From the Barefoot College in Rajasthan, a video about the school and link to the website. The Barefoot College demystifies and decentralises sophisticated technology by handing its control to poor communities in rural India. There is a spiritual dimension in the College because working relationships depend totally on mutual trust, tolerance, patience, compassion, equality and generosity.
The spirit of sewa, volunteerism and community development is very rooted in India. There are centers set up for the practice of “ahimsa” (non-violence) and “daya” (compassion) where the first act you do in service is to get down on your knees and scrub the floors. In this very hierarchized global-organization, and where “volunteerism” and “3rd world development” is becoming a fashion trend and self-identifier for the first-world (thus reproducing these hierarchies), self-awareness is extremely important — if not for you, then for the people you term your “beneficiaries”. A mentor once told me “Let the cause drive you, and not you drive the cause”.
You will find a distinct difference in the teachings of “volunteerism and 3rd-world development etc..” between western and eastern scholarship.
Hole in the Wall
Was pioneered by another Indian, Sugatra Mitra, where he installed computers into walls in rural areas of India, what was to become a “self organized learning environment”. No teaching, no formal education of computer skills, just exploration!
A Ted presentation of the Hole in the Wall.
“Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content. Dr. Mitra’s experiments prove that wrong.”