Design student Mayank wonders why he was never taught about the legendary freedom fighters of rural India. Masters students Varsha and Ayushi learnt firsthand about the impact of Covid on small artisans and migrants when they chose to write about them. High school science students learned about the lived experiences of farmers and forest dwellers who are the first and worst affected by climate change. Sociology student Vedika says listening to personal narratives helped her understand wider social realities better. Aspiring journalist Adarsh says he learnt how to use data to support his story.
Our work with schools, colleges and universities is a space where young people get to learn about the many different livelihoods, languages, communities, art and cultures across India. It’s a place where we nurture empathy, question rights and challenge privileges.
Now in our fourth year, we see how PARI Education can be different things to different people: to the young student it’s a fun and exciting story about unusual occupations, to the teenager discovering rebellion, it’s an example of truth spoken to power, and to the young adult, it’s an opportunity to contribute to a living archive and resource.
Young people in remote parts of rural India are writing about their lives, and in the process standing up and being counted. Educators are using PARI’s free-to-access resources in their classrooms and creating textbooks that use contemporary realities to supplement and better explain the curriculum.
All the above is now housed in the PARI Education website, which celebrates its first anniversary this month. We have a collection of over 80 reported articles, translations in up to nine Indian languages and a variety of creative pieces. All examples of how we work with young people to sensitise, inform and inspire.
Students are reaching out, speaking up, listening in and noting down the details of the lives and livelihoods of craftspeople from Juriya, Gujarat; fishermen in Kandankadavu, Kerala; potters in Kumharpara, Chhattisgarh; farmers in the North 24 Parganas, West Bengal and Kamal Pur Bichlika, Uttar Pradesh; Covid patients in Bandipore, Kashmir and more.
Our seven-part series – Profiles of migrants: journeys of hope carries 45 stories of migrants who have left their homes and farms behind in search of steady and sustainable wages. As part of a graded school project, more than 400 students spoke to migrants and learnt about the economic and social crisis in farming and the hunger for jobs. PARI Education began work on this series in 2018, visiting schools and designing projects that teach through the experiences of the everyday lives of everyday people.
Young people are engaging in issues and processes of our times: they are on the ground at the farmers’ protest, in the Jaunsar mountains recording the impact of climate change, speaking with daily wage earners such as railway hawkers, construction workers and fishermen, whose livelihoods vanished in the lockdown.
Our Inspired by PARI section showcases a variety of work by students of all ages. Ten-year-olds have published comic books, sketches and bilingual story books in our digital journal; Adivasi middle schoolers in rural Odisha have created drawings and Masters students have developed fiction based on the PARI stories they read.
We hope you enjoy this selection of illustrations by Anupama Daga and Samyukta Pemmaya, design students who interned with us this summer in consultation with illustrator and PARI contributor Antara Raman.
To all the students, teachers and institutions who have been a part of this journey, thank you and see you on our pages.
PARI Education Team
We are Aditi Chandrasekhar, Vishaka George, Riya Behl and Priti David. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org