Colleges

Work for a better world

A class in progress at Bhoomi College. Photo: Special Arrangement

A class in progress at Bhoomi College. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Care for the earth? Make a living out of it too. Help is on hand at Bhoomi College, Bengaluru, where education and activism converge.

“The food we eat is directly connected to the changes we make in the environment. Every morsel of food we put into our mouths is also a political and ecological statement,” says Madhu Reddy who launched the Aiyor Bai farm near Hyderabad in 2013. While a commitment to sustainability forms the core of her concerns, growing fruit and vegetables is the means she has chosen to express them — and she makes a living out of it.

Enterprise

Madhu believes that the most important connection our entire education system has missed is the one about food — between nature and human health. And she seems to be in a vibrant and enriching space: co-creating a community that cares for not just food, but also the Earth and organic living through farmers markets and workshops. She also manages to integrate her love for photography in her activities and organise permaculture workshops for farmers and others.

Bela in Singapore and Manvendra in India are working for NGOs that focus on education and activism. Pipson Sebastian Mampilli, after working for 16 years as a computer geek, has become a guerrilla gardener, creating vegetable gardens in city spaces that are lying vacant; he is working on his dream of starting a farm, too. Sindhu has won a tough competition for a scholarship that enables her to pursue further studies in sustainability at the highly reputed Schumacher College in the U.K.

Illustrious alumni

What is common among all of them? These people are alumni of Bhoomi College, located in a beautiful 4-acre eco-conscious campus in Bengaluru. It takes in 30-40 students who participate in two courses that focus on sustainability and holistic education.

How did they get on this path of combining their concern for Earth with finding a way to earn a living? These students listened to their inner call. All that was needed, then, was to meet inspiring people, focus on learning from and about real-life issues and find co-travellers to work with.

Bhoomi College has created a space where several renowned scientists, activists and writers such as Vandana Siva, Devinder Sharma and Ashish Kothari donate their time to give talks and hold discussions with Bhoomi students.

Schumacher College, U.K., has also taken notice. Eco-philosopher Satish Kumar, holistic science Prof. Philip Franses and Helena Norberg Hodge are the other renowned activists/educators who are visiting faculty at Bhoomi College.

Throughout the year, students work along with facilitators to understand perspectives and deeper and hidden connections to realise that a ‘whole systems’ view is needed to deal with the world’s crises today.

Through intensive collaborative learning, field trips, hands on work and connecting with pioneers, students learn that it is possible and necessary for millions of people to join this movement and engage in ‘earth-friendly’ activities of their choice.

We can look at the ecological problems today as a mind-boggling crises or an opportunity. The Bhoomi College is committed to supporting youngsters in learning to find opportunities to take up these ‘sunrise’ careers which not only help them give back what they can to society, but also find a deep satisfaction in what they do.

Bhoomi College is offering two one-year diploma courses at Bengaluru, starting in August, on Holistic Education and on Science and Management for Sustainability. For details, visit www.bhoomicollege.org or drop a mail at bhoomi.college@gmail.com.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:11:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/work-for-a-better-world/article7386661.ece

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