Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Journeys, Learnings & Action at Mauka!

I have not posted for several weeks, and here I am with lots of news:

The first classroom at Mauka is complete now and we are set to begin the English/Hindi and Computer classes soon. We also had a chat with a local school which offers both ISC and National Institute of Open School syllabus and their administration offered us use of their rooms (after their school hours) and have expressed interest in collaborating on non formal and vocational training for youth. While we will look into these possibilities in the future, here is a look at our first classroom which is in our own premises!

Meanwhile, I also got a chance to attend two Video workshops in Sept- October in New Delhi which were conducted by Kanu Bharti and Kavita Das Gupta from Drishti Media and facilitated by CYC. The first workshop was on Basic Techniques of Film Making where we learnt how to handle the equipment as well as visualize the story through the video film camera. We made some short movies using the streets of New Delhi as our inspiring canvas. The second workshop was on Film Editing and we learnt softwares such as Adobe Premiere. As part of my final film making assignment, I had made a storyboard and then later a film on making of bamboo furniture. I shot almost 2 hours of film and later edited it to a short approximately 9 minute long film. I have called the film 'More Than Grass', and hope to upload it on youtube soon. You can see the Film unit here:

In September 2009, I also had a chance to visit the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design at Jaipur, during their Convocation. I met up with a really diverse group of designers, educationists, academics, development professionals from across the country. It was a rich meeting of minds! There was K B Jinan from Kumbham in Kerala, who is working on 'un-educating onself''! He can be followed on this url: I also met MP Ranjan, Professor at NID, Ahmedabad who blogs regularly on various topics at this link: There were several others; context designers Jogi Panghal and Sandeep Sangaru, master craftsman Khatri Mohammed Isa from Bhuj, Hina and Sana, faculty from the Crafts Development Institute, Sringar, J&K. Jaipur is home to a wonderful group of designers, like Ayush Kasliwal, Sanjeev Bothra and Sangita Shroff who were very generous with their hospitality to all of us visiting from outside.

Also, recently Mauka has been invited to collaborate with a local neighbourhood waste management and awareness campaign. We are part of the Old Rajpur Mohalla Swachata Samiti, an informal network of volunteers who are working on garbage management in our neighbourhood. The first step has begun with a door to door campaign and a doorstep garbage collection service. See some posters which Mauka has designed for the campaign.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Movie day, we watched 'Iqbal'

I was supposed to post this a little earlier, however, its never too late for an update.
We watched the movie 'Iqbal' In the second interaction we had with the local youth (early August), we screened the movie Iqbal and followed it up with discussions on career aspirations and the determination of the title character in the movie who rises from a very ordinary background to overcome all odds to achieve his aim of being a national cricket player. Qualities such as will power, discipline, practice, belief, talent and persistence were discussed. The importance of support was also discussed, in the case of the coach of the main character, as well as his sister and mother.
Many young people also talked about role models from the current cricket team such as Ishan Sharma, Pravin Kumar, Irfan and Yusuf Pathan, some of whom are from very modest backgrounds, and yet today they have become national level cricket players.

In the same session, we had also invited a guest speaker to share his experiences of working in the BPO industry. He had a discussion with the young people on skills and expertise required for accessing jobs in that sector. We also circulated a questionnaire asking the youth to list what are the other careers they are keen to know about, so that we can call relevant professionals for such career awareness sessions in future.
In this month (August 2009) itself, I have identified a space for establishing the classroom where I would like to conduct the learning modules. It is a modest space, but it should be appropriate for right now. I am in the process of establishing the facility, basically organizing the infrastructure required (furniture, fixtures, renovation, computers, softwares etc. ) and hope that the place will be ready by end August in order to enable me to begin classes from September 2009.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

CYC friends in my backyard

The beginning of the month came with a pleasant surprise. As most of you don't know, Rajpur has been getting endless buckets of rain, making the place extremely damp and moldy. It was one of these 'raining like cats and dogs' days when I drove past the famous 'Haathi ka dukaan' tea stall (which apparently is decorated by ITC) located in the Shahenshah Ashram area. I waved "Namaste" to Sunil the owner and then I heard someone shout "Joshua!" and there sitting on wooden benches, sipping hot chai and eating bun omelette's were Afaq and Prakash. (Afaq had mentioned something about coming to Dehradun, but I didn't know it was this soon)
Now that I think of this unexpected rendezvous, I was again 'driving' on Rajpur road when I thought I recognized a face. As I turned the car around to pursue my curiousity, I shouted, "Sangeeta!" Oh! well, she didn't hear me, so I stopped the car and ran towards her, and guess what? It was Sangeeta Maurya! We exchanged greetings and tried to meet up later, but Sangeeta had to catch a ride back to Udhamsinghnagar.
Afaq and Prakash were attending a conference. We had dinner together and the next day I invited them for breakfast at my house and we caught up, discussed our CYC plans and enjoyed each others company. They saw some of my work before heading out to Delhi
Here are some pics!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

MAUKA Creating Opportunities

MAUKA means 'Chance' or 'Opportunity' in Hindi.
Mauka means many things to many people.
To some, it means a second chance, an opportunity, an opening..
To some it means to teach, to educate, to awaken, to inspire, to lead...
To live in harmony, a chance to relive, re-look, reflect on the past,

re-plan the future
A chance to change yourself, change the environment around,
An undefined, unbounded space
A freedom to express!

Mauka is a platform for underprivileged youth to fulfil their dreams (or atleast come close to it!) Mauka runs classes providing informal education in English, Hindi, Computers and Graphic Design to develop creativity based employment and entrepreneurial competencies among underprivileged youth.

Design education in India is very expensive, and Mauka allows youth from low income backgrounds to build skills to access creativity based jobs, proving that they may be deprived of financial resources but do not lack innate creativity.
Mauka also aims to foster confidence, stimulate positive attitudes and awareness on active citizenship among youth. At the same time Mauka is a sustainable for-profit social enterprise, generating revenue through provision of graphic design services to clients.

Mauka began in July 2009 in Rajpur, Dehradun, where a collective of local youth from disadvantaged backgrounds started meeting to share their ideas. Today, Mauka provides a listening post for their issues and concerns and the youth continue to gather every two weeks to watch movies, sing songs, hold competitions, discuss environment, gender violence, ragging, unemployment etc.- issues that bother them, and issues that they are keen to address and understand better.

Mauka invites professionals from diverse backgrounds to come and share their work and experiences with this enthusiastic group of young people.

Mauka is supported by the Commutiny Youth Collective ( and lead by Joshua Hishey, a young design professional and social entreprenuer at Studio Alaya.(

Here are some images from one of the workshops at Mauka in July 2009