Children Camp

Children Camp has always proved to be effective – the learning that happens during these camps are intangible. Despite the freezing cold of December, we had a very interesting and exciting camp at
Gudalur campus during December 28th to 31st where the camp was run by the children itself. 84 adivasi children from different villages participated in the camp. VBVT Area education co-ordinators, teachers and members facilitated the program.

The camp included various activities including

  • Drama & dance
  • Learning craft,
  • Critical Thinking sessions through Movies
  • Introduction to Adivasi Munnetra Sangam and VBVT
  • Visits to Adivasi hospital and Just Change Soap Unit.
  • Team building activities





The objective of the camp is that the participants would learn varied things during this camp and they would take back to the community/villages and teach – during this process the children would become an anchor/leader/resource person in their villages. That way we can build young leaders in the adivasi community.

The benefits of the camp was immediately realized by the participants and their feedback has given the community hope and spirit to run many similar camps.


I never thought I will be able to teach something like craft. It has given me  immense confidence” – Kethi, Young Trainer

I feel sad to leave after this camp yet I have learnt so many things from the camp. I am motivated to go back and teach in my village” – Kutti Krishnan, Participant

Despite the cold everyone took part in all the activities with great interest without complaining” – Karalan, Facilitator.


Alumni Meeting – Vidyodaya School

The idea of the meeting up or coming together as ex- Vidyodaya students, was something that took shape in a less than 2 weeks. The WhatsApp group, “Under the Mango Tree”, formed by a bunch of Ex- Vidyodaya students, played a significant role in spreading the message as well as speeding the whole process of getting people together.

After much discussion on WhatsApp, students in the group came to a consensus that there should be a meet on the 24th December, even though many would be unable to attend due to various reasons. Everyone felt it would be impossible to agree upon a date when everyone will be able to attend. More importantly, they felt that there was need to start something of this nature as soon as possible, before the idea disintegrates.


On 24th December, the ex-students of Vidyodaya gathered at the school at about 10.30 am. The majority of people gathered were observed to be those living close by and working in the hospital or in the Shola Trust. Even though many didn’t turn up, the group represented roughly 6 or 7 batches that have passed out of school.

The session commenced with a game introduced by Rahul anna. As Vidyodaya tradition called for it, everyone sang ‘Channeri’ to inaugurate the meet. The meeting dealt with questions relating the meet itself. The question of whether there is a need to come together and the purpose of the gathering were discussed extensively. People felt that there is a need to meet at least once in 6 months. People raised important points about bringing people together to share experiences, as everyone seemed to be pursuing different paths. It was felt that with the increased communication, there is a possibility of becoming a united support system for each other in the times of need. This will also help in bringing everyone forward.

Other than these questions we also shared what we were all doing. Everyone seemed to be venturing into diverse territories. It was rather interesting to learn what each of us were doing. In this light, someone also brought out that this is a platform to have real conversations about each other’s happiness and problems, and hence build strong bonds. There was a smile on everyone’s face as we evoked memories of our school days.


Another important aspect raised was the need to share and communicate with younger Vidyodaya children to inspire as well as guide them. Towards the end, the most crucial aspects on how to bring more ex-students together was discussed. A core- committee was formed to organise future meet-ups. To bring more people together, it was suggested that we make a list of the 6 or 7 batches of ex-students, so that everyone from their respective areas will take up the responsibility of communicating and bringing more people together. However, at this stage we agreed to not include younger children in these meet ups. Akshara’s and Vennila’s batch was decided to be the youngest batch to be invited.

Finally we all decided to brainstorm and gather ideas for the future functioning of these programmes. The gathering finally came to an end with delicious food.


Science and Maths exhibition in SSA School

The teachers and students of our SSA school held an exhibition of Science and Maths projects that they had developed. There were 30 science models and 10 Maths models. In addition to this there was a display of their handicraft products also.

The exhibition was inaugurated by the Head Master of the Gudalur Higher Secondary school and he was so impressed that he insisted that all the teachers of the Higher Secondary school and the children from class 6 upwards to visit the exhibition.

Children busy with their own models
Busy with our models


Do you see what we have to show you?
See how the straws have become pillars for our maths models!
ATM machine? what does that mean?
would you like to solve this puzzle??
would you like to solve this puzzle??
This is how we could learn properties of air.
A green place for everyone!

