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
State Police Chief Arrives for Closing Ceremony
State Police Chief Addresses Student Police Cadets
The BEST Audience for PAE101!! Grand Success!
Receiving Elephant Ambassador Certificate Award
Participants Received "Elephant Ambassador" Award
VFAES Youth Ambassador Traveled from New Delhi