Over the last 30 years, SIDH has worked to provide access to education in over 40 villages of Jaunpur in the Tehri District of Uttarakhand. In these years SIDH stood witness to the transformation of local, self-reliant culture. An increasing financial dependency on the larger economy coupled with the allure of the ‘good life’ was resulting in the impoverishment of the local community and the gradual vanishing of their traditional knowledge systems. For SIDH the key issue facing today’s society is that of the individual vis a vis the community: what does it mean to ‘educate’ an individual while allowing/enabling his/her community to be destroyed?
To challenge this modern trend, SIDH started its experiments with educational curricula and sought to re-orient the focus of study to the issues facing the local ecology and culture. Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s ‘Buniyada Shiksha’ (Foundational Education) SIDH has been committed to the idea that schools should be at the center of community life and that the ‘stuff’ of education should be embedded in their social and contextual realities. SIDH has done pioneering work in developing innovative pedagogical material, in particular, handbooks for teachers that utilize the local environment – physical and social – as the medium for facilitating learning and education. SIDH has also carried out numerous well-received research studies on the impact of modern educational curricula on the socio-cultural fabric of rural hill-based communities.
Current Work and Future Vision
SIDH continues with its efforts of subjecting modern paradigms and mindsets to critical scrutiny. The future vision is to mold SIDH into a space that can creatively explore the fault lines of the modern human condition; focusing our inquiry especially on those aspects of modernity that have led to a polarization of public discourse into a binary field of opinions, thus rendering it counter-productive.
At SIDH, we believe that effecting a change in the external has to begin with an earnest exploration of the realm within an individual. And we intend to draw on the resources at hand to enable SIDH into becoming a space that can act as a bridge between the individual and society – while ensuring that all its activities adhere to its core principles of promoting localism, sensitivity and self-reliance.
We do so through three programs:
A lot of the research themes that we pursue are a legacy of the grassroots learning that SIDH accumulated in its time while working intimately with the local Jaunpuri community of the Aglaar River valley.
Virtual Tour of the Campus
- Accommodation for up to 40 people in specially designed dormitories
- Equipped with private single/double/twin bedroom suites for upto 20 people
- Availability of three conference halls for hosting meetings and workshops
- A variety of staggered open spaces, including an open air amphitheater, that can be utilized in creative ways for group exercises
- Availability of simple and healthy vegetarian food