Education  India Project #34134

Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space

by Shaishav Child Rights
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
Aaranyak: A Rural Alternative Learning Space
National Consultation of Children Collectives
National Consultation of Children Collectives


Aaranyak team preparation for the upcoming busy months of May and June.

The Aaranyak team began with the planning process form April 2023. Planning was majorly done for the upcoming Vacation and leadership camps. The team pooled in various ideas for the leadership and vacation camps, which the children had suggested to them during their field works. Majorly ideas like doing a herbs project, knowing their village and people more and even learning mathematics came up. We decided to also include sessions on understanding emotions and some fun sessions on paper craft.


May 2023

Leadership camp

The three - day residential leadership camp began on 2nd May 2023 with 74 children (34 boys and 40 girls) of ages 11-14. It was ensured that representatives from each 14 village is present for the same for better dissemination of learning within each village. The camp began with children drafting general agreements that will be adhered in the three days. Later they were given their family groups and children volunteered for different responsibilities.

The three- day camp primarily focussed on children creating the world of their dreams and then trying to imagine their own village in those terms. This was planned as children will be able  to assess their village and  integrate with their own child rights experience with the real world. They were trained to draw maps of their village, do resource mapping and safety audit of their village. This way they got a deeper understanding of their own village and arena's where they should act as  a team.  Even if these exercises sound like technical and complex, the sessions were facilitated with stories and activities, to make them easier to comprehend. As a mock exercise,  children  did a resource mapping of the camp venue in groups. 

FGDs were done to understand the areas of fear for children in their villages and post that they created a safety map of their village.

Children were also equally thrilled and amazed by the movie True Spirits, a biopic on Ms Jessica Watson, the youngest sailor who solo circumnavigated at the age of 16. Some of the children, especially girls really got inspired to experience sea after watching the movie. The succeeding night, the children played a unique and interesting card game called Swa-cards with their family groups. Through the game they shared their likes, dislikes, good and bad experiences and much more deep thoughts. The game was unequivocally enjoyed and accepted by children. The game was designed for children to reflect and learn about themselves and connect deeper with their friends. 

Another highlight of the camp was Skill sharing Fair, that happened post lunch everyday. All Aaranyak facilitator taught a specific hands-on skill during this time and children could choose where to visit and learn. Skills varied from quilling, mahic tricks,paper craft, leaf plate making, storytelling, making Adivasi dictionary, upcycling plastic bottles , pottery, kitchen gardening, and much more were learned by all including the team.

Vacation camp

Vacation camps begin when the schools are closed in the month of May. This is a vital time period for us as, we are able to engage with children more qualitatively in communities. Usually this is the time children migrate with parents to work and even get into child labour. To avoid these mishaps, we plan day long activities with children. This vacation camp was majorly focussed on creating village map, resource mapping and safety audit of every village. Children who attended the leadership camp led and taught other children in their village on how to execute these mappings.  Before doing the safety audit, FGDs were done separately on girls, boys’ groups by Aaranyak facilitators to capture a better understanding of fear and unsafe points for children. We also ensured participation of children with special needs and tried to understand their fears and places were they feel unsafe. 

Along with the mapping, activities on understanding emotions were an integral part of vacation camp. Beginning from identifying various emotions to diary writing, art and music therapy was executed in the vacation camp.

An expert Mathematics tutor, Ms Hina visited for two weeks in our villages and through games and card games, she facilitated age-appropriate sessions on arithmetic, angles and other functional concepts. In an effort of capacity building, she also trained the Aaranyak team in every day maths, tricks for faster calculations etc.

Sports tournament was organized within three-four villages on every Sundays. A plethora of sports activities, ranging from volleyball, baseball and other games of cooperation was played in these events. Van Bhojan was also carried out in this day, where children pooled in resources and cooked food to eat together as a family.

Mitr Diwas (Friendship Day) was a new programme, where children visit a house in their own village once a week. Before visiting the home, they draft a list of question s that can be asked to the elders in home. Questions generally deals with childhood experiences, agriculture, weather, facilities during their (grandparents) time. Children were super excited to visit and interact with these elders. The children diligently record new information’s that come out their questions in their notebooks. Senior citizens and elders also feel recognized and appreciated when they are approached as a source of information. Currently everyone’s waiting for their turn to be the host, which implies a positive response from both community and children.

