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Global NHE News


Nairobi Sector


Schools in Nairobi - by Didi Sarvajina

I took my new role as DSL (District Secretary) of Nairobi starting the second half of 2008. It was also a time of bereavement for us all in East Africa as in early July we lost two of our most active Dadas who were principals of our most popular primary and secondary schools in Nairobi.


A class at the Kangemi School
A class at the Kangemi School

My new role landed me with five schools which are situated in the slum areas of Nairobi. Out of the five schools, two are well established. The one in Huruma has over 500 pupils and 15 teachers, while the one in Kangemi has almost 100 pupils and 6 teachers, both providing nursery to primary education. However, they lack the NHE values. The enrollment of two of the other schools dropped drastically after the January unrest, to less than 20 children per school. To revive enrolment, we started a hot meal programme in those schools. However, we may lose our Kwangare school which has about 60 pupils.


Recent seminar for the teachers in Nairobi.
Recent seminar for the teachers in
Nairobi. It was a combined seminar
for both the teachers under the
Dada's dept and Didi's dept. We
had more than 50 teachers.

I am excited to see how we can introduce our NHE philosophy and values to all five of these schools, it will be a challenge. Last weekend, Saturday 11th October, for the first since I’ve been in Kenya, we had a combined seminar on Ananda Marga philosophy for all the teachers in Nairobi and Nakuru. It was a very successful program and it inspired our teachers.

I would like to organize future training for our teachers and welcome overseas NHE educators who would like to do the training. We need mostly early childhood and primary school teachers training. Please contact me if anyone is interested.
Email: didisarvajina@anandamarga.net


Georgetown Sector


Caracas, Venezuela

After a difficult five-year struggle, the Ananda Marga Kindergarten in Caracas ("Centro de Educación Inicial Neohumanista Universo Infantil"), started and directed by Didi Ananda Amegha, has finally been approved by the Venezuelan Ministry of Education. This permission changes its status from an unofficial preschool to a registered kindergarten, and the number of children aged 1 to 6 that are allowed in the building has been increased to 65. At a time when many private schools are closing due to lack of official recognition and funding, this is a very significant victory. The parents and teachers are now very inspired and are helping to re-paint the school and do publicity and distribute leaflets to increase enrollments for the next school year which begins in August.


Porto Alegre, Brazil

In Porto Alegre, south Brazil, Didi Ananda Shushiila gave lectures in the Application College under the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. In June, she was invited to give two lectures to the students and teachers. 35 students from 7th grades attended the lecture “Culture, tradition & universalism”. Twenty teachers enrolled for in introductory yoga and meditation class.


Kahira Sector


Centru Tbexbix, Malta

Centru Tbexbix

As school started on the 22 Sept, so did the programmes at Centru Tbexbix. With a new full schedule of Sunrise English Club sessions, Creative Classes and Play (games, drama, sports) as well as athletics for the five different age groups we are very happy to welcome our new volunteers who joined our team recently. At present 45 children have registered, and some more are surely to join over the next few weeks as they settle back into school life after the summer holidays.

Yoga has become a regular part of the Sunrise English Club as the first 30 minutes of the sessions are dedicated to relax their minds and direct their energies in a constructive way.

In the weeks between the Summer Club and the new school year, the volunteers at Centru Tbexbix prepared the place and themselves for the upcoming programmes. Six training sessions were held, focussing on various aspects of NHE, like Values & Morality, the importance of creativity in education, communication and discipline vs. punishment. One session was dedicated to the Phonics system which is being introduced in the English language tuition in primary schools, and is proven to be very beneficial to children with special learning requirements.


Berlin Sector


Romania Schools

Our two Bucharest kindergartens, schools are at a very historic turning point as we are undergoing the process of authorization by the Ministry of Education. Up until this point, the schools functioned only as daycare centers. Technically, daycare centers do not have permission to do any didactic activities with children. As the traditional Romanian state school system was extremely rigid, unpsychological, and based principally on memorization and rote learning in the 1990s when Communism fell, it would have greatly limited our ability to express NHE if the school had to fulfill the Ministry of Education's requirements at that time. However, in recent years, as educators in Romania have been exposed to progressive European standards and curriculums – the school system has gradually changed. In fact, in this year, the state schools have just received new curriculums that emphasize holistic education and give much scope for creative teaching and planning, which is quite in harmony with NHE.

