Schoolchildren are taught about means of transport since their childhood. But many children in rural India don’t actually get to travel or see these transport means beyond books. Government school in Haldina, Umrain block, Alwar district, Rajasthan, take pride in seeing a model demonstration of a cruise ship built that also serves as a classroom on their school premises.
This innovation, together with school renovations done under Sehgal Foundation’s Transform Lives one school at a time program, included rainwater harvesting, separate and functional toilets for boys and girls, educational wall paintings, leveling of the playground, and a new school boundary wall for Haldina School, which had been in a dilapidated condition. A rainwater harvesting system stores water that suffices for toilets and irrigation requirements. Prior to this, schools in Bhadwara and Delhavas made headlines with their smart classrooms in the form of a train, airplane, and Swachchta Vahini, a school with features shaped in the form of a bus.
Transform Lives one school at a time creates positive change and secures a better future for schoolchildren in rural India. The initiative integrates Sehgal Foundation’s key programs in water security, food security, and social justice. Launched in late 2016, the Transform Lives initiative has grown with the generous support received from donors and partners around the world.
A cruise ship serving 400 schoolchildren
Haldina’s 400 students in classes 6–12 are experiencing the changes firsthand and are both beneficiaries and ambassadors for demonstrating how school improvements can lead to better education outcomes. The construction of the cruise ship was done under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan of the government wherein engineer, Mr. Rajesh Lawania, joined hands with Sehgal Foundation to make the school child-friendly. The school principal, Mr. Banwari Lal Jaat, is pleased to see the improvements in the school.
Mahipal Singh, district coordinator, Sehgal Foundation, shared that there are two classrooms in the Cruise Express. The ground-level room is a smart classroom with furniture and a 55-inch LED screen that promotes internet-based learning and screens relevant video content to students. The classroom on level one is an activity room where students engage in extracurricular activities such as crafts and models, giving shape to their ambitions and dreams.
The outer façade of the Cruise Express looks like a well-painted multistoried building that attracts curiosity and depicts several messages for students. The front is painted with the Indian Navy logo, and the side has a slogan “Learning India, Growing India” and exit tubes for emergency situations. The front side has a painting of a dolphin that looks like a 3D image, and the main gate features the India Gate monument. The back side also carries the slogan, including the charkha icon depicting 150 Years since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi. Children rejoice being on the terrace of the cruise that gives them a feeling of being on the deck of a cruise ship and having their photos taken.
The Cruise Express and Swachchta Vahini have attracted visitors from throughout the vicinity. Schoolchildren are more excited to attend school. The bright colors and stimulating environment attract them and helps them build focus in school.