Bal dost samiti meetings, (a committee of elders, who are called ‘friends of children’, thus form the Child protection Net) were a priority in the month of July. In 8 villages of the project areas, these samiti meetings were held. This time we also introduced child rights game within the community as an entry point for conversations of a friendly environment for children. They enjoyed it well and gave positive response.

The Sarpanch (Village president) of Sejpur village wanted the game kit to be taken to her home, as she wanted to play it again with her family and learn more. This eagerness to learn and contribute to child protection is what we consider as change in Shaishav.

Challenges & Mitigation strategies

  1. The heat waves posed difficulty in interacting with children during vacation camps. To resolve this, flexible timings were fixed after consulting with children and parents for actiivities.
  2. During vacations, children often go with parents to work on their own field, as May was a busy agricultural activity month. As a solution, Home visits were increased and parents wer convinced to send the children to our activities.


June-July 2023 

 Aaranyak team carried out a school enrollment drive in the villages encouraging all the children and parents to send the pupils to school. This was a significant drive as the during that specific month there were higher instances of migration of parents to factories in Ankleshwar. There were also follow ups on ensuring children of 5 years to get newly admitted to Balvatika (Gujarat’s state government’s new policy for admitting children of 5 years.)

Baseline surveys on 14 village is also completed. The data encaptures number of children that attends the community activities, goes to school, disabled children, children who goes to child labour, number of single parent children and other relevant data. This information will facilitate our planning for the upcoming school year.


Bal mela’s on 11 Aashramshalas on topics of logical reasoning, problem solving etc covered around 1390 children. Children were intrigued by the games and puzzles initially, But with support and encouragement they found their way to solutions.

Activities on understanding emotions, child rights training was also done.

The children especially the younger kids feel home sick and alone when they are away from home. To resolve this issue, Peer groups for a total of 1338 children were formed in these Aashramshalas where older kids and younger kids are paired up. This exists as a support system and also reduces instances of bullying. Two Child rights training were also executed that engaged with 197 children. Training encompasses of games, activities and group discussions.


National consultation of Children Collectives (NACC)

From 29th May to 31st May 2023, Shaishav organised the three- day consultation of Children collectives in Gujarat Vidyapith, Ahmedabad in partnership with National forum for Child Participation. Four children of Aaranyak program attended along with 80 children from over 10 states. Being in a National consultation and meeting and interacting with children from other states were a new and exciting experience for the children. The training introduced them to various tools like SWOT, Power triangle to assess self and their collective. The inspiration to set up a children collective was grown among the children after deep conversations with children from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka who are part of collectives of 30-40 years old. After three-day intense training on child participation, they also toured around heritage sites of Ahmedabad.


Major Outcomes

  1. Children realized the reality of working conditions of various of the resources in their own villages.
  2. They as a group also drafted an Action plan to resolve the resource inefficiencies.
  3. Children became emphatic to needs and fears of their own peers. 
  4. Children are aware of their own history and ancestor’s way of living and understand them better by asking elders and community.
Aaranyak stall in NACC
Aaranyak stall in NACC
Skill sharing Fair in Leadership camp.
Skill sharing Fair in Leadership camp.
Children doing safety mapping of their village
Children doing safety mapping of their village
Mitr Diwas
Mitr Diwas
World of my dreams- Leadership camp
World of my dreams- Leadership camp
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Children in leadership camp
Children in leadership camp

The Aaranyak program that believes in ensuring an open learning space is continuing its operation in 14 villages of Sejpur and Samarpada gram panchayats.

The reach and the impact of the four components of the program has indeed been progressing positively.




21 Baldosths committee meetings were organized in the villages. The rights of children and the need of creating a safe space for children are communicated to the village adults through these mediums. School Management Committee (SMC) members were identified and the important role played by SMC in school development was also discussed. Childrens who went for an exposure visit to Bhavnagar and attended the Shaishav’s annual celebration shared their experience in this stage.

 Child rights sessions Right to survival, Right to protection, right to development and right to participation were on focus in the 10 sessions on Child rights that covered 164 children in villages. Through the medium of games and puzzle these rights were discussed. Each right was dealt elaborately. For instance, children were made aware of all types of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual, neglect) that they have the right ot be protected against.  Right to information was also communicated to children, explaining the why, what and how of accessing information.


