UWC Mahindra College monthly newsletter

Monday, November 28, 2011

Head of College's message

It has been an honour to be part of “MUWCI’s” journey over the past few years.  As with all earthly utopias, this place has its quirks and tensions, its odd mix of magical ideal and murky reality. But being here has engaged my imagination and allowed me to find delight in the things that really count. Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love, wrote the 13th century mystic poet, Rumi. I have felt the quiet power of that pull in my time here. 


Thanks to everyone for filling out the short survey on the newsletter last month. We had a total of 252 responses, the largest group being our parents and alumni (63 and 99 respectively). Nice to know that we also shared our news with 11 National Committee readers, 27 UWC alumni other than our own, 9 friends and 8 other UWC students. Our community is large and we appreciate you all! The newsletter had a total of 1360 hits last month including 4 from Luxembourg, 14 from the Netherlands and 3 from China.

This month, in order to help us provide a newsletter tailor made to suit your requirements, we are requesting you once again to fill out a short survey which you can access here

We look forward to compiling your answers and sharing them with you through our January newsletter.

Have a fabulous Christmas and a healthy, happy and peaceful  new year.

Penny Fidler
Head of External Relations / Webmaster

Oasis Game

The month of October had a not-so-ordinary agenda for this hilly home of ours. The Triveni office had  created space for different people from both  the ”outside” world” as well as from the college to share with us ideas and / or initiatives through workshops. One of the workshops -- facilitated by the wonderfully spirited Azeer, Rachana, Sumi, Sumeet and Santosh -- was about a game, or movement, or philosophy, or simply something impossible to label, referred to as the Oasis Game. Now you may ask  “why Oasis?”  Well, because what this term advocates is a somewhat paradisiac refugee for the exhausted traveller, where she / he can find water in abundance in the middle of the dry desert.

The Travelling Archive

During the week of 21 – 25 November, UWC Mahindra College was extremely privileged to host Moushumi Bhowmik, parent of Aranyo Arjaan Class of 2008, with musicians Satyaki and Robi, who came to give workshops and also perform at the local Khubavali temple.

Project Week

Every November, students and faculty set off on Community Interaction Project Weeks across India. During this week they experience the work of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs); working with and learning from professional organizations that engage with various facets of ‘development’ in India. Students have a ands-on opportunity to learn about India in greater depth, hone skills for their weekly CE activities and, ultimately, understand how complex the attainment of the UWC ideals is. The student presentations that accompany this newsletter are snap shots of their experiences this year. For more information about the organizations we visited please click here

Nandita Dinesh
Head of Triveni department

Project Week - CHiRAG


Central Himalayan Rural Action Group (CHiRAG) is a non-profit grassroots development organisation working with rural communities in the Central Himalayan region of India. Their main office is located in the village of Sitla in the state of Uttaranchal. CHiRAG is also involved with issues of social empowerment and community mobilization, income generation and training, and communication that it considers critical to its integrated development strategy. Areas of intervention include preparatory schools or balwaris, primary school support programmes with a focus on environmental education, village libraries, science laboratories, centres for adolescent girl empowerment, preventive and curative health programmes, and a local self-governance programme.

During the week students will be taken to the health centres, introduced to the adolescent girls programme, and work in the horticulture farm. They will also visit the weaving and oil extraction unit and have an opportunity to attend a village meeting. Please check the following websites for further information:


Click here to see this year's students' CHiRAG presentation

Project Week - Eklavya

On this project, based in the small town of Hoshangabad on the scenic Narmada River, questions will be raised concerning the purpose and reality of school education in India. In particular, we will ask: What role can education play in social and political transformation? What difference does scientific literacy make? What is the value of reading? In whose interest is education? Evidence and answers will be sought through activities with children and teachers. We will be guests of Eklavya, an NGO that has been developing innovative teaching programmes, writing and publishing children's textbooks, storybooks, magazines and books on science and education, as well as training teachers, teaching students, making educational toys and science kits, and assisting schools in planning and development. The goal will be for students to learn something about the people of India, their educational needs, and the politics of poverty. Besides visiting a local government school, students will have the opportunity to help plan and conduct a Bal Mela in which rural children gather to do science experiments and art activities. Students will also be expected to either write or illustrate some material that will be considered for publication in one of Eklavya's magazines.

Click here to see the students' Eklavya presentation

Project Week - APSA


The Association for Promoting Social Action (APSA) is a child-centred, rights-based, community development organization founded in 1981 and located in Bangalore. APSA works at two levels: at the grassroots level where the focus is on empowerment of the poor; and at the macro level of the state and the country through advocacy and policy planning. This two-pronged approach is reflected in the planning and implementation of all of APSA's projects.

Click here to see the students' APSA presentation

Project Week - Sangama


Sangama is a human rights organization for individuals oppressed due to their sexual preference. Sexual minorities include, but are not limited to, hijras, kothis, jogappas, lesbians, bisexuals, homosexuals, and transsexuals. Sangama aims to help these people live with self-acceptance, self-respect and dignity. They emphasize the concerns of sexual minorities from poor and non-English speaking backgrounds and sex workers, who otherwise have little or no access to information and resources. Sangama aims to bring sexuality, sexual preference and gender identity into the realm of public discourse and link it to human rights development and other social movements. Sangama campaigns for changes in the existing laws which discriminate against sexual minorities, including sex workers and people living with HIV / AIDS. They work with family members, friends, co-workers and partners.

While at Sangama, students will have interactive field visits, watch documentaries, hear personal experiences from the community, take part in sessions on lesbian issues, and participate in workshops on human rights and sexuality. Students may also participate in any ongoing campaign that may be current during our time with them.

Click here to view a selection of photos from the Sangama trip.

There is more in us than we think, but how do we know and how can we find out?

Relating five phases or aspects of reflective thought, proposed in 1933 by John Dewey with our bouldering expedition, it is possible to document ways in which we learnt and how we find out that there might be more in us than we first thought.

First of all we need experience, that of course was the easy part!. All we had to do was take a short (10 hour) bus journey into Hospet and then hop into Hampi, cross the river and walk into the mass of pinkish granite boulders, formed an estimated 2300 million years ago.

Kalamezuthu pattu

Pictorial designs are the inheritance of humanity from ancient times. All over the world, they first appeared on floors and walls of human dwellings. In India they have existed as part of ritualistic life in Hindu households since time immemorial.

Karanjit - India Class of 2012

Favourite quote: "If you aren't busy being born, then you are busy dying.- Bob Dylan"

Sieru – Ethiopia Class of 1999 - The Pioneers

“We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” Mother Theresa

Sieru visited the college in October 2011 for the first time since he graduated in 1999 as he had been unable to attend his 10-year reunion held on campus in August 2009. When his first-year, Sasha Sud, announced his wedding plans in New Delhi, this was the catalyst that pushed him to finalize his long awaited return to India after 12 years.