The Science and Maths models were designed depending on the levels of children and almost all the children got a chance to present and explain their models. So there were simple models from addition and subtraction to electricity and windmills. The Science models included nutrition had varieties of greens, dhals, tubers, fruits and so on. There were also models of separation of garbage, water harvesting and of land use. The Maths models included weights, angles, triangles, addition, subtraction multiplication, dimensions and so on. There was a good display of handicrafts also and some of these were also sold.

It has given the children and the teachers a very good boost to their morale and they plan to have another public programme in January. Cheers!

Craft Week at Marutham Farm School, Tiruvannamalai

Adivasi Foundation Course children and the teachers visited Marutham Farm School, Tiruvanamalai for the Craft Week. Who wouldn’t love learning new craft, songs, dance, games during exposure visits – that is what we did in Marutham School. Every day was fun learning

    • We had 25 crafts to learn – we distributed ourselves among all the craft sessions so that we can bring back all the craft to teach others too.
Clay work
Clay work
Embroidery work
Embroidery work
Leather work
Leather work
wood work at Marutham
wood work at Marutham
Bamboo work
Bamboo work
  • We did hill climbing for the first time – we also learnt how the hill and the Arunagiri Children’s park was created by the Marutham Team.
  • We also got interested when we saw water conservation system, organic agriculture methods, waste management and self-sustainable small business run by women community there.
  • There was a 2 day Mela at the end of the program were craftsmen from different places were invited to showcase their artifacts (available for sales too). Our Vidyodaya teachers also joined us – we did showcase some of our tribal products.
  • There are few things that we thought we should start doing in our place too
    • Water conservation
    • Waste segregation
    • To start the craft we learnt during our craft sessions here

Slow Learners

The other day we had a group of visitors from Maharashtra who are working with government schools trying to motivate teachers and support them in their teaching methods. One of the problems they posed to us was –

What to do you about slow learners? Do you have any specific materials for slow learners? How do you deal with the emotions of the children (and psychologically affected feelings) when children are moved to a lower level?

For a while our teachers who were present seemed perplexed and did not answer. Then they began a whispering discussion among themselves. One wondered what was going on. While they answered the question as best as they could, we had a discussion afterwards as to what was it that had them so perplexed.

The group, in turn, could not understand why we do to specific materials for slow learners. Also they could not accept the fact that our children do not feel upset or disturbed when they are moved to a lower level. We too, could not, at that point answer why.

A day later we discussed this issue as it was a festival day and very few children were in the school. We wondered whether we could not answer the question posed because we did not have a proper understanding of slow learners.

Shanthi said – we don’t have a category called slow learners. All the children are at various levels of learning and it doesn’t really matter to us at what level the child is. There are always some who are fast is some subjects and slow in others. Not everyone is fast in all subjects. Our children do to know that they are slow and their friends do not think that they are moved to a lower group because they are slow. We have moved Manikandan three times back and forth during the year according to how he has studied in the 2 -3 month period. So those who are slow need some support and they
get it anyway as we give individual attention to children.

She added, “We do not have any materials specifically for slow learners. We do have materials but for all the children and all the children use all the materials. If a child finds any one set of materials difficult, then the child does either a repeat or moves on, but comes back to the difficult material at a later stage.

Sivagami – we have seen in another school where they have a separate class room for slow learners with a separate teacher. These children will always find it difficult to integrate with the others. In our school we don’t categorise children in that way. This is why we found it difficult to answer when they asked what we do with slow learners.

She added – As long as children did not feel that one group was higher or lower level than the others, they do not see it as a promotion or demotion.

Shanthi – We do not change groups just once a year and so the movement from one group to the other is not such a big event. Practically every month different children (maybe 4 – 5)move groups.
Some children are reviewed every month, some every 3 / 6 months and so on.


Maybe it is an adivasi cultural aspect, but we take people of what they are and don’t put labels on them because once you do that then we tend to look at them differently and even to discriminate
sometimes. Acceptance of situations, things in nature etc makes one non-judgemental. Children are children, as far as we are concerned. Different children need different kind of attention and because of our group-system and also because we are a small school, we can give the attention they need.
Maybe we should observe non-tribal children when we group children the next time.

