Vedaaranya Heritage Arts and Healing Festival 2016

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Ms. Alka Shesha

Magic Bus , Todi estate , room no 5 , a wing ,2nd floor ,
Sun mill compound , lower parel (W)
Mumbai-400013

New Pradigm & models for education

Every day, we come across instances of discrimination based on authority, caste, religion, gender and other constructed identities. Marginalization of various sections of the society should force us to reframe our development perspective & consciously work towards a movement where the young discover within themselves the inherent possibilities to bridge the divide.

If we desire to become a more sensitive & alive society at large then change needs to begin with each individual & right to the very core. Learning can only be internalized when it happens in our very ‘being’, across our values & beliefs that we hold to form our very identity.

Our philosophy is guided by the understanding that a holistic development touches all aspects of self (Physical, cognitive, emotional, social & spiritual) & this learning is better internalized when it is experiential.

Our methodology lies in the process of ‘learning by doing’. Education is not just about gaining and memorizing information; but about risking experiences, reflecting on them , drawing learning’s from that reflection and applying it in another situation to deal better. It is about a process that entails ‘plan-do–review–apply -do better’.

In this methodology, the key is reflection & application ( doing ) . Any experience can remain just a memory unless the individual going through it gives a space for self-reflection and reinforcing that learning in action. Such a spiral cycle can very often lead to paradigm shifts, changing perceptions and building positive attitudes.

Our chosen medium to enable an environment for learning is one which is closest to a young heart – team sports, minor games, wilderness activities & creative expressions. Our connect with 5 elements in nature is very defining and lays the basis to relate with self & learn from the school of life.

In our quest to walk our efforts towards deep rooted internal shifts we developed a methodology of ‘Sport for development’ where we have used sport as a medium for discovering & developing .The experiences on ground are used to relate to real life experiences & young minds & hearts are encouraged to feel, question, reflect & make choices for themselves & their society. The content revolves around 4 quests of life from self to society which are the inspiration of Sage Patanjali in our very own yoga philosophy

• Who am I?
• What is my relationship to the world?
• What can I do with my life?
• How can I make it happen?

Bio:

Being born in Durgapur (WB) to a Brahmin family from Uttar Pradesh , named ‘ alka ‘ ,  graduation in economics ( Mumbai ) , being married to a Brahmin from Maharashtra , working in a government organization formed the basis of my bio data or identity until my extreme obsession to study  life to its very core brought me to the threshold of yoga at ‘ The yoga institute ‘ Santacruz Mumbai .
Life took a complete turn as I completed my teacher training at the institute & further enhanced my academic knowledge by diploma in counseling at Xavier’s in 1992. From there on began my 18 year long journey of learning & development & I gained qualification in the School of life where nature, people & experiences have been my teachers.

I have had the opportunity to learn while conceptualizing & designing the one year Teachers training certified course for middle aged home makers and age & need based summer camps for young people at the institute, conduct various workshops for schools & colleges in Mumbai & Maharashtra on – yoga, as a way of life, working in Uttpal Sanghvi school (Mumbai) for Attitude building & training of mind for a year , being a program co-coordinating team member for educatory expeditions  with school children in Kerala ,Bhutan , Sikkim , uttranchal , rural & tribal Maharashtra .

Last 10 years I have been part of an incredible journey from a Mentor to Chief program officer  in a organization called Magic Bus which works to advocate children’s right to play , discover &  learn for at risk & marginalized . We have created curricula using sports as a medium for holistic development of young people, to facilitate thoughts of yoga philosophy as key messages keeping safe environment , participation ,experiential learning , fun & mentoring as founding pillars of the delivery . I have had the opportunity to learn at many global forums & international projects but my learning’s from South Africa have played a major role both professionally & personally.

In this process along with my children & youth I have discovered my own potentials & true yearnings & now understand better the meaning of an identity.