The Vidya Niketan School was established in 1988 by a group of like minded people in a severely deprived slum area of Bangalore. The school teaches 200 children up to the age of 14, the majority of whom are from families below the poverty line. There are 12 trained teachers with at least five years of teaching experience. The Old Students Network follows the progress of school leavers and 50 % of students continue into higher studies.
The project now also supports Five Government schools, primary and high schools in Kanakapura Taluk in Rural Karnataka.
Kitchen gardening and rainwater harvesting project in government schools in Kanakapura
Kanakapura suffers from a high rate of infant mortality caused by malnutrition and lack of hygiene leading to anemic conditions and diseases such as diarrhea. Vidya Niketan aims to implement preventative measures by raising awareness of the nutritional value of locally available plant products.
Through kitchen gardening and rain harvesting as an extra curricular activity within Government schools in rural areas, pupils will understand the need to conserve natural resources and to interact with their environment. Children will gain practical experience of growing and eating vegetables which will have a positive impact on their health and nutrition.
In each school a 30ft by 40ft plot will be earmarked for kitchen gardening and an appropriate spot identified for the construction of Rain Harvesting Structures. Groups of children from ages 11 to 17 years will take part in kitchen gardening right through from land preparation to sowing the seeds, to tending the plants and picking the produce. They can then take home the vegetables they produce to eat.
Heads of schools will ensure that all children are given the opportunity to engage in the activity in small groups. Similarly children will observe the construction of Rain Harvesting Structures. Training will be provided for teachers to participate in the project and to bring learning from kitchen gardening into the class room. The field organiser will also raise support from school committee members and parents.
Funding is required to deliver these activities including the cost for saplings, seeds, fertilizers and implements for kitchen gardening, rain water harvesting structure and a children’s club.