Later in the day, with these thoughts still in my mind, I also recalled that children are grouped according to academic levels only during the class time – which is perhaps for 3 hours in a day. The rest of the time they work in mixed groups (for craft, games, assembly, singing, dancing, acting, lunch time) which is for another 3 hours. So they don’t stay within the same the group the whole day /week/ year. This could also be the reason why children in our school don’t feel bad or are even aware that they are slower or faster than the others – leading to a feeling that they are higher or lower than others.

Thank You “The Funding Network”

Thank You ‘The Funding Network‘ to help us raise funds for our ‘Adivasi Foundation Course’ program. It means a lot to us.

Adivasi Foundation Course enables adivasi youth who are ignored by the normal education system to learn to imagine creatively, reason systematically and learn continuously, to confidently interact with the outside world and possibly become anchors in their community by exposing them to various skills and knowledge while staying rooted in their values.


Mundakkunnu village sets its own nutrition center to address malnutrition

In Mundakkunnu village, where Kattunaikkan tribe have been living for many years the villagers faced a problem of severe malnutrition in children below 5 years. Sending them to Balawadi could help to prevent malnutrition – however the nearest Balawadi was 3 km away from the village which makes it difficult for the parents to drop their children there.

To address this issue, Vidyodaya village team and parents decided to build a nutrition centre in their village itself. They brought village youths and built the centre with traditional locally available materials.

nutrition-center-mundakkunnu-2 nutrition-center-mundakkunnu-1






With this initiative, there is awareness about the malnutrition in village and more children are sent to the nutrition centre. Now we have 15 children in the centre.


Foundation Course – Exposure Visit to Mysore

The foundation course students and teachers went on a 3-day exposure visit to Mysore on 20th August to 22nd August 2016.

The main intent of the trip was for the children to get exposed to different places and people – observe, understand and learn from it.There were 10 tribal students and 4 tribal teachers along with non-tribal staffs(1 student couldn’t make as she was sick).

Such long journeys are new to some of us.
Such long journeys are new to some of us.
Intro session – A warm welcome by RLHP children.
Understanding Organic vermi composting
Learning new ways to do organic vermi composting
wondering how things work!
Wow! Mobile Bathroom – utilizing water resources
Explaining Soap Making to RLHP friends
Showing them the whole process of soap making
RLHP friends giving a try with soap making.
To make friends, language is not always a barrier
Some friendly talks!
Eagerness to teach and learn!
Trying our hands with Frisbee in a bigger ground.
With a good effort we were able to play.
couldn’t stop wondering and inquiring.
A tiring day with a smiling face!
So much to learn…

We stayed at RLHP Mysore(Ashakirana) which gave a lot of understanding to the children.It was more like an Exchange program between the children of the 2 organizations. The girls staying in RLHP Ashabhavana also came to Ashakirana, to join the activities with VBVT kids and stayed with them for a day.

The 3 days trip was really a good experience for the children as for few of them this is the first time they are travelling outside Gudalur. The various activities during the trip are listed below:


Date Place Activities
20-AUG-2016 RLHP Ashakirana
  • A warm welcome by RLHP children.
  • Exchange between students and teachers about themselves and the organizations
  •  Student committees in RLHP on education, finance, health, etc.
Agriculture farm visit

  •  Vermi composting, organic fertilizer, organic pest control, inter cropping, cows, gobar gas, mobile bathrooms, Gangamma’s mandala, growing greens/vegetables/fruits.
  •  Possibilities of learning from Agri college
  •  Maximum utilization of available water resource
Cultural performances

  • Tribal songs and dance performance by VBVT children
  • Karnataka folk songs and dance performance by the RLHP children.
21-AUG-2016 RLHP Ashakirana Soap Making

  • VBVT children taught the RLHP children on how to make hand-made soaps
University ground
  • Watch Frisbee Tournament (VBVT kids love playing Frisbee)
RLHPAshakirana Craft sessions

  •   RLHP children taught VBVT children craft projects
22-AUG-2016 Zoo
Mysore Palace


The reflection session after the visit gave good insights with brainstorming, discussions, questions etc.

