While in India in November 2017, Emmy Howe, M.Ed., co-director of the National SEED Project, Nan Stein, Ed.D., WCW senior research scientist, and Puja Kranz- Howe, Lesley University senior and Howe’s daughter, visited a women’s cooperative and community educational programs in the greater Mumbai area.

While at MarketPlace India, they met with the cooperative’s workers who discussed their varied skills, social action efforts, school advocacy, an affiliated youth career readiness program, and the enrichment activities that they undertake with hundreds of school-age children. This nonprofit organization empowers women in India to break the cycle of poverty as they become leaders in their work, their homes, and their neighborhoods, and effect lasting change in their communities. Together the visitors and hosts briefly discussed ways the SEED Project frameworks could be incorporated into their organization.

The trio also visited the Apni Shala community education organization. There they participated in a program for 15-21 year-olds, focused on building social and emotional skills, understanding systems of dominance and oppression, and addressing race, gender, and violence by examining their own experiences; the program is led by Rohit Kumar, a trained SEED leader. During the five-day visit, Howe conducted two trainings for fellows who work with fourth through sixth graders in 12 area schools. She discussed work undertaken in U.S. beginning 20 years ago to address gender issues in schools and to ensure that all children could be their whole selves; the interactive discussion with participants focused on how these efforts applied within their cultural context.

Aprni Shala was co-founded by Amrita Nair, a trained SEED leader, who builds on the frameworks of the WCW educational equity and diversity project. The program’s vision is to create experiential education opportunities for students to explore and pursue their dreams, and develop skills and attitude to engage with and thrive in the multicultural and diverse world through action and reflection. Through high quality, contextually relevant education, the Khoj Community School at Apni Shala serves as a lab school for community development in India. It addresses education needs of linguistically and culturally diverse M-east ward; engages through experiential and context driven learning methods; and collaborates with community.

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