NAVJYOTI INDIA FOUNDATION, Bawana village Field trip and project report
New light for the future generations Text and photos: Predrag Stojicevic, Interior Design lecturer Raffles Millennium International Interior Design students of the RCDC completion year enrolled in the subject “Public Space Design” in which they are exploring, analysing and finally designing a public purpose interior space. This term’s topic is “Early childhood education facilities” and students are investigating existing preschool facilities in different social environments. On the 5th of April 2014, a short but purposeful visit was organised and students had visited Bawana, an urban development community program conducted by the NGO Navjyoti India Foundation. Bawana is a village near Delhi, a resettlement colony populated by 50.000 people. In harsh and unhygienic conditions, people of Navjyoti has succeeded in organising 50 learning centres scattered all over the settlement, providing education to 1.500 children.
Map of the Learning Centres across the settlement
On arrival, we were greeted by the small but efficient collective of the Community centre and students were introduced to our host Mr. Sunny, who took over to be our guide. At the beginning, we were guided through the main Centre to gather the information about the activities and facilities within the building. Students were shown the map of the community pointing the positions of the individual classrooms, each of it a modified former residential unit. None of the units was designed for educational purposes, not to mention that no sanitary facilities are present.
Students, lecturer and hosts at the entrance of the Community centre
Arts and crafts room
Students didnâ€™t waste any time and immediately started sketching, measuring, photographing and making notes. Each classroom was well observed and documented so no detail went unnoticed. Our host gave us many explanations and introduced us to several lecturers who explained some of their teaching methods and daily routine.
It was noticed that the conditions under which the kids are learning are very humble and that there is not any furniture or teaching materials that would be expected to be seen in such facility. Not even a toilet is present in the premises, not a water tap, not to mention proper lighting, ventilation or air conditioning. Our students, who come from a totally different social environment, were surprised, but also excited to see how the kids were enthusiastic to spend their time and to learn under such modest circumstances. All the classrooms were radiating positivity, happiness and joy. Kidâ€™s works as well as teaching materials hanging on the walls were made of recycled materials, but it was clear that a lot of effort and love had been invested into it.
ypical Najyoti classroom
Joy and happiness on the kidâ€™s faces
During our journey through the Navjyoti world, we learned how these kids are getting free additional education by spending two extra hours at classes. Here they learn how to become responsible citizens of their communities through caring for their environment and as well for each other. We were told that apart from usual teaching (Maths, Hindi, History, Biology...), they also learn about future possibilities and prospective careers. These kids are aware of how much effort needs to be put to advance in life and that nothing will come on itâ€™s own. Taking care about their lives and prosperity is making these kids being responsible in early ages. They are taking care about hygiene by cleaning their own classrooms and even around it, making their space pleasant and secure.
Children who come to Navjyoti are generally 5 to 15 years of age, and they come after their regular school hours. There are approximately 25 - 50 students per one classroom. Teachers who teach here usually do not have any formal education; they are volunteers and graduates from the school itself. Teachers are there for higher as well as lower classes, they teach students for 8 hours a day for all the classes.
PROJECT: Re-Design a classroom
After the visit and review of the collected material, Raffles students researched other early childhood institutions in Delhi (in their neighbourhoods) and made comparison reports on their findings. It was obvious how different the circumstances are in which kids are growing up but also which are the common things that connects all these different cases. Based on these findings, a further step in the design process was made, and a project proposal of re-designing Navjyoti classrooms was developed. Topics covered by the projects were walls decoration, multifunctional furniture and lighting. In all the projects students were following the principles of sustainability, ergonomics and multi- functionality.
Entrance with the shutters
PROPOSED DESIGNS WALL DECORATION PROJECT Student: Smriti Pruthi
MULTIFUNCTIONAL FURNITURE Student: Karishma Ahuja
STAIRCASE SEATING WITH STORAGE Student: Karan Bansal
Our mission is to provide a wide knowledge to our students about the world that we are living in, and to give them the right tools to make it a good place for everyone. Interior Design course at Raffles Millennium International is focusing on human well being in the most essential manner - the built environment. Only by understanding the aspects of the different individual needs as a whole, we can produce meaningful, successful design. This study was a big and important part of the learning process for our students, and it resulted in great ideas and designs. It is to hope that in the near future some of these brilliant ideas will be materialized for the benefit of both the Interior Design students and the kids at Navjyoti. Many things are yet to be done, but education is probably the first and the most important step in making a change. The good will of the people of Navjyoti and the effort of our Interior Design students had showed us the way of making things happen.
This project would not be possible without participation and effort of:
Navjyoti India Foundation Bawana village community centre staff, the good people who shared their vision with us. Raffles students participating: Smriti Pruthi Ankita Chadha Karishma Ahuja Karan Bansal Interior Design Program Director, Silvia Ojeda Garcia, who supported the project. Raffles Millennium International marketing team Ravi Kumar, who communicated and facilitated the field trip.
New Delhi, 8. May 2014