If you were given US $1000 to plant a seed for world change, what would you do with it?
Every day, The Pollination Project awards $1000 seed grants to individuals working for social change. Last summer they decided to award grants to 20 North American teachers who were changing the world. Their eyes lighted upon San Francisco Order member Dayamudra.
An English teacher in San Francisco, Dayamudra spends a month every year teaching Communicative English to young Dalit people (previously known as Untouchable) in villages in Kerala, South India, for the charity Jai Bhim International. “We’re very honored to be recognized by the Pollination Project. Education is how a young person finds her or his voice,” Dayamudra says. “Dalits still face violence, sexual abuse, discrimination and systematic oppression. But there are young leaders who understand education to be a vehicle for personal change and social justice.”
One of several small projects awarded a special educational grant, Jai Bhim will use the money establish a library in “Lokkutara”, their Communicative English Institute in Kerala.
“In addition to the grant money, we were enrolled in a 6-week online course in Humane Education with the group, Teaching for a Positive Future. This is a system of teaching and learning aligned with Buddhist principles and it fits well with the principles we have already established over the past five years of student-centered learning. The idea is to increase English-language fluency and build academic mastery and personal confidence, through dance, yoga, art, music, discussion and drama.
In all this, we are inspired by the example of Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar (“Bhim”) after whom our organization is named. ‘JAIBHIM!’ is an everyday greeting among his followers, meaning ‘Victory to Dr. Ambedkar!’; victory to his vision of true democracy and educational opportunities for youth, so they can lead us with creativity, motivation and resourcefulness, into the future.”