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Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda

by Sadhguru Schools
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Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
Adopt a Child's Education in Rural Uganda
During Assembly, Josephine sharing about AI
During Assembly, Josephine sharing about AI

Artificial Intelligence comes to Sadhguru School

In this blog, we bring to you some free-flowing prose in the form of a sharing from Josephine, whose family roots are in Western Uganda. Baring in mind we are amid rolling hills and farmland with sparse electricity, she inspired our children with her lesser-known career during school assembly - Artificial Intelligence.

Meanwhile, scroll to the bottom for two elevating video links of performances from our two-weeks early closing assembly in March - the result of the sudden closure of schools due to the COVID-19 Pandemic: (1) Anandhi, a music therapist and former teacher of many years at Isha Home School leading Bob Marley's Don't Worry About a Thing, and (2) Amooti with a spoken word performance of his A Poem The Dark Child composed by him especially for Sadhguru School children.

 

'Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.' (Ibn Battuta) 

Often I seek a ‘state’ of calm. That bursting-out-of-your-chest feeling of wonder, awe and gratitude. An act of stepping out of my world literally and figuratively, simultaneously embracing that sense of oneness and ‘disconnecting’. 

The trip begins

I had decided over the International women’s day weekend that I needed inspiration, a change in scenery. Travel has always pushed me to see the forest for the trees. There is something magical about hitting the road and experiencing. A friend’s work trip to Fort Portal provided a perfect opportunity. The fresh upcountry air cleared my mind and energized my spirit. Little did i know at the time that our odyssey was just begining.

We arrived in Fort Portal at 11:30am  and went about doing my colleague's work. Having a similar professional background meant that my presence was relevant. It felt refreshing to hear/speak familiar terms and contribute from an outsider’s point of view.  

Two hours later, I am sitting with my other hilarious friend, as she narrates her weekend escapade to Queen Elisabeth national park. I met her in the corridors of knowledge at the University of Cambridge. A million laughs later, we are still going strong! She has been telling me about Sadhguru school where she has been working from early this year. Like many Ugandans, before her employment, I was unaware of this oasis of peace, enlightenment and sanity, a little bit off the beaten path.

Discovering Sadhguru School

Sadhguru School is built on Ndali Estate, 24 kilometres from Fort Portal town. It is a stone’s throw away from Ndali Lodge that is also on the same estate. The estate’s valley location affords a picturesque view of the surrounding mountain slopes and crater lakes. Mildly tamed flora obscures the school, serving as a subtle embellishment for a sight for the sore eyes, that is, the school grounds. As our driver and I marvelled at the view, my other colleague quickly wanted to introduce me to the school administration before her 3pm meeting.

True to her character, she made levity the exercise of meeting the school administrators. And within minutes we were exchanging jokes at my friend’s expense. The good-natured banter concluded with an invitation to speak to the children about Artificial Intelligence, an area of my work. 

What better way to be inspired than to inspire future leaders

Maktub – my first thought! To look into faces that represent a very young version of yourself and explain the concept of designing and using algorithms to imbue machines with the human capacity for contemplation, judgement, and intention. 

Choosing to use ‘training a dog’ as an analogy for  artificial intelligence, I was happy when a pupil asked, ‘dogs understand, what happens if the machine does not do as commanded?’ The young lad through imagination and uninhibited curiosity had grasped the concept well enough to ask a very crucial question in the Artificial Intelligence/ machine learning debate. At that moment I was reminded of my childhood curiosity for life and the power of imagination. Also, two of Sadhguru’s quotes about education came to mind. The first one is,  “Education is about making a child grow with an uncluttered intelligence”. The second is,  “Education can never be a profession – it must be a passion.”

My interaction with the children and staff of Sadhguru School spoke to those two quotes. Speaking to one of the third-generation owners of Ndali estate and overseer of the school, you get to understand that passion. She will be the first to tell you that she is no expert in education. And yet she has put together a passionate team to provide holistic education in a rural setting - ensuring that each pupil’s spiritual, intellectual and physical development needs are met. Listening to one of the Directors speak of her research for the school’s current and future strategy; to the Art teacher (a professional photographer), and to the school's IT specialist pointing out pupils that want to build computers, I got that floating-above feeling of seeing one’s life as part of a wider tapestry.

I was in awe of my surroundings; grateful for the hospitality and the opportunity to be inspired; and in the wonder of my purpose in the Sadhguru School odyssey.

