This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Youth Ki Awaaz. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

“Trikon Khidki Wala School”: A Child’s Space Beyond Books [Video]

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

By Pooja Malhotra: 

The educational journey for any child must include opportunities for exploring and learning through planned outdoor experiences and practical exposure. Does the current education system in our country provide creative, inspiring and enriching practical knowledge? Or does it confine a child’s world view to information offered by textbooks within the classroom? Some educators see practical work carried out by students as an essential feature of education and learning. Others however, have raised questions about its effectiveness as a teaching and learning strategy.

Arguably, our modern system of education has been quiet successful in repressing the natural energies of children because it requires them to sit still in a disciplined manner, curbing their instincts to fidget or move about and focuses them to pay attention. It is commonly believed that only maintaining such a discipline can allow you to unravel the secret held within your books; secrets that might not reward you now but will supposedly prepare you for the future world of adulthood. Most educational institutions have closed off the realm of learning through practical experience in the urgency to open up our minds to the world of books.

Though some educators feel an inherent need for nurturing curiosity, spontaneity and playfulness in students through experiential learning, in practice most schools & institutions of learning continue to prepare them for the ‘real world’ within their four walls.

Defying these norms, Adharshila Learning Centre, an alternative school, situated in a tribal village in Madhya Pradesh firmly believes that art, craft and creativity is vital to their learning curriculum. The school has 150 children of which about 70 stay on the campus. They are gaining knowledge and learning concepts through craft, organic farming, theatre, singing and more. The children are enthusiastic about participating in agitations, going to villages around the centre, writing books, documenting local history and folk literature. It is a very lively school and the most unique feature is that the children help younger children to learn. The students of this unique institution have tried to explore the effectiveness of practical work by filming a short video about what makes their school so special and then, sharing it with teachers & students belonging to schools in urban areas and analyzing their response & feedback. You too could post your comments and give your valuable feedback about this unique ‘trikon khidki wala school’ after watching this wonderful film made by the students themselves, as a part of a workshop conducted by Kavita Das Gupta.

The video documents how teachers at Adharshila focus predominantly on developing students’ substantive scientific knowledge, rather than on simply memorizing facts listed out in textbooks. The methodology practiced here facilitates understanding of scientific enquiry procedures by moving beyond the four walls that enclose the blackboard, benches & desks. Practical work has been highly effective in getting students to do what is intended with physical objects, broadening their horizon and giving them the environment to develop their own unique way of thinking. Once exposed to a certain concept, the children are then motivated to use the intended scientific ideas and reflect upon the data or knowledge that they’ve collected. The students are free to learn and they easily overcome the cognitive challenge of linking observables to ideas; tasks are rarely incorporated explicit strategies to help students make such links…The ideas simply flow in this 5th Space that has been created within a centre for learning and it is this 5th space which initiates learning through experience.

At Adharshila, one of the prime features of education that set it apart from most other schools, is that it involves practical work–activities in which students manipulate and observe real objects and materials. ‘Seeing is believing’ is considered as being central to the appeal and effectiveness of education. It helps students to develop their understanding of the subject whether it is science, mathematics or history and enables them to appreciate that the concepts that they are learning are based on evidence and logical reasoning. Students are given the opportunity to do exciting and varied experimental and investigative work.

Most students and teachers (of urban schools) who watched the film were simply touched, moved and inspired by the video. “Your concept of ‘learning by doing’ is wonderful. The students are doing things and gaining hands on experience; there’s no better way of involving children in the process of learning. In our school, we verbally teach students that ‘this is a hibiscus tree or a banyan tree and the best a child, sitting in the classroom, can do is to imagine what it would look like. Our system of education fails to impart the kind of practical knowledge that a student could gain by moving beyond that boundary”, said an experienced teacher. “According to me, the highlight of this film is that it’s not about rural children or urban students; it’s about listening to your heart and having the freedom to do what it tells you…and that calls for courage & you have shown that courage!” shared another viewer. “This is not just a film; it’s a challenge to our education system. As I see it, children at Adharshila are not taught, they are left to learn, they are contemplating what they are doing. To introduce such a concept into the system is a challenge”, said another teacher. To know more about their response, and also to share your own view point, I invite you to watch the full documentary here.

The uniqueness of this ‘trikon khiki wala school’ lies in the fact that it is laying the foundation towards being ‘self motivated individuals whose actions are guided by their inner calling and conscience, rather than by what others say or do’. It is more than just another centre for learning; it’s an experiment in education, a children’s space beyond books…a 5th Space!

You must be to comment.
  1. Bansi Dhameja

    I would like to appreciate that the writer has brought to the notice of the readers a wonderful service done by Adharshila to the society
    I wish some others organs of the media also focus their attention on such activities rather than concentrating on financial gains alone. It is a pity that the media these days is publicising ills of our society alone.
    I wish Youth Ki Awaaz succeeds in its mission.
    Bansi Dhameja

More from Youth Ki Awaaz

Similar Posts

By Shahla Khan

By Youth Ki Awaaz

By InnerHour Mental Health Platform

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below