school stresses teaching real life skills in areas like farming. Some of the other electives seek to provide students with an introduction to the Indian arts and a background of their culture.
In both the morning and evening, prayers are held in the prayer hall where the students read verses from Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad Gita and Mahabharata. Older students learn leadership and organizational skills as they are required to host events for the school community every few days.
With such limited resources in an extremely rural community, YAGNA is doing a superb job at providing a well rounded and holistic education to their students as they seek to advance through society and break India’s traditional caste system. The goal is to break the poverty cycle and provide an education to students who would otherwise be living in the streets as orphans or working their family farms with no returns.
What is JCWI?
JCWI (Jasti Clean Water Initiative) is an organization that strives to help provide access to clean water to underprivileged schools and communities in India.
Growing up in an Indian family and visiting India numerous times led me to be very aware of the lack of clean drinking water. What I saw led me to contribute to water purification research during the 2018-2019 school year, which won me $725 in research scholarships. Through JCWI, I hope to provide clean water for communities that cannot afford it on their own.
This summer, I am travelling across Southern India and helping over two thousand students get clean drinking water. I finished my first fundraiser for JWCI and raised over $2000 from people in India and the Holmdel community.
For more information about JCWI, check out our website: https://www.jcwi.org/