A clown performs during another assembly
A clown performs during another assembly

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Yr4 learning to research via the internet
Yr4 learning to research via the internet

Learning using the Montessori Approach

With the support of a few individuals, we have introduced the Montessori method this year to Reception and Year1, alongside our ongoing activity-based role-play learning. The images below show the meticulousness and intensity with which our 4-5 year olds are continuing their self-directed learning using dedicated Montessori learning materials. Montessori exercises the children's capacity to choose, through them freely selecting their work area in a disciplined, calm but absorbing atmosphere, while also enhancing their social skills. We look forward to a life-long love for learning being ignited early for these little ones.

More Martial Arts in Action

We had an opportunity to host Maciek for two weeks at school - a highly competitive and knowledgeable Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner from Poland. Maciek funded his way to school with no previous knowledge of Uganda or Africa at all. Inspired purely after hearing about our project, and with a strong desire to spread knowledge of martial arts throughout the world. Through his intense style of teaching, the team strengthened their fundamental understanding of the game and learned new details and training methodologies, surely bringing our talented athletes closer to future championship possibilities.

Our Growing Team

Nine people joined our teaching team from all walks of life in January. Leaving the city, home luxuries and family behind to join us here in the countryside does not come with a lot of ease. We celebrate the dedication of  Max, Lydia, Frank, Isaac, Sophie, Daniel, Julia, Samantha and Denis in some of the images below.

Yr3 during a class activity
Yr3 during a class activity
A group from Yr4 using the internet for research
A group from Yr4 using the internet for research
Yr1: working together with a Montessori pyramid
Yr1: working together with a Montessori pyramid
Reading lesson
Reading lesson
fully focused learning using Montessori materials
fully focused learning using Montessori materials
Montessori tactile animal learning board
Montessori tactile animal learning board
Maciek demonstrates jiu jitsu move
Maciek demonstrates jiu jitsu move
Jiu Jitsu in action
Jiu Jitsu in action
The young Jiu Jitsu team in the making
The young Jiu Jitsu team in the making
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Our Open Magic box to the King
Our Open Magic box to the King

Magic Boxes to the King of our Kingdom

Year 4 had just 5 days (!) to prepare to meet our beloved King of Tooro. This was no ordinary meeting: His Majesty, King Oyo had invited Sadhguru School to perform on the 24th anniversary of His coronation, at the Royal Palace in Fort Portal - less than 30km from school. 

The children wrote and performed a poem dedicated to the protection of the beauty of their Tooro Kingdom, hiding safely all those things precious to them in their magic boxes which they offered to their king in the final verse. One of our volunteers, a master craftsman (fine cabinet maker), made a beautiful wooden box jointed with dovetails and hinged with handmade brass studs, which the children decorated with their artwork. 

A little snippet about our King: at the tender age of just 3, The Prince made global headlines, entering the Guiness Book of Records as the youngest prince in the world to be crowned king, ascending the throne to the Tooro Kingdom at the death of his father, on 12th September 1995. See the video in the link below to discover what was inside the magic boxes.

Red Hen Bread & Indigenous Food Fair

Reception children, as young as four - baking? Yes! Inspired as part of their Red Hen project, a story that they worked on for a few weeks, the little ones learnt how to make bread like the Red Hen. Led by a volunteer, the little ones learnt a skill in such a joyful and fun way, baking together and enjoying the yummy bread just like the Red Hen.

If we are going to talk about baking, we should at least know the source of the ingredients: our Nutrition Club participated in the Rwenzori Regional Indigeneous Food and Seed Fair, where they enjoyed learning about native seeds, cultural tools and methods used to farm in the olden days. The food fair focused on sharing ways to utilise indigenous food and seeds to end hunger. Our children also performed a skit that was carefully prepared for the event.

Stalagmites and Stalactites

Recently Year 3 and 4 were learning about stalagmites and stalactites. As part of their studies, they visited the famous Amabere caves and waterfalls near Fort Portal. They were in awe when they found out about the scientific reasons behind all the legends that they had heard about surrounding the caves. Added to this, they found out how waterfalls are formed and how to make maps, and they listened to cultural and tribal stories - all in one place on a fun-filled field day.

Jiu Jitsu

Do you remember from an earlier blog our children beginning to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? At that time our students had started out wrestling and grappling on the lawn... Recognizing the effort of the team and the risk of injury involved while wrestling on hard surfaces, a few people from the USA contributed wrestling mats to make wrestling an on-going possibility at school. We now have a batch of eleven wrestlers competing in their very first competition as I write! Look out for our next blog to see how these little angels fare: though small in stature, our students are strong in stamina, vigour and intensity - a natural offshoot of the physicality of their rural backgrounds, which the school is trying to nurture and direct for their wellbeing through disciplines such as jiu jitsu.