Children becomes more aware of their own rights and are able to identify any violations of the same. This was evident from an incident where the children confronted a teacher on using corporal punishment on children.


Verbal and Nonverbal communications and understanding emotions were dealt intensively in 10 one day camps. It was observed that children found the nonverbal communication activities difficult as it was a novel task for them. But the 122 boys and 110 girls who were covered in these sessions showed will power and tried hard to deliver the best in these games. They also learned of two powerful tools to recover when burdened by depleting emotions,


Also, the creative skills associated with life skills was focused in the village through story writing, paper craft and other activities. With the use of tablet , 28 such sessions were organized to clear children’s doubts in their academic subjects through the medium of explanatory videos, visuals etc. Additionally, movies like Moana was also shown to amaze children in the fantasy world.

660 children were interacted during the Child Rights week celebrations. Online safety, cyber security, addiction of social media were topics that were dealt through the medium of role play, songs, stories. In schools, the teachers supported these initiatives whole heartedly. The children quite interestingly improvised the plays and performed in other stages.


22 children of Dediyapada block visited Bhavnagar interacted with Balsena children. Here they got an understanding of collective association and the need of the same. Also they participated in State Consultation of Children where Right to protection was deliberated in detail. The Legal provisions for child protection , importance of Child protection Committee’s were also highlighted. Later children had a lot of fun by playing in beach , which was also a first time for most of the children.

Quite interestingly, a visible difference in confidence and initiative skills were seen in these children



Vanshala activities are presently continuing in Samarpada and Pomelapda village of Dediyapada block. The activities continue to focus on enabling children to participate in their own learning process and build their capacity in leadership skills.


Three Van bhojans that resemble to picnics , but in close contact with nature were organized. These are demanded by children and voluntarily they contribute in small amounts, be it in kind or cash. A peaceful area is chosen where they learn from nature and also have fun in cooking food together. During this cooking process all genders come together breaking the gendered notions they see in their homes. Children dance, sing, swim in rivers and play freely without any inhibitions.

Samuh Bhojan

Four Samooh bhojans (group meals) Children brings food from home and eat together. Earlier the sense of sharing was absent among the children. Through 4 of such activities that covered 160 of children, a sense of oneness and acceptance all food choices are learned

Celebration of cultural festivals- Different festivals of cultural importance were celebrated in the villages. During Raksha bandhan, children made their own bands and in addition to sister tying to brother , sisters also tied the bands among themselves .  During River day celebrations, children made whole boats out of biodegradable items and had a lot of fun playing with it on rivers.

Celebration of Adivasi day was a highlight in these celebrations. Tribal culture was celebrated through songs and dances. Children made a dictionary in Adivasi language where terms for household items, medicinal plants, family relations were translated to Gujarati.

Sports    In 48 sessionsof sports, games like Kabaddi, volleyball, bridge ball were played by children. They pla y games of their liking. The gendered notions attributed to each game is broken by all genders playing together all games. i

Kishor Kishori mandal      

163 adolescents were covered in this activity. Throughposters, awareness dance and songs and drama, they learn to seek help from others in need, Child Safety net people in their villages. Topics like good touch, bad touch and physical and mental changes during adolescents, gender and sexare also discussed in detail. Conversations around gendered works in home, menstruation have created a more sensitized adolescents.

Bal samiti meetings- Children demand their interested topics and subject matters to the facilitators in the two Samiti meetings that are held in first Sunday of every month. Accordingly the team plans the activities.

Library- Unlike a few months ago, presently children read books of their interest and choice peacefully and without distracting others. This was a commendable behavioral change observed in this time because this was achieved without any disciplinary measures.

A total of 48 library sessions were organized where 898 boys and 917 girls accessed these books. Through this we are aiming to expand the imaginative and world vision of children through the stories they listen and read in these books.

The 36 Educational activities that engaged with 611 boys and 629 girls focused on improving reading and writing skill, counting by number charts, basic arithmetic’s. Children also take initiative to teach those who are slow in understanding.



