A humble school, located in Unnao district of Uttar Pradesh is transforming young girls into future farmers. Here’s all you need to know about this unique school and the impact it has created.
India’s farming community has always remained in distress, their income is very low and most of them are illiterate. Every year, the country witnesses an alarming number of farmer suicides.
Anish and Ashita Nath, a couple based out of Delhi, felt that the problems farmers face can be resolved if they are taught the science of farming. Anish quit his corporate job and Ashita left her career in a non-profit organization. They shifted to Uttar Pradesh and bought a farmland in Jabrella village located in Unnao district of UP. They started teaching new technology and innovative farming methods to the villagers.
“Earlier I was working in Delhi at an advertising firm and my wife as a teacher. We used to hear news of the distress that our farming community is facing and felt the need to help them,” said Anish
However, most of the farmers were reluctant to use the new methods. This made them think about the intervention at an early age. They came up with an idea of teaching the young children about agriculture and started, The Good Harvest School in 2016.
Anish claims it to be India’s first agriculture school. Started with just an idea and a mission to create new generation farmers, the school now has over 50 students who are learning the art of farming in a unique way.
The Unique Curriculum
The Good Harvest is a primary school. Maths, Hindi English, Science, Agriculture and Animal Husbandry are part of its core curriculum. Anish teaches agriculture and animal husbandry while Ashita and two other teachers take care of remaining subjects. Young children are taught germination of seeds and the older ones are taught seed selection, soil management, harvesting, and the post-harvesting process.
Students also learn about animal healthcare. They are taught how to raise chickens, at what time they should be given food and how to measure their growth and weight. In addition, children also get to learn to make affordable cages for chickens. Kajal and Aanchal, the enthusiastic girls studying there made an affordable cage for chickens at just Rs 400, which is far less than the ones available in the market that cost over Rs 1,000.
“The teachers at the government school in the village are not doing their job well. Hence, children who are in class seventh do not even know alphabets and counting,” said Ashita.
The Visible Impact
Initially, the school just had six children. Parents were reluctant to send their children to this unconventional learning space. Gradually, by seeing the positive change in the students, other villagers started sending their children to this school. Now The Good Harvest School has over 50 students from Jabrella and nearby villages.
Students who were not able to read or write anything in English are slowly getting the hold of it, they seem comfortable and fluent in using the language.
Roshni was studying at a government school before she started attending the Good Harvest. She didn’t even know the basic of general subjects. Now she is one of the bright students of the school. She solves mathematics problems and has also improved her English speaking, reading and writing skills. “I give all the credit to Ashita and Manisha mam. They spent a lot of time on me,” she said.
Six-Year-Old Meena, another student of the school, wakes up at five in the morning, helps her father in farming and then comes to school. She says she does not wants to miss the school as she enjoys up it here. “I love to come to school as I enjoy here. I get very excited when I am taught things like raising healthy chickens. I love to hold them in my hand,” said Meena.
“Due to the lack of income in farming, many farmers here send their children to cut trees and sell the wood in nearby cities. It’s a trend in many villages in Unnao. At our school, we are sure of one thing that our students will never indulge in these practices. By studying agriculture they are learning the importance of environment,” said Manisha, a teacher at the school.
The school has managed to change the mindset of the villagers at large. Ayodhya Prasad, a resident of Jabrella, says: “I have heard that this school is doing a very good job. I have two girls who don’t go to any school because it’s too far away. I am planning to send my girls to this school as I have heard about its quality. The founders personally come to pick up the girls from nearby villages.”
Anish travels around 40kms daily to ger girls from nearby villages to the school. “I have a small car which accommodates 10-15 children. I have to do three rounds from nearby villages. This also builds up trust in us and more parents agree to send their children to school,” Anish said
The Bright Future
“We want to set this school as an example for the government. Agriculture should be included in the school curriculum. We have to prove that agriculture makes it exciting for children to come every day and learn. The unique curriculum also helps them to become educated farmers who will be empowered and can do profitable farming in the future,” Anish said.
Right now, the school is not recognised by the UP board as their recognisation requires a building on the premises. “We don’t have that currently, but we are talking to builders who could help us in that matter. The possibilities are endless in future we would be teaching students zero budget farming which is taught by Shubhash Palikar,” said Anish
To know more about The Good Harvest School and support them, reach out to them here.
Photos: Rahul Satija