Live Human Signposts from Swaraj University

 

For this first Live Human Signposts series we will be showcasing four ‘Live Human Signposts’ that dropped out of the mainstream, and pursued alternative forms of education, which brought each of them, in their own unique journeys, to Universidad Swaraj, in Rajasthan India. Since attending Swaraj each of them has gone on to explore regenerative livelihoods.

 

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Through ethnographic interviews, each person shared their journey from childhood up until the present moment, through the lens their experiences with education. The questions were kept broad and general (see Appendix One). Each conversation lasted over two hours. Although each of their journeys were unique, there were many similarities that emerged between their stories. 

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Their stories were merged, and synthesized, into these four thematic categories, which will be explored in separate articles in this series: 

 

1) Experiences with schooling growing up 

2) Paths to Alternative Education

3) Conocimiento vivencial | Experiences as a ‘khoji’ in Swaraj University – part 1

4) Sense-making and Developing Confidence Experiences as a ‘khoji’ in Swaraj University – part 2

5) Networked Power and Peer-Peer Learning – Experiences as a ‘khoji’ in Swaraj University part 3

6) Parents/Peers reactions to pursuing Alternative education.

Meet the Live Human Signposts from Swaraj University

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Name: Gaurav Gurjar

Alternative Education:  Universidad Swaraj

Alivelihood: Afforestt, Mauravan 

Job Description:  Jungle Tree Expert, Building mini forests to help regenerate ecosystems

Name: Stanzin Phuntsog 

Alternative Education: Universidad Swaraj

Alivelihood: Earth Building

Job Description: Eco-Architect, merging traditional and modern practices to build ecologically-friendly structures. 

Additional Links: Article from Better India chronicling Stanzin’s experiences2020 EdExLive Article showcasing Stanzin’s work

Name: Arti Bhandari

Alternative Education: Universidad Swaraj

Alivelihood:  Conscious Connections, Expressive Arts 

Job Description: Event Planner,  Re-imaging the ritual of marriage ceremonies and other forms of celebration.

Facilitator, enabling educational opportunities and exploration for young kids through art and creativity.

Additonal Links: Reviving Conscious Connections at Weddings: Interview with Arti Bhandari and Parth Dave

Name: Madhur Anand

Alternative Education: Universidad Swaraj

Alivelihood: Sehatvan 

Job Description: Facilitator and Program Developer, creating spaces for sustainable health,

self-reliance and resilience through exploring the power of nature.

Appendix 1: Interview Questions

  1. What was your education experience like growing up?  
  2. Why did you choose to pursue alternative education? 
  3. What was the reaction of your family/peers to your decision to join Swaraj University?
  4. What was the learning process like while at Swaraj? How did it compare to your experiences in mainstream formal education ?
  5. Did you have any deep learning experiences while studying at Swaraj? 
  6. What are you doing now? Did your experiences at Swaraj lead you to what you are doing now ? If so, how? 

Daniel Rudolph (initiator and author) is interested in exploring alternative, experiential learning opportunities for people of all ages. He is passionate about forming community, and building public spaces for meaningful, transformational gathering. He spends a lot of his time learning juggling and facilitating gatherings. He also enjoys writing and sharing poetry. Dan is currently in an apprenticeship in Vermont at the MAPLE Monastic Academy.

Pia Janzen (illustrator) is excited to visually support projects that inspire us to question and reimagine how we as humans relate to each other and our surroundings. She loves painting people, making music, eating, oceans and being around animals and she is passionate about working towards a more sustainable, liberating and authentic way of being.

Sierra Allen (editor) is a recovering individualist, spiritual forager, storytelling apprentice, unschooler, rock climber, and youth advocate. Sierra is a co-creator of EDiT – Education in Transformation and audiovisual editor and weaver with the Ecoversities Alliance.

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