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Learning beyond boundaries

A team of 13 foreign delegates interact with students of a city school about making eco friendly Ganesha in vizag news image

A team of 13 foreign delegates interact with students of a city school.

For students of Minerva School, who participated in a workshop on making clay Ganesha on the school premises on Wednesday, it was not just a lesson on eco-friendly ways of celebrating festivals; but also about encountering people and learning about cultures far beyond borders. A team of 13 delegates from nine countries interacted with students and exchanged views on environmental issues at the workshop while the little minds also explored the various ways of making clay Ganesha. The team was here in the city on a practical orientation field trip as part of the International Training Programme on ‘Participatory Rural Development’ organised by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.

The foreign delegates, who were here from countries like Indonesia, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, learnt about the ways of celebration of Vinayak Chaturthi and were impressed with the inquisitiveness of the young minds and their eagerness to learn about various environment-friendly methods. “The children are so responsive and have a tremendous urge to learn about environmental practices. It is wonderful to see them ask questions on simple things like why clay is better than plaster of Paris before they start making the images,” said Vaipuna Sapai Semisi from the island nation of Tuvalu. Speaking about her field visit to Araku, Srikakulam and other parts of Visakhapatnam, she said it was like looking at India with a magnifying glass.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my interaction with rural communities and more so, with the women self-help groups. It is so remarkable to see the women in the rural parts take part in community activities and work hard to be financially self reliant. This is no mean task,” she added.

Others like Ronny from Indonesia said they had learnt a lot about gram panchayats and gram sabhas and other participatory approaches in rural development. “There are many very good inputs for that can be replicated in our social policies as well,” he said. For Sabuhi Yusifov from Azerbaijan, the trip to India brought out other memories associated with the country.

“When Azerbaijan was a part of Soviet Union, the only foreign films we watched were Indian ones. I remember watching many Indian films. This trip is like a déjà vu for me in that sense,” he said. Kyu Thar Tun from Myanmar was floored by the confidence of Indian women and their participatory approach in rural projects. While she loved the coastal city of Visakhapatnam for its natural beauty, there was another experience she will cherish for a long time to come.

“I loved the Andhra biryani here. It was a bit spicy but I totally enjoyed the unique flavour,” she added.