Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India

by Voice for Asian Elephants Society
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India
Trumpets of Gratitude for your support!
Trumpets of Gratitude for your support!

We are absolutely delighted to inform you that Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth of India was successfully delivered during the week of April 19, 2019 and has received raving reviews... So much so that the Student Police Cadet chief has asked VFAES to expand this program in three additional districts. 

But this will of course, require a tremendous about of planning for human and financial resources. We are hoping that we can conduct this program at least every two years, depending on several factors... We will of course, keep you posted. If you're interested to receive newsletters from me once a month, kindly subscribe to the link below

Meantime, all of us at the Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VFAES) are immensely grateful to you for your unending support!  Infinite love and gratitude for your unending support.

Good Bye until next time. We are now closing Project Asian Elephants 101.

Once again, thank YOU SO MUCH from the depth of my soul for your generosity, kindness and caring for our future generations, and of course our precious gentle giants!

Sincerely,

Sangita

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Student Police Cadet @ State Police Chief's Office
Student Police Cadet @ State Police Chief's Office

VFAES's Project Asian Elephants 101 (PAE101) was a resounding success, actually surpassed all expectations, including my own. 

To begin, we conducted an orientation on the 12th before the 7-day program was launched on the 13th. Brilliant Student Police Cadets (SPC) were handpicked by the SPC head. 

The 7-day daily routine:

Day 1, 2, 3 - Inclass sessions:

Arrive at 8:45 AM sharp; morning educational film session upto 10:30, followed by a 15 minute break when tea and snacks were served; the inclass session reconvened until 1:30 PM, when participants individually documented what they witnessed, and how they felt and what they learned. This was followed by a half-hour lunch break when 100% vegan meals were served; class reconvened at 2:00 PM, when groups were created to engage in round-table discussions to exchange all that the individuals learned. This was followed by another break when tea and home-made local snack was served. the final part of each day would involve a presentation by each group member summarizing what their group learned. Through out the day the participants were provided, water, snacks, and chocolates all they wanted.

Day 4 & 5 - Experiential Learning

Entailed a two day trip in a bus to Kerala's best kept (albeit not the most ideal) Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Center where 13 rescued elephants were being rehabilitated. Most of the students had never seen elephants playing in open enclosures. They also witnessed some elephants suffering and were deeply concerned. Participants had a chance to query the respective mahouts. Vegan snacks, drinks, and lunches were served at around 10:30 AM; 1:30 PM; and 3:30 PM respectively. 

Day 6 & 7 - Inclass sessions
Participants were asked to summarize their experiential learning individually; followed by group discussions; followed by group presentations.

Due to the national elections we received confirmation from the State Police Chief only at 10:00 AM on the 19th that he would arrive to hand out the "Elephant Ambassador" certificate of recognition (Please look at the pictures below). It was a pleasant surprise to see the police chief and his lovely wife, accompanied by the SPC head ... the closing ceremony was simply, but grand nevertheless. 

The entire project surpassed everyone's expectations, including mine. In fact the SPC head has asked us to conduct such a program in 3 districts next year. Lots of work, but deeply fulfilling nonetheless... 

NONE OF THIS WOULD HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT YOUR SUPPORT!! Please understand that I'm so deeply touched by your immense generosity. I'm humbled and honored that you believed in our vision, and helped us carry out our mission to engage the Student Police Cadet (SPC) - THEY ARE THE CREAM OF THE CROP. There are 100,000 of them and can you imagine creating an army of these brilliant youth to protect our elephants??? I certainly envision such a day!!  And I will turn to you for your support!!

It was very hard to say "good-byes" ... Our research Assistant, Krishna Radhakrishna, has created a WhatsApp group and I've been in touch with all of the students. They send me sweet messages every single morning, and the bonds we've developed will help overcome all obstacles in the long term. There wasn't a dry eye as we parted ways ... and when I arrived at the airport on the 20th I realized that my WhatsApp was flooded by awesome images and teary eyes.