194 children of the age group of 3-5 of 16 villages have been intensively interacted by our team. Visible changes in the social skills of children have been observed. The fun activities have enhanced the cognitive ability of children and quality of services in Anganwadi centres. Toddlers were earlier shy and would create a chaotic situation by their hue and cries, but now they demand games, songs , stories and dancing. The Aaganwadi worker (AWW) extend her whole support to the team, The engaging activities have also impacted her morale and capacity. The coordinated works with AWW has delivered more positive outputs and an increase in attendance of children.



We are continuing the engaging and fun sessions in 11 Ashramshalas (residential schools for tribal children) of 9 villages. During the last quarter the following activities were organized.

Leadership camps

 The theme of team work was specifically focused in the camp activities. Activities that required coordination and team effort persuaded children to come out of their comfort zones. A total of 10 camps were implemented that covered 246 boys and 264 girls.

Team building, cooperation and coordination among students,

Through the games, children understood the importance of each member in the team and what exactly is inclusive leadership is.

Interestingly children were frustrated and demotivated after every failure. Quite naturally there were also blame games. But with the facilitators support children showed perseverance and acceptance of others. Rather than a single child emerging as a leader in the group, it was refreshing to see all the members in a team contributing equally. Listening to everyone’s opinion, thinking out of the box and conflict resolutions were some concepts that children learned, without any theoretical class from the facilitators.


Balmela- Children always study scientific concepts and even theoretically memorize the experiments, To actually do it and understand its real life applications was made possible in the 6 Bal melas that were conducted in this period. A total of 378 children had fun in these experiments that majorly dealt with topics of force of air , gravitation and magnetism. This ensured more conceptual clarity that helped many children.


Exhibition and poster display- posters and display materials on history, geography , important personalities, like Dr B.R Ambedkar, constitutional rights were communicated to children through the 11 exhibitions of Bharat Dharshan in schools that covered around 900 children.


23 Movie sessions were also carried out. Films like Chillar party, Home Alone and Meh aur meri body impressed the children unlike the usual movies they watch. They were quite fascinated with the world in these movies and the perseverance shown by kids in them.


A total of 10 sessions were done among adolescents in topics of love and romance, healthy body image, healthy relationships and bullying. In a world where the adolescents are surrounded by influencer culture and unrealistic beauty standards, it’s essential for inculcating body positivity and self-love. Amazingly children were very happy after the sessions, felt more liberated








Sessions on adolescent changes in Aashramshalas
Sessions on adolescent changes in Aashramshalas
A Vanshala  in progress
A Vanshala in progress
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Point activity
Point activity


The vision of child friendly villages is to realise the rights of children with involvement of all the stakeholders.

Currently, we are working in 14 villages of Samarpada and Sejpur Panchayat in Dediapada block.

Child Rights trainings:

15 child rights trainngs were organized, 168 girls and 189 boys participated in these trainings. Topics such as what is a child, what are rights, what are rights, right to survival, protection, development and participation were facilitated. Through these trainings children learnt that no one can hit them or discriminate against them. They also learnt that they must not discriminate others as well. After the training was over, children even inquired about when the next training will be.

Residential Leadership Camp:

This Diwali vacation we organized two residential leadership camp, for the first time in Aaranyak program. Previously, we had only organized one-day training camps. Children and the team was very enthusiastic about the camp. 78 boys and 89 girls – 167 children of fourteen villages participated in these two camps. The theme of the camp was right to participation. Children learnt about what is right to participation, importance of right to participation, importance of collective and spaces where children can demand their right to participation.

10 Balsena children from Bhavnagar also participated in this camp. They shared about Balsena, its history, structure, programs, and most importantly how Balsena impacted their lives and lives of their friends and how collective has played an important role in it. They also played an important role in facilitating and taking leadership in many activities during the camp.

Children really enjoyed the camp, and demanded that we organized more such camps. One child said during the feedback session that he felt as if he was at home. Parents of 3 girls had come to pick them up mid camp to take them for outing, but the girls refused to go with them, saying that you all can go, but we are having fun here and learning so much, we want to stay here. One boy said to one facilitator, “you are explaining and teaching us so much, you must be tired, here, I want to gift you this pen of mine and 10 rupees!” The facilitator was really touched by this and he got tears in his eyes, he accepted the pen but returned the ten rupees saying that he could not accept such gift. All in all the camp was a big success.


