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Mar 10, 2020

Gandhi Peace Program Report - March, 2020

Ethan's Day
Ethan's Day

Gandhi Peace Program Report - December, 2019
By Jitesh Jaggi - Office Manager and Program Coordinator 

Due to some difficulties he's facing, 8-year-old Ethan sees the school counselor every day to report on how his day has been going and how he's coping with it. Last month, he attended one of the classes where we delivered the Gandhi Peace Program. The day after our class, he reported this to his counselor: "I had a calm night after (listening to) the Gandhi story" and described his feelings as warm and happy- see image 1 attached.

When our lead teacher- Jitesh Jaggi returned to the school the next day to deliver another set of classes, the students from Ethan’s class saw him and quickly put together a letter of gratitude where they thanked him and the National Indo American Museum (NIAM) for the fun and learning experience. They picked Ethan as their class representative and sent him to Jitesh with the letter neatly folded in an envelope. It has some heart-warming comments like: "Thank you for teaching me different things I never knew" and also includes a comment from the class teacher saying "Class 201 has never been so calm and quiet"- see image 2 attached.

These are just a couple of anecdotes that we have cherished from successfully delivering the Gandhi Peace Program to 32 classes, directly impacting more than 800 students in the Chicago Public School system in the past five months. We mention "successfully" here based on the feedback from class teachers, school coordinators, and students.

NIAM has received inquiries from eleven more schools to bring the Gandhi Peace Program to their students over the next three months- most of them located on the West and South sides of Chicago- areas that are struggling with violence in the neighborhoods. The program is sowing the seeds of peaceful resistance and non-violence in neighborhoods that need them the most, through interactive and mindful exercises like meditation, storytelling, and art. We are eager to continue sharing our values-based yet practical approach to young minds in Chicago and hope for your continued support in spreading Mahatma Gandhi’s message of non-violence and bringing peace to those communities that have been impacted by violence.

Student's Thank You Letter
Student's Thank You Letter
Art Exercise
Art Exercise
Dec 9, 2019

Gandhi Peace Project Report - December, 2019

Gandhi Peace Project Instructors
Gandhi Peace Project Instructors

Gandhi Peace Project Report

December 8, 2019

 

The National Indo-American Museum is incredibly grateful to the Global Giving Foundation and to our donors for supporting the Gandhi Peace Project, a program provided by NIAM designed to teach Chicago’s school children about Gandhi’s peace and nonviolence practices. The goal of the Gandhi Peace Project is to encourage young minds to learn through a holistic experience using stories, discussion, demos, creative art and simulations, thereby ensuring a truly sustainable learning.

The Gandhi Peace Project is going in full swing! On October 1, 2019, the National Indo-American Museum launched the inaugural session of the Gandhi Peace Project at Holy Ministry School in Chicago, Illinois, where we worked 24 students all in 3rd grade. Our instructor began the presentation by telling the students Gandhi’s story using posters with historical images of Gandhi to help illustrate his life. To help bring Gandhi to life, our staff chose a student who he transformed into Gandhi by wrapping a dhoti around the student and letting the student wear a pair of spectacles and stand with a walking stick similar to how Gandhi is depicted in his many iconic images. The students then engaged in a meditation exercise based on Kriya Yoga, which was Gandhi’s preferred method of peaceful practice and meditation. This form of meditation is focused on energy of the spine, and our instructor taught the students to focus on their breathing by inhaling for three seconds, holding their breath for four seconds, and exhaling for five seconds. This meditation session, which began and ended with a gong sound, brought an amazing level of tranquility and focus to the classroom. The students then channeled their newly discovered focus into a worksheet where they chose one of Gandhi’s famous quotes, as provided by our instructor, wrote a statement as to how the quote resonated with them, and engaged in a drawing exercise that illustrated their own interpretation of peace. Our instructor closed the session with a lively discussion with the students that gave the students a more complete understanding of both Gandhi and the impact of Indian Americans on their community.

In the month of November, NIAM presented another thirteen sessions of the Gandhi Peace Project at Randolph Elementary School and Eberhart Elementary School, both in Chicago, Illinois, and worked with nearly 330 children in 2nd through 4th grades between the two schools. We are currently scheduling additional sessions with another 6 elementary schools in Chicago, and we are working closely with Communities in Schools to add additional schools to our calendar. We are truly proud of the impact the Gandhi Peace Project is having in our elementary schools!

Additionally, we have received a wonderful response from the community towards this project. Our staff has trained a total of eight instructors who are now poised and ready to present the Gandhi Peace Project in the classrooms, and we have another approximately ten other individuals who are in various stages of their training. By training a large number of teachers, NIAM will be well equipped to staff the Gandhi Peace Project as this program continues to grow.

Finally, NIAM was very proud to be honored by the honorable Sudhakar Dalela, the Consulate General of India in Chicago, for our implementation of the Gandhi Peace Project. On October 17, 2019, Mr. Dalela hosted a special reception for NIAM in celebration and recognition of the Gandhi Peace Project. NIAM thanks Mr. Dalela and his staff for their support.

We cannot thank you enough for your support towards the Gandhi Peace Project!

A Student's Thoughts on Meditation
A Student's Thoughts on Meditation
A Student's Drawing of Mahatma Gandhi
A Student's Drawing of Mahatma Gandhi
Sep 9, 2019

Gandhi Peace Project Report

The  National Indo-American Museum is incredibly grateful to the Global Giving Foundation and to our donors for supporting the Gandhi Peace Project, a program provided by NIAM designed to teach Chicago’s school children about Gandhi’s peace and nonviolence practices. The goal of the Gandhi Peace Project is to encourage young minds to learn through a holistic experience using stories, discussion, demos, creative art and simulations, thereby ensuring a truly sustainable learning. Thanks to your support, the Gandhi Peace Project is set to launch in the Chicago Public Schools during the 2019-2020 school year! In July, members of NIAM's board and staff met with representatives from Communities in Schools, an organization that connects area non-profits with schools and teachers in Chicago who are in need of their services and programs. Communities in Schools helped us identifiy schools and teachers who are intersetd in our program, and we are currently working with those schools to determine dates for our program to begin. In August, we began working with our team of instructors to refine our curriculum and prepare the teaching materials our program instructors will use during the instructional sessions. The Gandhi Peace Project is well underway, and none of this would have been possible without your support. Thank you!    


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