Ever so often, we limit the potential of engineers to desk jobs or other jobs that are a product of the recent rise in capitalism & glorified hustle culture. This is, however, not the case for Prayag Ichangimath, an engineer who has adopted an alternative path to making a positive social change in society.
After completing his graduation from a premier college in 2015, Prayag initially worked with several start-ups in Bangalore for two years. During this period he realized that teaching is his true passion, so he left his regular corporate career life. He took part in the SBI Youth for India Fellowship and got selected.
He found himself an opportunity to work with rural communities through Barefoot College in Rajasthan, a pioneer in alternative education for the past 40 years.
While volunteering at the Barefoot College, he realized that the lack of education might be the root of all problematic issues, faced by people of almost all rural regions.
After conducting more research he noticed two major challenges. Firstly, a lot of kids could not go to schools in the daytime because of the daily chores they were tasked with.
The second challenge was that the students didn’t have any access to good quality science education as the resources were unavailable.
So in an attempt to provide accessible education to all these rural communities, Prayag started Barefoot Science Laboratories, a night school where children are taught the basics of science making the most of the resources that the kids already had.
Using innovative methods scientific phenomenons were explained well through local source material within a classroom setup. For instance, he suggested that a tub of water and a mirror could be used to visualize rainbows rather than a prism setup.
Since the children understand everything well, they even encourage their parents to enroll into these night schools, which are being held for a 3-hour duration, starting from 6 or 7 pm depending upon the location.
Teachers enjoy their jobs too and constantly support the curious kids who are always interested in learning these subjects in a fun & creative way.
Initially, there were only 9 schools in total, established in Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Manipur with around 50 students in each school. This number has been increased to 43 schools after the expansion of advanced & portable technologies to Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Karnataka with 35-40 registrations per school, and now there are hundreds of kids who are being educated all over India, all thanks to Prayag’s efforts.
Source:The Optimist Citizens