Rain ceremony in front of administration and toilet buildings (seeglobe right side)
Since July one time monthly a rain ceremony is arranged on the Shanti Ananda Nature Concept School premises for motivating the higher power to send rain to our area – the monsoon in this season did not bring too much precipitation… On the last school area meeting I told the following story - written by me at the age of seven - to coordinator Chandra Mohan and headmaster Raja Sekhar. May be at that young age I felt already that fate would send me into this drought area later…
A puddle tells its story
Once upon a time there was a small puddle.
As there was no rain it became smaller and smaller.
The tiny puddle was afraid to dry off and started crying desperately.
It cried and cried; and because of many tears it became bigger and bigger.
At the end it was a small pond; many frogs came and sang in a chorus.
Exactly on that day (August 31st) a big cloud formation arrived in the evening bringing heavy rain of several hours. Some days in sequence even heavy rain fall was observed… Now we should be able to cover our water needs on the area at least for the next three months. Nevertheless in the worst case it might become necessary to buy water in future (for watering plants, toilet and shower needs and drinking water- which has to be filtered additionally).
The Nature Day in August concentrated onto the topic “Clean” including practical actions like cleaning toilet basins, collecting and sorting waste material); but of course small dramas and a picture exhibition were presented as well.
Boys cleaning the toilet basins
Girls cleaning the toilet basins
The topic “Cleanliness” is most important for us – not only because it is a major issue everywhere in the country. Many places look like garbage dumps: even the biggest ashram in India (Prashanti Nilayam in Puttaparthy) threw huge amounts of poly styrene (main material for festival gates) to the roadside outside of the town. Public toilets are difficult to be found and will be cleaned with a lot of negligence. This activity - according to the average consciousness of the people - can be done by low caste members only; it is not “suitable” for other cast members to do this. They prefer to have dirty public toilets…For western persons it is it is very difficult to have inner peace with this mind set and its consequences. But we try to implement a new hygiene consciousness in our Nature Concept School – and it seems to work. Cleaning became a normal part of the daily life.
Teacher M. Saraswathi with students in front Nature Day Letters of grass
Independence Day Celebration on the school area
On August 15th Independence Day was celebrated. The August 2013 was a very critical month as there was strike in our region Rayalasseema; the strike is still going on… The reason for striking was the decision of the central government in Delhi to separate the State Andhra Pradesh. Two new states generated: Telangana and Seem Andhra (consisting of Rayalasseema and Andhra). Many inhabitants in Rayalasseema don’t agree with the decision of the central government (while the inhabitants of Telangana are very happy with it) and started to strike on August 1st. Roads were blocked, shops and banks had to close; many demonstrations and rallies were arranged. Unluckily he strike was performed on the back of students; the strike committees (Samaikyandhra)- led or largely influenced by government teachers - put massive pressure onto schools to close, ignoring the important law of 2010(right for education).
The Shanti Ananda School till now (15.9.) is the only school in Mudigubba (a Centre of the strike movement) conducting normal classes (!). Headmaster Raja Sekhar and coordinator Chandra Mohan negotiated with the Teachers’ Organization JAC which is very close to Samaikyandhra; “generously” they gave the permission to our school to go on with the normal school life (this was a special permission not granted to Government and normal Private Schools). On September 12th the electricity laborers started to strike what might lead to more power cuts. It is very bewildering what is possible in this country…
Project Manager/Architect Horst Wagner gives prices to the students
In spite of these circumstances we had a beautiful Independence Day celebration; speeches were held, the Indian flag was hoisted, and prices were given to many students. A Games’ and Sports’ Day had been arranged on the area ten days before:
Students celebrating the Games and Sports Day – expressing their joy of living
Tag-of-war of the Kinder Garden students
Our students love and appreciate the new area very much: often the children don’t want to go to their houses in the evening because they feel comfortable here. Indeed the area with a size of more than 9 Acres is a huge adventure playground giving many optionsfor lots of activities. Peace and harmony are present whereas the sound level is often unbearable in the town of Mudigubba. The students have active responsibility for plants and cleanliness supporting
their self-consciousness. Our pedagogy focuses onto practical doing and experiences not usual at most of the other school. We encourage the children to take active possession of their environment.
Class in the beloved Green Classroom
From now on the seventh class has co responsibility for our school library of more than 1100 books. We have a part time librarian; but the temporary class room is the library room - creating this structure in a meaningful sense.
View to the library books in new shelves
The library books have been released from jail (in the old school all the books were stored in steel cupboards, crowded and hardly available), everybody is happy about this change… Since 2008 each class already has a weekly library period, but a free book access was not possible because of these circumstances. Now the 7th class students use every free minute for checking and reading the books what we like very much. The students additionally are very proud to enjoy the trust to share responsibility for the books.
Raksha Bandan formation of the students
On August23rd the Raksha Bandan Festival is celebrated everywhere in India – the festival of friendship ribbons. Children prepare ribbons of different shapes and colors and tie each each other around the arm. We had a very creative high light: a living Raksha Bandan –„ribbon“ created by children in formation.
Raksha Bandan Ritual
Traditionally the Raksha Bandan Festival means an agreement between siblings – the sister prepares a ribbon for the brother and ties it around his wrist; they promise to care for each other in future morally and spiritually.
Vinayaka Nimajjanam (after the Pooja the Vinayaka statue is dropped into water)
One more important festival - celebrated in India every year- is „Ganesha“ or „Vinayaka Nimajjanam “. Ganesha – second son of Shiva and Parvathi – is the so called elephant god symbolizing a good start and good prospects. Many Ganesha statues are prepared for this popular festival adored by a big number of people. Prasadam (sacred sweets) will be distributed on this occasion as well.
Ganesha is a festival of creativity and as well of pollution; after the big and soundful processions when the statues are presented to the crowd they will be dropped into the water. In this way the statues – mostly made of toxic materials and painted with unhealthy colors – give a huge contribution to pollute the rare and precious water...
Headmaster Raja Sekhar took the wise decision that our students will prepare only eco sustainable Vinayakas/Ganeshas in future; the statues were prepared of natural clay and decorated with organic materials only. This step is very important and auspicious for the future; our school showed on September 11th that an eco friendly Ganesha festival is absolutely possible and of course most meaningful... Mallikarjuna, specialist for preparing Vinayaka statues of soil, did free service because he likes our school. The statue became most beautiful.
Vinayaka Statue of Clay
Thank you and with cordial greetings,
Yours, Helga Shanti Fründt
Foreigners should give their donation to this FCRA account
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Andhra Bank, Mudigubba Branch
Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Account No: 185410100007532
Indian persons should give their donation to the
Shanti Ananda Education Society
Geetha Nagar, Mudigubba 515511
Andhra Pragathi Grameena Bank
Account No. 19073080607
Children plant a cotton bush