The VIVEKA campus at Chikkaballapur has been conceived as a free residential “Schooling” center dedicated to transcending urban-rural boundaries and empowering poor children from both city slums and isolated village regions using “Education” as the tool for ushering in change. VIVEKA established by DRIK (Dwaraknath Reddy Institutes for Knowledge), an initiative of the Ramanarpanam Trust (DRRT) was conceived in partnership with AVAS, as a natural corollary to strengthen the experiences gained by DRIK at DRISHYA and JEEVANOTSAVSA, and AVAS’ 25 years of work in the slums of Bangalore.
Children between the ages of 6 to 18 years old—the majority of whom are Dalit children belonging to the SC/ST—who reside in any of the 25 slums of Bangalore and/or who live in impoverished rural areas of Karnataka, including the villages of Motlur, Golahalli, Poshettihalli, and Nallakadiranhalli will have the opportunity to learn at VIVEKA. The activities and programs at VIVEKA will provide educational experiences for children that they do not normally get at existing schools; the VIVEKA experience will not replace a child’s regular schooling, but instead will be a complimentary supplement to conventional educational programs.
VIVEKA is an innovative educational intervention that will serve to promote development programs of DRIK—including the DRISHYA education movement, which already successfully empowers underprivileged urban youth, and the JEEVANOTSAVA cultural movement that provides children from urban slums outlets for artistic and creative expression. The VIVEKA campus offers several streams of learning, enabling children not to only cope with mainstream education, but also to provide value-based, vocation-driven experience of a global standard. Adhering to principles of using education as an empowering tool, VIVEKA seeks to enable social transformation rather than just social re-stratification, nurturing leadership and fostering children towards holistic growth and development as responsible community members.
Education at VIVEKA will include a focus not only on core subjects such as reading, writing and arithmetic, but will also teach children to explore outlets of creative expression encompassed in the performing and visual arts (painting, sculpture, dance, music, theatre, etc). VIVEKA’s curriculum will additionally focus on environmental studies and sustainable eco-development programs including organic farming and agriculture, indigenous health care and medicinal plant cultivation, outdoor education/nature studies, water management and conservation, and exploration of alternative energy sources. There will also be a strong focus on physical education and athletic programs (team-based group sports, hiking/trekking, etc.), computer sciences, human rights and girl-child development studies, media and communication activity centers, and comprehensive libraries. Additionally the VIVEKA experience will integrate a space for yoga and silent meditation, a training and design center for developing vocational skills, and innovative spaces for honing individual talents of each participating child. VIVEKA also proposes to introduce a mobile library and science expo van to bring educational experiences to those living in remote villages. The scope of VIVEKA activities will increase as the demands and needs of the communities are assessed, making the VIVEKA venture dynamic and innovative.
Located near Chikkaballapur, not too far from the impending Bangalore International Airport coming up near Devanahalli, DRRT has dedicated 40 acres of land where the VIVEKA educational, residential and learning spaces are being developed as an Eco-Village that looks and feels like a futuristic utopia. The Eco-Village features modern "green" alternatives to the comforts of contemporary society. Included within the community are food, shelter, renewable energy resources, educational opportunities, communications and a variety of other dynamic projects for participating students.
VIVEKA’s primary aim is to provide:
Innovative education programs for children and their families living in urban slums and the villages of Karnataka
Opportunities for students to build self-esteem, confidence, and an identity through which to live with dignity
Access to opportunities for high quality education that help to recognize and compliment student needs.
The “Eco-Village” that the VIVEKA campus is inspires people to improve their future quality of life through practical, attainable alternative lifestyles. Through example, accessible information and products, the program teaches individuals how to comfortably restructure their lives in ecologically friendly ways.
The Outreach Learning Centers at Chikkaballapur will act as catalysts of change for students from the slums of Bangalore and nearby villages, further strengthening urban-rural linkages. The centers will work in tandem with local villagers, educating them with sustainable lifestyle techniques.
EDUCATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
VIVEKA: A MODEL CAMPUS WITH AN EVOLVING CURRICULUM
To pursue the following objectives and activities VIVEKA will be established as a model campus with an innovative learning methodology and an evolving curriculum. The VIVEKA model offers a variety of opportunities to enhance and empower India’s most impoverished children.
VIVEKA campus will:
Provide a space for the holistic development of a child’s education and allow for additional learning opportunities, to be incorporated into existing educational systems and programs at already-established schools.
Promote activities that strive toward the empowerment of children beyond regular, conventional school education.
Create opportunities to teach children their rights and their responsibilities as citizens of our Nation.
Strive to inculcate a deep sense of Indian nationalism and patriotic zeal, to live with courage and skills to become universal citizens, and to capacitate children through education to ‘think locally and act globally.’
Emphasize positive values through education and the natural promotion of love, peace, harmony and unity.
Embrace and respect the diversity of our unique cultures, languages, and regions, and through tolerance ensure a future of stability, service, and happiness for children from poor communities.
Network underprivileged children living in both urban and rural communities.
Promote ecologically friendly lifestyle practice including sustainable environmental development, alternative energy sourcing, and practical water conservation and soil management.
Emphasize appropriate technology for social development.
The Eco-Village will comprise interlinked activity spaces and learning centers that harmoniously blend to create ample educational opportunities for VIVEKA’s students. The centers are envisioned as dynamic spaces—with a matching curriculum—that will not be static, but fluid and flexible to the needs of every child. The activities of VIVEKA will revolve around opportunities that are not currently available in existing schools for underprivileged children from Bangalore and surrounding villages. These activities include the following activity centers:
Spaces for art including sketching, canvas painting, textile painting facilities.
Craft centers for mud molding, sculpture, woodcarving, puppetry etc.
Spaces for performing arts, music, tabla, dance, folklore etc.
An amphitheatre for drama and theatre.
Yoga center with a silent meditation hall and a nature observation space.
The Sarvodaya center to promote values of ahimsa, communal harmony etc.
A learning center to focus on child rights, human rights, Dalit rights, etc.
A center for communication, photography, and media related subjects.
An indigenous health center to promote education of traditional medicine, herbal medicine, and Ayurveda.
Extensive outdoor facilities dedicated to the study of nature and the environment, with special emphasis on hiking, trekking and nature trails.
Large sports fields and athletic facilities for a variety of physical activities—with the goal of competing at the highest level of National quality.
Library and laboratory spaces relevant to a variety of academic and cultural programs.
An urban-rural linkage resource center.
Spaces for the promotion of organic agriculture, organic composting, vermiculture, etc.
Interactive learning centers on water management/harvesting, soil conservation, deforestation, ecological awareness, energy conservation, and the study of a variety of other environmental issue.
Separate dormitories for girls and boys with extensive facilities for each, including toilets, wash areas, common halls, indoor playrooms, etc.
A large auditorium space that could double as a dining area and multi-function hall.
CURRENT STATUS/JOIN THE VIVEKA MOVEMENT:
DRIK, DRRT, and AVAS are working tirelessly to realize the dream of a comprehensive and holistic educational and life experience for underprivileged children at VIVEKA. The organization has received Government of India, Karnataka State approval for the 40-acre VIVEKA site and project proposal, and welcomes any financial or human resources that can be contributed to this ambitious, but worthwhile venture.