While Delhi is battling dreadful air pollution, a group of students aged 12- 17 from all regions of India attended an experience-based learning programme conducted ‘The Maria’s Braveheart Eco-camp’ founded by Mrs Nellie Ahmed Tanweer. The campsite located in the Aravalli range saw students coming from Greenwood High, Bangalore, Pathways Aravalli, Maria’s Public School, Guwahati, Shashvat Concept, Amravati and Delhi Public School, Raipur, accompanied by their teachers in the camp.
Mr Biswajit De, Education Mentor, The Maria Braveheart engaged students and teachers from Indian schools into empowering and enriching survey based educational activities that connects them to nature and explore the flora and fauna. Students documented more than 50 species of birds during this tour. The activities conducted at the camp provided a platform for students to explore the limits of their abilities and give wings to their imagination. They learned about the importance of biodiversity for the well-being of our planet and the need to conserve natural resources in order to maintain healthy eco-system. Students were taught about their individual role as Citizen Scientist to increase ecosystem productivity, to support and protect the species, freshwater resources, aid in breaking down pollutants and most importantly contribute to climate stability.Students were greatly moved to know about the melting ice glacier sufferings of sea animals, birds etc.
The different activities and presentations helped students understand the importance of teamwork and also contributed to developing their cognitive skills. They were encouraged to respect and generate empathy towards one another while developing life skills, discipline, time management and coming out of their comfort zone. On 10th November 2017, the campers were joined by the local students from UPSGatoli, Rajasthan as a part of Community Outreach activity. This aspect brought in bonding, empathy and awareness about their rural fellow citizens. Children played together, shared meals, exchanged thoughts, skills and presents like books, crayons and other stationeries. The girls huddled and discussed feminine hygiene and menstrual health with each other. Mrs Nellie Ahmed, Founder and Director- The Maria’s Braveheart has offered to support the peer school with all the resources she has to help them construct bore well to fight scarcity of water and uplift sanitation.
Students also poured their energy into playing different intelligent, innovative and creative activities designed by Miss IraniSarma, Educator at The Maria’s Braveheart that helped in relieving stress, socially interactive and made them responsible. Children were introduced to a local artisan and made small palm size piece of earthen lamps with clay and learned about the skills and effort required in creating them.
Mrs Nellie Ahmed, Founder and Director- The Maria’s Braveheart said, ‘We are able to grasp our vision of learning beyond the classroom by bringing in collaboration from all zones in India through educational modules that balance environmental education and climate change consciousness. We will continue to fight against global warming and biodiversity degradation’.
Miss Nilanjana Thaosen, Business Head and Spokesperson, The Maria’s Braveheart said, ‘From growing our own food to selling organic fruits, we have funded our own development. We hope that this endeavour inspires every Indian to live in harmony with the Earth and cultivate a lifestyle of sustainability’.
The students have expressed gratitude for what they described as a “fun and educational” experience. First-time camper, Anirudh Annavajulla from Grade 11, Greenwood High, Bangalore described the experience as amazing and noted that in the beginning it sounded intimidating but turned out fun.Initially, he wasn’t excited, but later felt attached and drawn to students who had come from a school in a village. Knowing about their struggle helped him evolve as a person and realize how much he has and they don’t. He learnt how to live in the situation and found the conviction to move in the world of conservation.