 

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Due to the fact that we were not authorized as an official kindergarten, our ability to promote NHE to the wider educational community was very limited. Though we had an excellent local reputation in the neighborhoods where we have been functioning for the past 16 years, we were not able to effectively expand recognition for the values of NHE or the inclusive education of children with special needs that the school seeks to model. Our kindergarten has remained only one of three kindergartens in Bucharest that consciously seek to integrate special needs children within a mainstream curriculum.

The process of authorization is very rigorous and thorough, and it took us a year to gather all of the necessary paperwork, including operational plans, strategies, procedures, manuals, and more, resulting in a very thick file. Though tedious, this process has definitely helped us to become much clearer, systematic and well documented and it represents a great leap in quality. It is already helping us to communicate more professionally about our school's philosophy, methods and results to other educators. It was exciting to start to dialog regularly with the Ministry of Education. In one meeting, I brought along the staff manual I had written, explaining how to apply NHE to different curriculum areas. The Ministry expert counseling us became quite visibly interested in the manual and told us that we should have other schools come and make a roundtable discussion based on the manual and their observations of our school. Our dream is to see NHE expand, beyond the confines of our small school – and touch minds and light inspirations that could help transform mainstream education in all of Romania. When the Ministry sent an evaluation team of three inspectors, the process lasted 12 hours – from 9.30 in the morning until 9.30 in the evening. They did an exhaustive verification of all of our files, procedures, systems etc. In the end they gave us a list of items to rectify – assuring us that though there were hundreds of points on their charts, their list contained only 11 points – so we had done quite well. When one of the inspectors was leafing through a photo album I had prepared – her face lit up and she began showing the other inspectors “Look at this - they will have no problem in applying the new curriculum – they are already doing it here!”

However, we have also been encountering many serious obstacles, and still the process is not quite complete. The Health Inspectors became much more stringent – and we had to make many major investments in our kitchens and bathrooms to meet the new standards. Unfortunately, just when we were about to receive authorization – a new law was passed that requires a full-fledged medical cabinet (ie tiling, a sink, an incineration contract and doctor on staff!!!) in any center that supervises young children, regardless of size. Though we plan to petition the authorities to reconsider this rather impractical law, in the meantime, we cannot afford to delay as it could jeopardize the time, money and hope invested in the MEC authorization, so we are doing our best to satisfy these requirements, as absurd as they may be. We are hoping for donations to cover up the many unbudgeted expenses that have overwhelmed our resources, but a Cosmic force has been guiding the whole process so far, so we are confident that we cannot have come this far without a positive outcome soon in sight..


Delhi Sector


Kolkata, India

School of Prabhata Samgiita Competition

Prabhata Samgiita Competition 01


Shrii P. R. Sarkar the founder of Gurukula has composed over 5000 songs collectively called Pragahta Samgiita. These songs have become a new school of Music in India. In Kolkata a yearly event of competition in vocal, dance and art on Prabhata Samgiita are held at the Ananda Marga Tiljala campus.

Music competitions are very popular and in the course of the past years the School of Prabhata Samgiita has acquired a high status. This year even Calcutta University has included Prabhat Samgiita into their competition for their college students, besides other Music Schools such as Rabindranath Tagor Samgiita.

In over 50 Ananda Marga Schools and Centres preliminary contests were held and the finalists got the chance to travel to Kolkata. This year they gathered on the exact anniversary of the first song, Prabhata Samgiita Day, which is September 14 for the finalists’ competitions. Besides the vocal, dance and art in four age groups there were also contests in choir and group dances as well.


Prabhata Samgiita Competition 02

This year there were 661 candidates as competitors. Dance competition was held in Dhyan Mandir and six other rooms in the main building. The art competition was also held at the main campus. Song competition was held at the nearby WWD School and Dhyan Mandir.

It was a hectic day with some 200 staff of volunteers working and accommodating all the 1850 participating children including their guardians at the premises. The Tiljala campus was humming with intense activity.

The finalists and all participants had a wonderful time of music, dance and art.
You can read more on Prabhata Samgiita and listen to the songs on www.prabhatasamgiita.net


The lyrics of song number 13:

I have only laughed, I have only danced,
I have only sung,
I have fallen in love with the moonlight
Whatever I have seen, heard or attained
I have embedded them all
In the jewel-case of my mind.
If they are lost in a cruel tempest
I have left a message with Him,
In whom everything is lost.
Where there is no light, there is no life
Today I have attained the Lord of Light.