Are we there yet?

A 3-day programme to understand the story of human migration 

Client: Welham Boys’s school

What I did: Learning Experience Design, Site Recce, Programme Development and facilitation, Team lead

Date: 2017 

Throughout human history, people have moved in and out of places for a number of reasons. This story of human migration is central to our understanding the forces that shape human identity and culture. It is therefore important to understand the narrative of displacement, exile, immigration and the complex social, economic, political, geographic and environmental factors behind it under the shadow of the biggest ongoing refugee crisis in the world.

As a part of the interactive 3-day workshop, the students of Class VII Welham Boys’s School visited the RLEK (Rural Litigation & Entitlement Kendra) Blue Star village school in Mohand for the children of the Van Gujjar, a nomadic pastoralists community that migrates seasonally between the plains and the hills.The creative inquiry programme was linked to the Formative assessment on all subject including Art, Music and IT. 

After a short introduction on Migration, students read diverse stories of migrant and role played them to gain a better understanding of the issue at hand. Through these character stories, students investigated the reasons and the types of migration and how communities, cultures, and economies are affected by it. 

On the second day, students visited the RLEK Blue Star Van Gujjar school in Mohand village and interacted with the RLEK team Avdhesh Sharma and Rajeev Puri. “We have learnt more about our reciprocal relationship with nature from the Van Gujjar children than we could ever teach them! Their migration pattern helps maintain a balance in nature,” shared Avdheshji. 

The Headmaster of the school Naushadji introduced the Welham boys to his school students who heartily welcomed them with their songs, stories, and questions. The Welham boys were fortunate to meet the Lambardar, the village head and hear stories about the water buffaloes, their annual migration journey as well as the challenges they face in the community. Students also visited Van Gujjar’s Dera (temporary settlements) and interacted with the children and women in the community. Before we left, everyone was generously served a glass of chaas (buttermilk) made from buffalo milk! 

In school, students learnt about the effect of migration on language by investigating words in Hindi that have made its way into English language and worked on a mathematical activity based on the facts and numbers of migration. 

The programme helped students to recognise the different facets and arguments around the topic of migration, its pros and cons, facts and faces and form an opinion on the same. The programme ended with an interesting debate on “Migration: More loss or gain” where students put forth compelling points to support their arguments for or against migration.

This programme was designed and facilitated by me during my time as the Education Programme Lead for Flow India, Delhi.