From the month of August, we started working in sixteen Aaganwadis once in a week, in the fourteen villages of Samarpada and Sejpur panchayats. Currently, 68 boys and 92 girls are attending these aaganwadis. During past couple of years, we had observed that while nutrition work is being done through Aaganwadis, when it comes to pre-primary education, it is quite ignored. We would like to work in Aaganwadis, to ensure that children keep being curious, and learn about their surroundings through different senses.

We have been doing stories, songs, games and learning about vegetables, fruits, animals, birds, flowers, shapes, small things-big things, body parts, numbers upto 5, some letters, etc. through many teaching learning materials and surroundings.

Children have loved learning stories and songs, and say that we do it at home as well after this. They eagerly wait for our facilitators to go there; they ask the aaganwadi worker also.

Aaganwadi workers are also very supportive of our work and usually give different equipment to our facilitators, and tell that the activities that we facilitate with children are in their plan too, but they are unable to do it because they have much work.

Parents of these children say that children show what they learn from our facilitators at home, they tell those stories or sing and do the action songs.


The vision of Vanshala, is to create an open learning space for children where they can slowly learn to decide what they want to learn, how they want to learn, and learn by doing. Vanshala children also learn about child rights and life skills as well as do activities to learn about academics.

We also organized leadership camp with older children who are leaders in their villages. Children of all 14 villages participated in this camp, including 3 of Vanshala village. This created a great opportunity for children to interact and learn with other children and creating a common platform for friendship. Activities and games that create a positive atmosphere of friendship and cooperation were facilitated. Activities on team building, creative thinking and creating positive self-images were conducted. Children really enjoyed this leadership camp and are eagerly waiting for next round of camps. 18 girls and 16 boys of Vanshala participated in these camps. 4 Balmelas on the theme of Learning science through experiments were conducted with age appropriate experiments for both younger and older children. 66 younger and 83 older children participated in these Balmelas. Children really enjoyed doing science experiments on their own, as opposed to just seeing the demonstration like they have to in school. They were curious and asked questions around them as well.

2 Ramat-utsav- sports days were celebrated in Vanshala villages as per planning by children’s sports committee. They selected the games with help of our facilitators. Games like lemon-spoon race, sack race, slow walking, frog jump race, three legged race, etc. were played by children. They had supreme fun and participated in each game with lot of enthusiasm. 76 girls and 68 boys participated in these Ramat-Utsav.

Adolescent girls and boys groups are created in both vanshalas with the older children to spread awareness about topics that affect them and to create a safe space for them to have conversation about these topics. Topics such as gender- what is a girl, what is a boy, girls and boys box defined by patriarchy and how each of us are affected by it, coming out of these boxes is possible were spoken about. Different physical, mental and emotional changes that come during puberty, menstruation, making safe decision, 6 steps to awareness, etc. were conducted in these mandals. 45 girls and 36 boys participated in these mandals.


Reading books can open up a lot of horizons for children. This can help in creative and critical thinking. This year with older children, we especially focused on adventure stories by Jule Vern, Thor Heyerdahl, etc. Children really enjoyed these book and it created interest among them to read more. We did this library day, once a week this time.


Once in a fortnight, sports activities such as Kho-Kho, kabaddi, or team building activities as well as yoga and exercises are conducted. These experiences nurture the values of unity and cooperation along with learning sportsperson spirit.


Once in a fortnight, activities on creative thinking are conducted. Activities such as paper craft, drawing, zentangle art, and creative thinking challenges are facilitated. Children especially enjoy the activities with paper craft and making new things.

 Festivals and Days:

Festivals like Rakshabandhan and days like Independence day and teacher’s day are celebrated in Vanshala. In Rakshabandhan, children learnt to make rakhis and tied those self-made rakhis to their friends or family members. In bal samiti meeting children had asked for this activity. 77 girls and 73 boys participated in this program.

 Children’s movies which also teach leadership, creative thinking, problem solving etc. where shown to the children. Movies like Moana, home alone were shown. Chidlren really enjoyed these movies. On the occasion of teacher’s day, we also showed the movie Chalk and Duster. 56 girls and 52 boys participated in these movie screenings.

