The Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities (JSLH) hosted a community outreach event for students of Sevli and Manoli villages in Sonipat district on 20 May 2017. Approximately 90 upper primary students from government schools of the two villages visited the JGU campus to participate in a movie screening and interactive session with JSLH students. They were joined by principals and teachers from each school.
This event was part of an ongoing community engagement initiative that JSLH conducts through the Interdisciplinary Seminar 3 course in the Fall Semester. During this course, JSLH students conduct field research based in and around the anganwadis (early childhood care and education centres) and schools of villages and urban neighbourhoods near the JGU campus. JSLH students engage with the children of the schools and anganwadis through craft activities and games, while also interacting with teachers, health workers, and village and municipal leaders to understand how local institutions function.
After meeting the JSLH students this semester, the school principals had requested that they participate in the newly instituted Saturday activity days, which promote “joyful learning” in Haryana schools. On Saturdays, students leave their books at home and instead participate in indoor and outdoor activities at school. In order to expand the scope of these activity days and give students the opportunity to visit the university, JSLH organised an on-campus movie day before the schools went on summer holiday.
During their visit to the campus, the students watched a movie that addressed themes of friendship, child labour, and activism. After the screening, JSLH students facilitated conversation about the themes and messages of the film and encouraged the children to share their opinions.
Ms. Divya Patpatia of JSLH opens the floor for discussions after the movie screening.
At the conclusion of the event, JSLH students presented the principals and teachers of the Sevli and Manoli schools with copies of a photo booklet that they had created to document their field research. Student photographers Arham Khan, Porus Jain, Dhruv Sinha, and Sushrut Vaidya of the JSLH 2015 batch created the photo booklet by compiling their photographs and reflections from their classmates, under the guidance and support of Ms. Divya Patpatia of JSLH.
Discussing the process of taking photographs and what he learned from the experience, Porus Jain reflected, “Photography for me has always been about reality and these children provided me that exact reality in its truest nature. This experience evolved my skill and I owe it all to these children.” The book, entitled Nirantar (meaning continuous, sustained), signifies the ongoing relationship that JSLH students seek to establish with these communities through their work.
The Interdisciplinary Seminar 3 course, which will be offered again next fall, will carry forward these community engagement activities.
Manoli and Sevli school principals receive the commemorative photo booklet from JSLH Dean Kathleen Modrowski.