Wow!! WOW!! What a fantastic Pilot launch it was!! Again, I'm in awe as to how this all came together. You may find it hard to believe that up until the 11th of April, everything was so volatile that I didn't even know if the program would take place. I will save all the challenges for another time ... but for now --- A BIG CELEBRATION!!  AND TRUMPETS OF GRATITUDE FOR YOUR UNENDING SUPPORT!!

Please be sure to check out some of the videos and images below. I promise you, your heart will swell with tears and lots of pride to be involved in such a fantastic project. YOU MADE IT ALL HAPPEN!! I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH TIMES!! TRUMPETS OF GRATITUDE!!

If you get a chance please visit our next project The Gentle Giant Summit (Link provided below) --- we plan to deliver this program on November 2nd & 3rd 2019. Check it out ... 

Bye now ... until next time XXXX

World Cafe' Style Team Work - Inclass Session
World Cafe' Style Team Work - Inclass Session
State Police Chief Arrives for Closing Ceremony
State Police Chief Arrives for Closing Ceremony
State Police Chief Addresses Student Police Cadets
State Police Chief Addresses Student Police Cadets
The BEST Audience for PAE101!! Grand Success!
The BEST Audience for PAE101!! Grand Success!
Receiving Elephant Ambassador Certificate Award
Receiving Elephant Ambassador Certificate Award
Participants Received "Elephant Ambassador" Award
Participants Received "Elephant Ambassador" Award
VFAES Youth Ambassador Traveled from New Delhi
VFAES Youth Ambassador Traveled from New Delhi

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Interacting with the Kerala Police Cadet
Interacting with the Kerala Police Cadet

I'm delighted to inform you that the State Police Chief is involving youth who have enrolled in the Student Police Cadet (SPC). Project Asian Elephants 101 is slated to be inaugurated on March 31st 2019 at the SPC HQ where 600 cadets will be participating!! We couldn't have asked for a better audience. 

THIS IS THE FIRST EVER INITIATIVE INVOLVING AN AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON ELEPHANTS FOR THE SPC!!

To provide some perspective, the SPC is a school-based initiative founded by the Kerala Police aimed at empowering high school students to respect the laws of the land, practice discipline and civic sense, while also developing empathy for the "vulnerable sections of society" including nature and wildlife. SPC also strengthens family bonds (just like the elephants), community and the environment movements, channeling the youth's energy in a positive direction, and veer off social evils such as substance abuse, deviant behavior, and intolerance.

As of 2018 the SPC Project covered 645 schools and more than 96,000 students are enrolled, with 1300 teachers trained as school-level community police officers. I've had the privilege to meet some of these SPCs in the past (attached are a couple of photos). I felt I needed to explain these details to you, so you understand how significant is the audience, and that it has taken 2.5 years to build a trusting relationship with the Kerala Police (since June 2016). 

Meanwhile Project Asian Elephants 101 will be delivered between March 31st and April 6th, and I will of course bring you photos and videos. With regards to the nature retreat experience, I plan to take them to the Kottoor Elephant Rehab Center (KERC), where we will also create student leaders to monitor the way elephants are being treated. One student who had watched my film in New Delhi is planning to travel all the way to Kerala to attend the youth empowerment program. We have also found a young researcher who will be monitoring and documenting the reactions of the students (in addtion to videos).

Soon after the youth empowerment program I will announce VFAES's Youth Ambassador in India. I very much look forward to sharing so much more with you by the end of April, if not before then. Stay tuned.

Thank you so very much for your unending support! I'm immensely grateful to you! This is just the pilot project, and based on the lessons learned, we hope to roll out this program every single year, constantly introducing new incentives!

Infinite Gratitude!

Sincerely,

Sangita

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Infinite Gratitude!!
Infinite Gratitude!!

THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE that Project Asian Elephants 101 for 101 Youth in India is now fully funded!!  We have met our fundraising goal of $15,000!!! 

YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN!!  TRUNKS UP TO YOU FROM THE ELEPHANTS!! ON BEHALF OF THE VFAES TEAM, THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR YOUR IMMENSE GENEROSITY!! 