 Bal Dost Samiti Meeting:

5 Meetings with Bal Dost Samiti- (Samiti with parents, leaders of village, youth and children.) were organized in Vanshala. During these meeting, Vanshala facilitators discussed about child rights with samiti members to spread awareness about it among the adults. Samiti members also discussed the children who dropped out (were pushed out) of the school and facilitators paid them a home visit and tried to help them to get back to school. Children also presented about various forums and trainings they participated in.

 Parents Meeting:

One parents meeting was organized in Pomlapada and nani Almawadi village as the attendance of children was decreasing due to some issues with location. We

 Bal Samiti meeting:

6 Bal samiti meetings were organized to facilitate more participation from children in Vanshala. In these Bal samiti meetings, children decide about what they want to learn, or what activities to happen. There are six samitis in total- Education, Sports, Culture, protection, environment, and health. Each child is part of one samiti, and each samiti then elects two leaders- one male and one female. As per organization of samitis, this time programs like Ramat-Utsav, Rakshabandhan, and lot of academic intervention happened.


 Aashramshalas are managed by different trust under tribal welfare department of state government. There are around 40 such Aashramshala (residential schools) in Dediapada block. Our ongoing intervention is in 11 such aashramshalas with 1541 children.

Children who study in Aashramshalas are more vulnerable, most coming from economically marginalized communities as well as geographically interior villages. Many children of single parents and orphans. These children are more vulnerable to different abuses that occur here.

We are working especially with adolescent girls and boys who are navigating the confusing age of puberty, talking to them about different physical, mental, emotional changes that occur with puberty, menstruation and menstrual hygiene and personal hygiene. We are also teaching them about gender and gender equality. We are also empowering them through child rights, especially teaching them about right to protection and working on enhancing their life skills.


 We started our work with in Aashramshalas with Balmelas. It is a great way to connect with children and build rapport with them and get them curios about learning new things. We organized 7 Balmelas with 399 younger children and 11 Balmelas with 945 older children. The theme of the Balmela was creativity, team building and problem solving along with many cooperative games.

 Kishor and Kishori Mela:

 Kishor and Kishori Melas (adolescent girls and boys fair) were organized to create a safe space for these children to understand about different physical, mental, emotional changes that come during puberty, menstruation and menstrual hygiene, what is gender and gender equality, etc. These sessions were very helpful for children because they didn’t know much about what is happening with their bodies and how it is affecting them. Many of them went home and told about it to their parents and younger siblings and friends from their villages. 10 Kishor Melas and 11 Kishori Melas were organized and 477 girls and 411 boys participated in these melas.

 Child Rights Training:

 Child Rights trainings were organized in all the Aashramshalas to spread awareness about rights of children. Children learnt about who are children, what are rights, what are child rights, right to development, right to survival, right to protection and right to participation. 910 children participated in 11 child rights trainings.

 Life Skills Education:

 Life skills are very essential, they are ability to meet challenges of life effectively and live life with dignity and bring out one’s own potential. Through activities and games, we taught life skills such as creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-awareness etc. to children of Aashramshalas. Children participated in these sessions with much enthusiasm.

Child Rights Training
Child Rights Training
Residential Leadership Camp
Residential Leadership Camp
Aaranyak Team Training
Aaranyak Team Training
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Children making boats out of natural materials
Children making boats out of natural materials


These past months have been quite busy for us at Dediapada. Our work has grown and with vacation we were able to take it to the next level as well.

Vacation Camp:

Children have numerous talents and interests which can be seen when they get exposure. Nevertheless, those things always come to a halt in their normal days but when they get holidays then they have ample time to discover the treasure inside them, and to help children find out their ability and knowledge on multiple things, we planned summer camps for children of Dediapada, Narmada district, Gujarat with children from 14 villages where children were getting hands-on experiences on a lot of diverse topics such as science experiments, working models of human body parts, paper crafts, distinct kind of arts such as salt art, spray painting, blow art, photo frame, movie screening and enhancement of their community knowledge through community mapping and community treasure hunt.

Summer camp began on May 5th, 2022, and ended on June 12th, 2022. A golden opportunity for children and team members to keep up with the spirit of excitement for the camp in the scorching summer yet a cool camp with a bunch of children and activities.

