Work with Community
Sahyadri School is located in a rural region of Pune district. Communities around the school have occupations largely related to farming activities. Mandate of the Krishnamurti foundation includes work towards promoting educational, social and economic welfare of the public in rural areas and to carry out training of rural people for implementing programmes in rural development. Promotion of afforestation,agriculture, horticulture,dairy development and animal husbandry are some of the areas, where school has been engaged with as a part of the Outreach program.
Natural Farming Program
It is something to learn farming, and even more to learn from it. While the School Outreach Programme has always been committed to interacting and serving the surrounding communities, it took a robust shape in June 2016, when Outreach Program’s engagement with farmers in the school vicinity led to a rich understanding to facilitate a move to sustainable livelihood creation that is in sync with the natural environment.
One of the initiatives under Outreach program was the Adidhanya Indigenous Seeds Bank to conserve and cultivate native seeds sourced from seeds conservationist Sanjay Patil of BAIF-Jawhar. Native or indigenous seeds are those that have been preserved and passed down generations as heirloom seeds and do not require any external inputs in terms of synthetic chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides. The seed conservation program thus, understands the “sovereignty of the seed” – the freedom from chemicals and the freedom to be the price maker – which comes when a farmer holds and sows native seeds. Today, about 70 varieties of rice are available with school seed bank.
The Outreach Programme also offers demonstrations to farmers and agriculture university interns across 10 acres of plot on school premises on optimal, environment-friendly farming practices under the guidance of experts. Here they learn to plant indigenous plants and vegetables, tend to them and harvest them in an optimal manner using the learnings from text books, advice of teachers, farmers and local experts. Currently, these include winter farming in a polycrop format based on agroecology (natural) farming principles to grow vegetables that are harvested for farm to table consumption.
Adidhanya – Heritage Seed Program
This program teaches local farmers on how to conserve and use Aadidhanya (Desi/indigenous) seeds under the Paaramparik Beej Sanvardhan initiative. Today, the program holds about 70 odd varieties of rice and 10 varieties of local millets, all tried and tested on the demo plots at the school and available at the mini seed bank. Additionally, with engagement of Tribal Department (ITDP-Ghodegaon) about 250 tribal farmers from the adjacent Bhimashankar Wildlife Sanctuary region have also joined in the programme on a trial basis.
Initiatives such as the Heirloom (Native / Desi) Seeds Festival in Pune, Bhimashankar Farmers Collective, field-trial support to projects with Tata Centre for Technology and Design of IIT Mumbai for seed storage, health prediction software Swasthyaguru, mushroom cultivation, and activity level have been gaining much traction and helping local communities grow.
Rural Educational Program
Sahyadri School works closely with three Zilla Parishad schools in the near vicinity on subjects such as Maths and English, taught by students of Middle school along with Sahyadri teachers twice in a week as a part of school curriculum. The interaction also involves hands on activities and educational games between the children.The program provides an enriching experience to School students to get a glimpse of rural life.
The School’s medical unit is located in a completely natural setting within the campus. It serves as an in-house facility for students and staff, as well as an outpatient clinic for the community surrounding the campus. It is fitted with basic emergency medical equipment like monitors, ECG machine, automated external defibrillator for high risk cases, etc. Dental Care facilities exists to take care of dental issues.
Two resident doctors (Allopathic and Ayurvedic) along-with trained nursing staff serve minor ailment and injuries and provide emergency care for all patients. Basic life support training and awareness programmes on healthy life style as well as preventive medicine are conducted for students, staff and the community. A rural health program for the surrounding communities is in its nascent stages. Specific consultations are referred to specialist in Pune and Rajgurunagar.