Site Visit to Timbaktu

Asha for Education, Bangalore Chapter supports Timbaktu Collective through the SAC program and supports the Children’s Resource Centers (CRCs).

Visited by(Asha Bangalore Volunteers): Padmanava Sen, Ankush Dixit, Swapna.
Dates of Visit: February 1st and 2nd, 2014.

Overall Experience:

All the three volunteers had a wonderful weekend with kids from Timbaktu’s (residential) Nature schools, students from Children Resource Centers meant for 45 villages, and food made from vegetables in Timbaktu’s organic farms.   

Site Visit Details:
After reaching C K Palli around noon on February 1st, the volunteers met Mary and other Timbaktu Board members. The volunteers were present in a part of their monthly board meeting and asked some questions regarding the different projects Timbaktu runs and three projects Asha have been part of (Militha, Prakiti Badi & CRC)
Then the volunteers went to Timbaktu CRC in CK Palli village accompanied by Akhilesh and Mary. There, other Timbaktu members were present and detailed discussions regarding Asha projects took place. Timbaktu members explained different aspects of the CRC project- CRC as a resource center, Mobile CRC and their village centers. Also, they showed the appreciation letters from neighboring schools (including the Model School in CK Palli) for the facilities available in CRC that are not available in schools of that area.
Fig. Discussions with Timbaktu Members
In winter, the CRC runs till 6/6-30 and in the summer, it runs till 7 pm. They mentioned about the different workshops and events (like Aug 15, Class 1-6 sports day in September involving 200+ kids from neighboring schools, senior sports day, children’s day, natural paints day in December) they organize. Students of Class 6, 7, 8 from neighboring schools come to CRC since they do not have such facilities. They showed the appreciation letters.


Fig. Letter from nearby Model School
Fig. Letter of appreciation from CK Palli Junior College
CRC project has three aspects to it. Asha Bangalore supports only one component of it – the running expenses of the center. Apart from that, they have Mobile CRC where they go to remote schools and create interest on reading and science. They also have children centers (Moggas/sanghas) in 50 villages nearby.  Two types of training happens under the children sangha program – youth who run the centers and leaders among the children. There is also a group from Australia who spent time with the kids and suggested games focusing on girl students. Other awareness programs run under Moggas like the recent state-division awareness, child marriage related awareness.
Asha volunteers visited one such center and spent time with almost 40 kids. Volunteers asked about their activities in the centers and their aspirations (most common being police officer among boys and nurses among girls; collector for both; few wanted to be engineers). The students are mostly from Class 3 to 7 mostly. Students danced and enacted few plays with some learning embedded in it. Volunteers played some games with kids as well.
Fig. Pictures of kids with Volunteers
Prakuti Badi & SAC:
On the next day (Feb 2nd), the volunteers spent time with the kids (Class 1-5) in Nature Schools. Children presented few dance pieces. The students introduced themselves and mentioned why they prefer Nature school compared to their previous schools. Most common reason is the hitting by teachers in other schools. Other reasons that they did not like other residential schools include –a) very bad food in residential schools – Penukonda, worm in the food; b) No trees or birds in other schools, c) not a happy place like PB, c) only rasam and rice in the previous schools, d) lot of homework, e) private schools, the teachers play with phones and watch videos, .
Some kids had autistic tendency and Mary explained how inclusion is helping them. Later volunteers joined the kids in Chakra Vardhana, a game.



Fig. Volunteers with Prakiti Badi kids
Then, the volunteers visited CRC and had a discussion with around 50 college/intermediate students. The conversion is recorded. The focus was on the hurdles they face to continue their education towards graduation and what would be the main reasons if they need to stop education.
Volunteers also visited the CRC facilities. Finally the volunteers discussed with PB and CRC members to prioritize the needs and revisit the proposals for 2014-2015. 
 Fig. Lab in CRC


Fig. Art works from natural colors
Fig. Playground outside CRC