One of the main objectives of this camp was to protect children from not getting involved in child labor because schools were closed and there is a high risk that children will go into child labor. To make this vacation useful for children through which they can utilize the time to gain knowledge. Our facilitators spend four hours with children every day to make summer vacation interesting and enjoyable for them and they were involved in many activities such as community mapping (children were divided into a group and were asked to map their community, through this children get to know more about their village’s geography, it has helped them to discover new places and has built new skills in them to know about directions and how to draw on paper), treasure hunt (in this children were paired in groups to find out the treasures of their community, they had set of questions with them and with the help of those questions they have to find a suitable person from their community and after finding that person they have to talk to them and ask related questions about their profession, etc.). Apart from community involvement children learned more about science at learning points where facilitators do activities with them on volcano eruptions, lava lamps, object reflection, and many more. They also learned about kitchen science, children did creativity through paperwork and they also get to know little about the universe and did hands-on practice on diverse working models such as a model of day & night, solar and lunar eclipse, and of course, dancing and singing were also incorporated in this camp where children and facilitators sang songs and dance on Abhiyan geet and their traditional dance form ‘Timli’.

This camp is a whole lot of magic package because children were getting an education on different subjects playfully simultaneously they learned about themselves even more. Now, they know about their capabilities which have been enhanced during the vacation. Those children who had come for the camp enjoyed it thoroughly. In addition to this, children who live in hostels had come to their homes for such a long time, they also used to come to the learning points and did the activities.



Summer camp ended with a showcase of children from 14 villages where parents, panchayat members, and Sarpanch of the village were invited to show them what their children have learned these days from the mouth of their kids in such a large gathering with many people from the villages.

Coming to the activities which children have done on a daily and weekly basis is enormous and few of them are narrated underneath.


One Day Trainings

We conducted 3 "Leadership cum Friendship Camps" with children from 14 villages every Sunday during the summer. The idea to bring children together from distinct villages was to interact with the children of diverse villages so that they can understand each other and make friends which adds a lot of benefits to enhance the skills of children such as communication and expressing their opinions, teamwork, taking leadership, listening to others, and many more. This has also helped children to speak in front of a large audience which has a lot to do with public speaking and expressing their thoughts to people they don't know and have just met which builds strength in them to communicate and know themselves even better.

This camp was for children who are leaders of Bal Samiti because these are those children who will then get the exposure from camps and replicate that with children of their villages, enabling them to use skills such as communication, team work and taking leadership.

Leadership Camp

A three-day Leadership Camp from 4th May 2022 to 6th May 2022 was conducted for Bal Samiti Children of Bhavnagar and Dediapada at Pandit Sukhlalji Lok Vidyalay, Maidhar, a renowned ashram of Bhavnagar, Gujarat where children learnt about 'Child Right', 'Leader' and Leadership'. 

Eight children (5 boys and 3 girls) from Dediapada went to the camp. It was the first time they were going to a different place without their parents but it didn't seem like they all were taking care of each other. The whole three days were so engaging and cheerful for them that they become so friendly with other children and that's the biggest achievement because they come from a culture where people don't say or talk more. 

Children's learnings and experience

Children who went for the training become very enthusiastic as they met with other children. This has brought huge changes in them. After the training, children started to speak in front of large people, they took leadership and responsibility in every way possible. Confidence has overcome shyness in them and now they have become role personalities for other children who wish to get the qualities and training that which other 8 children had taken.  

  • Children learned to work in a group.
  • Learn to get involved with other children.
  • Children learn to take care of themselves
  • They learn to speak in a large group
  • Learn about 'Child Rights'
  • Facilitators learned to manage children and their needs.


After the summer vacation was over and as schools reopened, we have restarted our work in aashramshalas, this year we have expanded and are working in 9 Aashramshalas, 1 K.G.B.V. (Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya for girls who had dropped out of school or have not gone to school), and one government primary school. We are working with 748 boys and 807 girls in this program.

We have conducted Balmelas in all the aashramshalas with the theme of creativity thinking, critical thinking and cooperative games. 1555 children participated in these Balmelas.

Child Friendly Villages:

After the vacation, our work in child friendly village project has taken a new shape too. One of the challenge we were facing while working in these 14 villages was engaging with the older children in many villages. Out of these 14 villages on 13 have schools, and out of 13 only 3 villages have schools up to 8th grade, rest all the village have schools up to 5th grade only. The older children go out to study to other villages or to Dediapada even. Due to this, when we go for activities in the villages, they come late and were not able to participate fully. To encounter this challenge, we have started working in the schools once a week and do the activities with the younger children, and with the older children, our team goes to their villages on Saturday, and facilitates the activities with them. This has helped us in engaging more children and they are also welcoming this change.