Performing the Poem at the coronation ceremony
Performing the Poem at the coronation ceremony
The King and Queen Mother
The King and Queen Mother
Magic box
Magic box
One of our pledges
One of our pledges
Inside the Magic box
Inside the Magic box
Reception baking
Reception baking
In the Oven
In the Oven
Preparations in progress
Preparations in progress
We made it..
We made it..
Matching during the food fair
Matching during the food fair
Performing a skit at the food fair
Performing a skit at the food fair
Checking out food varieties
Checking out food varieties
A walk around the caves
A walk around the caves
Learning session
Learning session
At our best on the new Grappling mats
At our best on the new Grappling mats
Here we go
Here we go
At the waterfalls
At the waterfalls

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Muay Thai Kickboxing world champion, Umar
Muay Thai Kickboxing world champion, Umar

The Boon of Volunteering 

We are continuously blessed with creative and willing hands at Sadhguru School. In the past few months Lily, Carlo and Daisy have thrown themselves into the fray, from two weeks to three months. Lily is an art Teacher from the UK, Carlo a graduate in poetry from Kenya and Daisy, a pebble's throw from the UK's Stonehenge, is on a gap year before training as a teacher. Some of their involvement covered training teachers in creative and enquiring methods within the classroom, directing a school play based on 'talk for writing', carving and scorching wooden toys (or 'learning aids') for reception and year 1, and inspiring the children through art projects and experimentation.

In Lily's words: 'The huge smiles, warmth and a wonderful curiosity that greeted me from staff and pupils alike made me feel right at home from the very beginning of my visit... After an inspirational two weeks spent with the staff and pupils of Sadhguru School I have returned to the UK full of admiration for all those who have planted and nurtured this awesome learning environment and brought it to fruition.'

Lily has thought provokingly expressed three existing areas of Sadhguru School in a fun and challenging framework, for us to keep coming back to as we take the school forward; again in her own words:

'By poetic manner or through the surreal stages of boredom and jetlag experienced during my homeward journey, I came upon the idea to pair these 3 key elements, integral to Sadhguru school, with the elements of atomic structure and the Indian trinity of Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu:

  1. YOGA - Represented by the Neutron and Vishnu, the maintainer - at the heart of the school: without the maintenance of yoga’s energetic presence within the school, it simply would not exist as Sadhguru School.
  2. CULTURE - Represented by the Proton and Brahma, the creator - a fusion of old and new, Eastern, Western and most importantly African cultures. The true craftsmanship, strength and sensitivity required to delicately balance the schools rich and varied genetics.
  3. ACADEMIA - Represented by the Electron and Shiva, the Destroyer - for a curriculum that should be fluid, flexible and continually adapting and evolving to meet the current needs of each individual child in an ever changing world.'

 

Mixed Martial Arts

Yogesh has been teaching the older children grappling skills, drawing on his background in Juijitsu. Beyond the practical need to learn the fundamentals of real life self-defence, the discipline and commitment instilled by martial arts are invalueable. He and Tanamayi took some of the children to Kampala to watch a martial arts competition. They slept in a traditional Japanese dojo ('place of learning') used for matial arts practice at the kindness of its Japanese founder, Fugi, who offered them all tremendous hospitality. See the short heartwarming video they put together of their visit in the link below, where you can see them having a go at capoeira too. 

Along the same theme, we were fortunate to have Umar, the Ugandan two-time World Champion in Muay Thai kickboxing and his friend, Seth from Lionheart Mixed Martial Arts in the US, visit Sadhguru School for a short workshop and question and answer session with the children. Umar explained: 'Muay Thai techniques are what have helped me become what I am now. I do this with high regard for my native country Uganda and for the core values of the art like discipline and respect... The nature of the game is like this: you win some and you loose some. But mainly you keep trying. You keep going.' 

 

International Day of Yoga

In the run-up to International Day of Yoga on June 21st, some of our children together with our two hatha yoga teachers offered some simple 'yoga tools' workshops in Kampala. Our nine and ten year olds were demonstrating yoga to corporate managers and employees, as well as to school children from a mix of cultures and sophisticated city backgrounds. The level of involvement and openess of participants and organisers at each venue was a giant boost for our children. They also got a first time experience of the cinema (Aladdin), rounded off with cones of ice cream... images below. 

 

Beautiful Books Galore

Old Kamapala Senior Secondary School alumuni (OKAS fund), in partnership with Books Abroad, sent 2,000 books to Sadhguru School, which had started out being assembled and lovingly selected in Scotland, UK. This tremendous book feast was made possible by the indefatigueable Arun, who spent his childhood in Uganda and is an alumni of Old Kampala Senior Secondary School. These are books that you and I might have discarded from our shelves and, rather than throw away, Books Abroad can make use of them. You can imagine the mix up that might happen from an ecclectic mix of reading ages and tastes stacked in a warehouse and then sent to a primary school 4,000 miles away overseas. So we were astounded and delighted by the care and relevance with which they were chosen for our children; we now have a substantial proud beginning to our children's reading library. 

