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Doing Farming While Earning Career : Life Of Students Of Sabarmathi Gurukulam

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“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.

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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.

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 Drenching in the mud!

“Adding to the field activities, each student has to plant and take care of minimum 2 trees alongside the premises of Sabarmathi. As a result, we have as many as 200 trees surrounding the hostel and academy huts ” Says Karthi, Group 2A officer from Sabarmathi.

 Subsequent phases of work also involve weed removal and regular water level monitoring. Not to mention students invariably use manual weeding methods. A group of them join together in a row and walk across the field to identify and extract weeds with their hands.

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Gayathri, one of the staff added “Whenever we need additional workers for farming, Even students who pay for their stay, volunteer at fields. No matter what, we staff and students together manage the excess work. The students don’t prefer to employ workers. They take huge pride in taking care of their fields by themselves!”

Vegetable beds 

9 vegetable beds are made, each allocated to a student. They shall choose the vegetable varieties they wish in accordance with the kind of seeds sown in other beds and the season of sowing. Veggies require periodic supervision of watering once in two days, manure spreading and monitoring it to be plucked off at the right tenderness.
Veggies harvested are used for domestic cooking and excess are passed on to markets for sale.

Nearly 5 to 6 native varieties of rice (Athur kichali samba, Salem sanna, Poongar, Arubadham kuruvai) have been cultivated at Sabarmathi. Grains like Groundnut, Sesame are seasonal alternatives to rice.

Animal Husbandry 

From taking care of cattle to cleaning their shed, every stage of work is done by the students on a rotational basis. During break hours, they would take care of their grazing and feeding.

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“We have a separate tank for liquid excrete cemented as an extension of the cowshed. As a part of the daily cleaning process, we fill the solid waste in a land space near the shed” – details Ajith, alumni,  posted as a Revenue Inspector in Coimbatore district.

Wood Pressed Oil

A couple of students in routine shifts take charge of “Chekku” (wooden Cold Press Marachekku Oil Machine). Groundnuts and sesame oil are commonly available at stock. Part of the quantity is consumed for domestic usage at the kitchen. They also serve their customers from metros like Chennai and Bangalore on a monthly or weekly basis.

As students learn these experiences, she/he has an option of choosing these skills for his own sustainable lifestyle in near future.

As a recent trend, students themselves experimented and came up with snacking ideas using grains they cultivate. Now, students enjoy celebrations with handmade organic sweets instead of chocolates and preserved sweets used before.

“Any institution can guarantee my success in exams, but Sabarmathi along with that, made me experience a LIVING” Sathyaraj, Student of Sabarmathi who recently cleared the state services exam.

Sabarmathi Gurukulam welcomes students from underprivileged families who aspire to crack competitive exams like Banking, UPSC, TNPSC and NEET. Those in need shall reach them at 70108 36885 or through https://www.facebook.com/SabarmathiGurukulam/

 

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns

Supporting Education Of COVID Hit Students

0 Raised
Out of 20,00,000

Share

Supporting Acid Attack Survivors During COVID

24,631 Raised
Out of 20,00,000

Share

Back To School : Supporting Rural Education

26,921 Raised
Out of 15,00,000

Share

Rahat COVID: Relief Work by Goonj

1,04,887 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

No To Hunger : Free Meals To Underprivileged

5,87,014 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Provide Ambulance : Help Them Reach Hospital On Time

3,82,370 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Support Pranitha To Donate Oxygen And Ration Kits

8,35,618 Raised
Out of 10,00,000

Share

Project Annapoorna : Become A Hunger Warrior

7,582 Raised
Out of 1,50,000

Share

The Stray Project : A Thought Of Humanity

41,094 Raised
Out of 2,50,000

Share

Ended

Stand By Ladakh

40,962 Raised
Out of 1,00,000

Share

Closed

Support our Frontline COVID Warriors

25,615 Raised
Out of 5,00,000

Share

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

97,02,146 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Campaign Closed
Brought machinery

Empower Poor Women To Rise Out Of Poverty

1,36,544 Raised
Out of 3,85,000

Share

9 Happy Fridges Installed
Ordered a minivan and sent for modification

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

Let us know your thoughts on this story

Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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