With the help of vacation, we were able to intensify our work in Vanshala, open learning space for children. During and after the vacation, we are doing more project based learning. They have been doing projects like learning and documenting the wild food available in their village, learning about and  documenting herbs and traditional healing practices, learning traditional songs and dances, making a boat that can float out of natural things, etc. They participate in these activities with much enthusiasm and learn a lot, which they share with their peers and parents as well.


Much work has been done on nutrition in Aanganwadis which is very essencial, however work on learning and pre-primary learning is still missing there. Seeing this gap, we have decided to work in aaganwadis as well on this aspect. We will be starting our work in 16 aanganwadis in these 14 villages from 1st August. We will be working on children learning through games and activities, songs and stories and learning through their senses and keeping alive their curiosity.

Currently, we are training our team to work with 3-6 years old children, and meeting other stakeholders. We had a meeting with P. O. of ICDS, Narmada District. She was very enthusiastic about our idea, and have pledge support from her department. She has also request our team to help train the aanganwadi workers.

Making model of human lungs during vacation camp
Making model of human lungs during vacation camp
Showcase - sharing her model to parents & children
Showcase - sharing her model to parents & children
Team building activity
Team building activity
Meeting with Bal Adhikar Samiti in village
Meeting with Bal Adhikar Samiti in village
Presenting during one day training
Presenting during one day training
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Team building activity
Team building activity

Stories of changes:

1. Sandeep (name changed) is in 7th grade who has been with us since past two years. His father is a farmer and mother is a farmer and does work in the home as well. He has a younger sister and lives with his grandparents.

Sandeep loves playing sports, learning origami and like to do science experiments. He also enjoys reading books on our library day intervention, and likes to be creative and do everything around that. He is always enthusiastic to learn something new.

Sandeep teaches his friends and neighborhood children about what he has learnt in our activities and likes helping others especially in his home. He says that he has learnt that housework is everyone’s responsibility. After watching our play on gender equality during Child rights week (14th -20th November), Sandeep said that ‘ women must be given equal rights and be given choice of what they want to do. ’

Over the time, we have observed that he has grown more confident about himself, he believe that if he tries, he will be able to do well and learn more, though sometimes when he doesn’t get something quickly, he does get frustrated. Whenever he has any questions or faces any challenges, he tells the facilitators without hesitation.

Unfortunately, Sandeep also faced bullying, so he used to not talk much or did not come to our point. Then our facilitator spoke with other children and also spoke with him on one-on-one basis, so he started coming regularly. He used to feel embarrassed because of his body weight issues, but now he feels ok with his body and has been able to accept himself.

2. Rajni (name changed) of 7th grade is a natural leader. She loves drawing, gardening, learning new things and teach younger children. She helps teaching younger kids and helping her peers. Rajni is very strong-willed person, and had mindset that she has to win. Whenever she felt that she or her team is not doing well, she would stop playing and insist that others stop playing too. However, with learning many cooperative plays and talking with the facilitators this tendency has decreased, she is able to accept that she may not win or do well all the time and that is ok. This has resulted in better relations with her peers.

3. Megha (name changed) is a 12-year-old and a science enthusiast with very inquisitive nature. She used to feel shy about asking these questions like, ‘how wind is created?’ to ‘why rain falls down instead of going up?’ and now she asks these questions to her facilitators and sometimes her school teachers. Megha wants to do many science experiments and keeps learning more. She used to be very shy and hardly spoke, but now she feels more confidents and participates enthusiastically in every activity. She likes to take leadership during games and sports and teach others. She also comes up with new games research about new games, and teach to others.

Learning about child rights
Learning about child rights
Meeting with Bal Adhikar Samiti in village
Meeting with Bal Adhikar Samiti in village
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Organization Information

Shaishav Child Rights

Location: Bhavnagar, Gujarat - India
Project Leader:
Isha Sheth
Bhavnagar , Gujarat India
$30,042 raised of $50,000 goal
185 donations
$19,958 to go
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