 

Closing Words from Carlo's Volunteering Experience

'Where to begin, the heart-melting welcomes from the teachers, students, environment and all the neighbours of the school? Falling asleep under a valley of stars and waking up to the smiles, dances and laughter of every member of staff? The sheer enthusiasm, dedication and curiosity of both teachers and students? The love, energy and care that goes into every aspect of the School’s being? There are too many beautiful moments and experiences to begin to put into words but I know one thing, Sadhguru School is a place of nurturing and inspiration like no other.'

 

 "Volunteering is a way of learning to make our lives into a process of just giving and being willing. Not just willing to do this or that, simply willing." - Sadhguru

Future Champions in the making
Future Champions in the making
Enjoying their first-ever swing at the Dojo
Enjoying their first-ever swing at the Dojo
Lily
Lily
Making friends at KISU
Making friends at KISU
International Day of Yoga at KISU
International Day of Yoga at KISU
Before the movie
Before the movie
Enjoying ice-cream after the movie
Enjoying ice-cream after the movie
Umar and Seth at Sadhguru School
Umar and Seth at Sadhguru School
kids enjoying carefully selected books by OKAS
kids enjoying carefully selected books by OKAS
Learning from each other at KISU
Learning from each other at KISU
International Day of Yoga at Tata Motors
International Day of Yoga at Tata Motors

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The art of using rocks to create crater lakes
The art of using rocks to create crater lakes

We are lucky to have received another team of long-term volunteers: Yogesh and Tanamayi from the US and India, and Carlo from Kenya, joined us in January and are helping to set the school on fire.

As you can tell from the pictures below, there is so much color trending: the paint brush is at its peak. Dance classes have evolved: the kids are now enthralled with Bollywood dancing as well as traditional African tribal dances; and they can't get enough of the new natural 'fallen tree' playground, where they are being slowly introduced to a form of 'parcours', called MovNat.

Meanwhile, Yr3 and Yr4 have been exploring the crazy craters in our region of Uganda. As an entry point into their topic, the children were taken back to the beginning of time to explore what the earth looked like before the continents were created. While studying about the earth millions of years ago, the children were passionate to learn more about dinosaurs. They have been working hard to create the very first dinosaur museum in Western Uganda. They have written information texts in Literacy class, built 3D dinosaur skulls and created some lovely artwork, studying in depth  their favorite prehistoric animal. Following on from this, they have been learning about the structure of the earth, and are next going to study our very own (as in, right on our doorstep) rift valley.

Yr1 and Yr2 have been discovering more about habitats and animal adaptation. It just so happened that one morning a beautiful camel and her owner were walking past the school. Luckily, they kindly agreed to come in and visit. It was a fantastic opportunity to learn first-hand about animal adaptation. We studied its long eyelashes and hairy ears for keeping out the desert sand. We looked at its broad hooves, and learnt about its hump for storing food. We also discussed how the camel's mouth is very tough which makes it perfect for eating spiky cactuses. One fact we all excitedly discovered was that a camel can close its nostrils in a sand storm.

Thank you Hattie, for choosing to volunteer with us during your gap year period. Yr3 and Yr4 are loving the netball (heavily rivalled by the staff) thanks to your meticulous introduction and tireless coaching; not to mention that you first had to design, source the steel, and make the goal posts in a day with our non-english speaking welder Julius.  

The Art as inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
The Art as inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
See all these Dinosaurs
See all these Dinosaurs
Yes. We made it
Yes. We made it
See what i have got
See what i have got
Here i am
Here i am
Yr1 at it-creating own mixed medium shoe habitats
Yr1 at it-creating own mixed medium shoe habitats
More habitats from all around the world
More habitats from all around the world
We all love the Ocean
We all love the Ocean
Awesome fish
Awesome fish
Here is the lovely Camel
Here is the lovely Camel
We loved the netball game
We loved the netball game
We all enjoyed the game
We all enjoyed the game
Isn't this so beautiful
Isn't this so beautiful
Traditional dance in session
Traditional dance in session
The Art as inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
The Art as inspired by Andy Goldsworthy
Indian dance
Indian dance
This is some awesome stuff happening
This is some awesome stuff happening
And now yoga
And now yoga

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Organization Information

Sadhguru Schools

Location: Fort Portal, Kabarole - Uganda
Website:
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Twitter: @https://youtu.be/xxUcvaJaPto
Project Leader:
Bliss Grace
Fort Portal, Kabarole Uganda
$73,589 raised of $410,000 goal
 
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