I spent my summer of 2016 with two schools in Mumbai – and it was an absolutely wonderful experience! This was during the monsoon season in Mumbai, and the city looked as beautiful as it ever could be. There is a certain charm that exists in Mumbai, and I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in the fast-paced city life everyday.
This summer, I was trying to study the feasibility and impact of different types of ICT interventions in a low-resource education context. I will be (and have been) playing around with content curation tools and virtual reality applications as possible interventions to support the teacher-student classroom interaction. I spent my mornings and afternoons at Asha Mumbai’s learning center and its surroundings. Setting my research agenda aside for a moment, I want to talk about the impact this place has had on me so far in my short time here.
The students and teachers I have been interacting with are some of the most hardworking people I have ever worked with till today. I have witnessed some very beautiful things happening at the learning center with regard to the students: a few of them have self-taught themselves to build websites in a matter of two days, and they were subsequently working on designing a school website. Other students had initiated efforts to document and digitize all the admission paperwork and attendance registers, and they were also working on designing and laying the foundations for a refurbished classroom courtyard themselves. Additionally, some of them had also produced edited lecture videos of teachers at Asha teaching specific topics to their students. All this they do without any desire for reward or payment – they have been working on these things as a personal effort to give back to an institution that gave them an education for many years.
I have been inspired beyond measure – seeing the enthusiasm in the children, and their constant eagerness and willingness to learn something new everyday. Most of the children here come from very difficult backgrounds at home, and they sometimes receive an education where there is little or no room given for creative thinking. In the midst of this, the children have this powerful realization and desire to learn something meaningful and interesting. Everyday, I am humbled by the love and affection that I receive at the school, and I have seen what it truly means to be selfless in thought and action.
Note: I documented my research work and experience in a private blog. Please shoot me an email if you would like to receive access to this blog.