We've already initiated discussions with key people who are helping us find two research students. We are also in the process of identifying an ecologically friendly camp site near Trivandrum to conduct our program during the first week of April. We will evaluate the success of our program on two fronts:

  1. First, pre and post program, summative and formative assessments will help determine the impact of Project Asian Elephants 101 in the hearts and minds of the youth. VFAES will embed at least two researchers to observe, interview, document, analyze and synthesize the responses, emotions, behaviors, and levels of engagement of participants, before, during and after the program delivery. Researchers will corroborate their observations with survey responses, whilst also referring to reflections documented by the youth during the program. Formative and summative evaluations will be conducted using surveys and questionnaires.
  2. Secondly, using a similar methodology we will measure the before and after attitudes and behaviors of communities where Project Asian Elephants 101 graduates have been educating the local people and sharing their knowledge. Using questionnaires and surveys, the youth will be trained to document the responses and behaviors before and after the community members were exposed to knowledge and information.

Meantime, we've launched a project called the Gentle Giant Summit, to empower policy and decision makers of Kerala. You can get more details here: https://bit.ly/2qsa60m

Thank you again, and we will be in touch with you with more updates around March/ April 2019. 

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season! HAVE A MERRY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND DON'T FORGET  THAT THE GREATEST GIFT IS THE GIFT OF YOUR TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Cherish and Devour every moment of the Holiday Spirit!!

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Screening Gods in Shackles - Kerala Police Academy
Screening Gods in Shackles - Kerala Police Academy

I am delighted to provide you some concrete updates on the launch of our Project Asian Elephants 101, including the estimated timeline for completion.

  • I am traveling to India on November 26th and will remain there until the end of March or mid-April 2019, so we can implement at least three projects within that timeframe. Given that airfare and accommodation are expensive, we are trying to use every penny from our donors most frugally. In this regard, I will be staying in an apartment complex, paying less than $600 per month.
  • We are partnering with a highly recognized educational institution in Kerala that is considering the participation of two student researchers in our week-long youth empowerment program to foster elephant conservation. Once we sign an agreement I will be at liberty to share the name.
  • Kerala State Police Chief (SPC) has agreed to send 100 police cadets to be part of Project Asian Elephants 101. This is a major step in the right direction, as these young police cadets will be eventually responsible for enforcing the existing laws of the land. How cool is that!!
  • The plan is to launch the program between the 15th and the 28th of February 2019 when two local university students will conduct formative and summative analysis, synthesize the findings and then produce a report that will be shared with other organizations so they can implement our program as well. 

The two images attached were taken in March 2017 when Gods in Shackles documentary was screened at the Kerala Police Academy (KPA). Discussions to launch Project Asian Elephants 101 had begun that far back. And exactly a year later we are ready to execute!! We have come full circle :)

The speed at which VFAES has been able to navigate through the bureaucratic processes has been quite astounding. We believe in cultivating strong relationships and gaining trust, so people realize that we have no vested interests - we only have the welfare of elephants in our hearts and souls. But YOU MADE IT HAPPEN!!!  Without funds we couldn't have imagined bringing this very powerful project to fruition. You are now part of an incredible movement!! THANK YOU SO MUCH for believing in us!!!

On a different note, we've also launched our second project called The Gentle Giant Summit today. You can click here to read more. I will be in touch with you shortly with more details on this too.

From the depth of my soul, Infinite Gratitude for your support.  It means the world to us and the elephants, for you are helping us change the attitudes and mindsets of young people (under 25 years of age), who make up more than 50% of India's population. With The Gentle Giant Summit we will begin to influence decision and policy makers, which is badly needed at a time when wildlife is under seige!! 

Thank you again!!

Sincerely,

Sangita

Humbled to receive an award from Director of KPA
Humbled to receive an award from Director of KPA
Trumpets of Gratitude!!!!
Trumpets of Gratitude!!!!
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Organization Information

Voice for Asian Elephants Society

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @vfaes_org
Project Leader:
Sangita Iyer
San Diego, CA United States

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Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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