Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Indian student creates a mobile classroom

Indian student creates a mobile classroom


“A classroom is generally a box with 4 walls and a blackboard on one side,” says budding architect Jayshil Patel, “I came up with the whole idea of modifying the same box in a different version making it modular and mobile”. The result is Baksha, a modular moveable classroom that can be transported to remote places and villages devoid of any educational infrastructure. Thus, bringing education literally to the doorstep of disadvantaged communities.

Having been forced to go to boarding school because there was no quality senior-secondary school nearby, Jayshil says he couldn't help but think of those students who had absolutely no access to any form of education and had to travel miles just to get to a classroom. “Due to the sheer scale of the population in India, education is a luxury not a right; especially for the poor and down trodden” he says.

This made him rethink the whole concept of school and classroom, and sparked off the idea for a moveable classroom that would bring education to children, particularly in the rural areas, instead of forcing them away from their homes. The concept of Baksha was thus, born. While examples are rife, across the world, of mobile vans being used to provide books and other educational materials to people on the go, there are several unique features that set Jayshil's innovation apart.

Although, it functions primarily as a classroom, Baksha’s flexible nature allows it to be used for other purposes as well. “The modular classroom with an area of 21 square metres is equipped with the latest teaching techniques, storage space, modular furniture and public utility services. As the furniture is modular it aligns itself with the floor” Jayshil explains. “Fusing a few of the Baksha units together, it can be utilized for performing various other activities. It can be converted into a relief camp, clinic, polio booth centre, etc”

Besides being multi-purpose  and versatile Baksha is also environmentally friendly. Built using Medium-Density Fibreboard (MDF) it uses solar panels for electricity and is economical in the long run. It is also relatively easy to transport. Jayshil’s ‘box of life’ can easily be attached to a truck, train or a helicopter depending on where it needs to be transported.

He further adds, “The structure is transparent so it gives an eye for natural light and ventilation. Sound-proofing materials are also used. It can also be raised on stilts which protects it from rain.”

However, despite the overwhelming positives, the 22-year-old graduate of Sardar Vallabhai Patel Institute of Technology is finding it extremely difficult to get adequate resources for his project. As a result he is yet to create a prototype. He is currently looking at government and corporate backing to help get his idea off the ground.

Innovation Jockey’s, he says has given a great platform and the confidence to pursue other ideas and innovations. And he doesn’t intend to stop. A conscientious architect he wants to innovate in the field of sustainable buildings. “I am working on a concept home, which would be the first Lead and Griha certified” says an excited Jayshil.

However, early challenges and hurdles have already made the 22 year old wise beyond his years.
An innovator he says, like his idol Steve Jobs needs to have tremendous belief in himself and his ideas in order to fully succeed. For that one has to be willing to put up with the occasional failure.




Wednesday, 2 April 2014

This 17-year-old law aspirant, uses his toes to write exams

This 17-year-old law aspirant, uses his toes to write exams

Manoj Machra was born with no hands. In normal circumstances, someone with his disability would have accepted his fate and moved on, but not this 17-year-old: He hopes to get 80-85 percent in his secondary exams and aspires for a career in law.

His sheer grit and determination to complete his education against all odds is now inspiring his peers in a Rajasthan village these days. Manoj uses his toes to write his answer papers.
It is not for the first time that Manoj, a resident of Amarsar village in Churu district, over 250 km from Jaipur, has fluently written this way. This wonder boy has proved his academic excellence over the past few years despite being disabled.

"I secured 78 percent marks in my secondary examination. I cleared the upper primary education with 86.86 percent," Manoj proudly told IANS.
"Now I hope to clear my senior secondary by securing over 80-85 percent marks", he said. He has taken science and maths as his subjects.
Manoj said that as he grew up, he found in himself a strong desire to complete his education.
"My parents used to worry how I would chase my dream, but I never let my disability bog me down and come in the way of my dream. I worked hard and practised to write using my left leg. Everybody gets surprised when they know that I have been able to secure such good marks without hands," he said.

Manoj who took the help of a writer in his 10th class exam, didn't ask for an assistant writer during the senior secondary examination.
"I am entitled to it, but I didn't ask for help. I did seek additional time to complete my examination paper as I am entitled to an hour's extension," said Manoj.
"In the 10th class exam, I felt I had secured less percentage because I took the help of a writer so this time I did not take help," he said.
He added that he had to practice for hours to comfortably write with his toes.
"I am now very comfortable with writing with my toes. I have just finished writing my senior secondary examination. I have studied a lot and hope to secure distinction in all the subjects," said Manoj.

Manoj aspires to join the legal services after completing his education. "I now want to take up law as a subject," he added.
Manoj is the eldest of two brothers. His father runs a fair price shop for providing subsidised foodgrain.
"We and his school always encouraged him to do whatever he wants and we will continue to do so," his father, RK Machra, said.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

Scaling new heights despite disability

Arunima Sinha

Scaling new heights despite disability

Arunima, first female amputee in the world to have conquered Mt. Everest, has set her eyes on highest peaks in seven continents

Arunima Sinha’s story of grit and glory started on the railway track. And, it took her to the world’s highest peak. Coming across as any other regular youngster, Arunima can influence anyone by narrating her life experiences. The first female amputee in the world to have scaled and conquered Mt. Everest was in the city on Friday to address women managers of various corporate firms.
Titled ‘TAF Leadership Programme,’ the event was organised by The Atlanta Foundation (TAF).
“Lying in the hospital with an amputated leg and serious injuries, I decided to play the toughest game of my life which was climbing Mt. Everest,” said Arunima, who was a national level player of volleyball and football prior to the accident.
Arunima had lost her leg in April 2011, when she fell off the running Delhi-Lucknow train after a scuffle with some thieves. She spent almost four months recovering from the accident during which she got prosthetic legs.
Surprisingly, she climbed the Mt. Everest in May 2013 exactly two years after the incident.
Elaborating on her 28-hour mountaineering journey, which included reaching to Mt. Everest and returning back to the base camp, she said, “From the beginning the toughest part was not to convince myself that I can do this but rather was about convincing others around me. Even on the day when I set out from my base camp, the accompanying local Sherpa was hesitant to accompany me.
“As we were nearing the summit, we encountered a lot of problems, my artificial leg was giving me problems as it was bleeding heavily. I was also low on oxygen in the cylinders that we were carrying. The only thing on my mind was to be alive till I hoist the tricolour on the summit.”
Passion drives her
Having given inspirational talks to more than 1.5 lakh youngsters after her successful expedition, she has a strong message for youngsters. “These days, youngsters lack serious aim in their life and the passion to achieve it. They seem to be straying because of which some of the suicides are taking place.”
On her future plans, she said that she wants to climb all the highest peaks in the seven continents of the world.