Some of the key points mentioned bythe VBVT Children and the Teachers are listed below:

From students:

  • “RLHP children do many of the agricultural activities themselves.”
  • “Loved their (Karnataka) folk dances! We would like to learn them too. We also want to sing and use musical instruments while dancing instead of recorded music”
  • “Learnt that crafts can be done using any available materials.”
  • “I was thrilled that I could teach soap making to them”
  • “RLHP children take responsibility in many activities”
  • “I didn’t understand their language, but we somehow managed to talk to them. I was able to understand what they are going through and so avoided sensitive questions”
  • “We tried our hands with Frisbee in bigger grounds”
  • “We would like to play matches like the big teams does.”

From Teachers:

  • “I want to get trained in Frisbee further and become an expert”.
  • “RLHP children also earn for their livelihood from their free-time activities”
  • “All RLHP children are under one umbrella without differences in caste, religion, etc”.
  • “I wasn’t interested with history at all. But this stories on palace really makes me interested to history”
  • Many of them wondered at the things in the palace.
  • Further questions on palace were answered.
  • All of them were keen to learn more about animals.

There were some key ‘Why?’ questions from children:

  • ‘Why do they encroach animals to earn money?’
  • ‘Why do they collect fees for each and everything – palace entrance, chappal care etc?’

‘Why?’ questions from the teachers:

  • ‘Why can’t I use my free time like RLHP children? They use their free time to do agriculture, craft, etc They also earn from agriculture activities’
  • ‘Why don’t we have a similar home for our tribal orphan children?’

We had discussions on these inquiries. We will try to build on these reflections as much as possible during the course.

Thanks to RLHP for providing us food and accommodation, and making all the arrangements in such a short notice. The children enjoyed their time there and also learnt a lot of new things from RLHP children.

Thanks also to Green Hotel Mysore for providing us lunch on the day of the Frisbee tournament.


Camps for Children – 2016

Camps had always played an important role to build relationships among the children. 92 children attended the camps this year – with lot of learning, brainstorming, fun, observations, discussions and reflections.

Children Participation Info:
Kattunayakan Betta kurumbha Paniya Boys Girls Total
Camp 1
Devala        May 3 – 6
1 1 24 4 22 26
Camp 2
Ayyankolly May 10 – 13
 –  – 26 5 21 26
Camp 3
Ponnani    May 20 – 23
2 2 36 20 20 40
Total 3 3 86 29 63 92

Activities in the Camps:

Village Visit:

Talking to the village Thalaivar
Observations about the village
Observations about the village
Discussing and Reflecting about the village
Discussing and Reflecting about the village

Cultural Songs and Dance:

Cultural dance at the village

Anti-Alcoholism sessions:

Anti-alcoholism discussion
Anti-alcoholism discussion

Art & Craft:

T-shirt painting : Reflecting their adivasi values through art
T-shirt painting : Reflecting their adivasi values through art

Sports: Frisbee Training

A sport that is enjoyed by both boys and the girls
A sport that is enjoyed by both boys and the girls

Camp 1 (Devala):

Camp 1

Camp 2 (Ayyankolly):

Camp 2
Camp 2

Camp 3 (Ponnani):

Camp 3
Camp 3

Feedback from the Children:

  • We wish the camps run for 2 weeks.
  • We got some ideas to tackle the problem of alcoholism
  • I have got one more family and will keep in touch.
  • We learnt about different adivasi culture.
  • We would like to have regular monthly camps with the teachers.

VBVT would like to thank the donors who supported the camps.

Name Amount (in Rs.)
Cavery Bopaiah 5000
Yesudoss 3000
Chanakya Kocherla 20000
Pamela Lima 20000
Mallika Ragavan 5000
Beatrice Marcel 14273
 Total 67273

Mundakunnu Village Visit

We went to Mundakunnu village. This is part of the curriculum in our school. This village is deep inside the forest. The children learnt about that village , what do they do everyday and how do they do agriculture etc.,. The children were amazed to know how long people of this village had to walk to reach their school or hospital. This trip is important to children in education ass they get to know the real life people live in villages.


IMG_20160123_111536                                 walking to the village


IMG_20160123_114202                                 Village thalaivar talking to the children

IMG_20160123_121434                                 Children with village thalaivar.

*post by Bindhu, Teacher