“What could be more satisfying than having a plate of rice and vegetables that you planted and harvested! I got my offer as an assistant manager in a regional rural bank that primarily caters to the agricultural communities of the country. Now that I have experience of working in the fields, I can understand my customers better and serve them in every possible way” Says Dhurka, Alumni of Sabarmathi.
Each day in the morning students gathers with the Sabarmathi gurukulam’s instructor on the field. There are various student groups that are in charge of rearing cattle, taking care of vegetable farming, and other related farm works.
Sabarmathi Gurukulam: An academy with a difference.
Not every coaching institute teaches you ethics and values of life. Located amidst the farm fields, part of Sabarmathi Gurukulam is supported by SMILE welfare foundation, an NGO started 16 years ago that has been rigorously supporting few of the government orphanage homes and underprivileged kids for their higher education across Tamil Nadu. While Sabarmathi works on a similar platform, the significant focus is on students who are aiming for government jobs like UPSC, TNPSC, banking and NEET.
“Learning should neither be free nor for profit”, as per this very principle of Sabarmathi, tuition fee isn’t a fixed charge. Through “Gurudhakshanai”, students can either pay or donate products like rice, according to their financial and family constraints.
A nominal sum of Rs 3600 is paid as a food and accommodation charge. Perhaps, if not able to pay, they may choose to either take tuition for village kids or practise farming for 2 hours a day.
We tried to talk with the students of Sabarmathi and learn their remarkable “on-the-field experiences” while getting trained for competitive exams.
Farm to food
3 out of 4 student volunteers opt farming to remunerate their food and accommodation charges. A group of six or seven students join together for cultivating an acre of land. Both rice and grains are cultivated on a rotational basis.
A two-day organic farming training program is scheduled for the new students enrolled in farming. The session details every stage of farming process along with field experiences. Trainers conducting these sessions are trained by agricultural scientist, green crusader Dr. G. Nammazhvar. The session prepares the students to imbibe and understand the importance of practicing sustainable agriculture for a healthy future.