The global order is certainly changing, and while the world is glued to the news for Trump, Trudeau and on the heels of Brexit, a possible Frexit, children are leading the ‘CHANGE’ campaign.
Recently, Mumbai’s Singapore International School hosted the Regional Round Square Conference for students aged 14 to 17 years, from January 26th to 29th 2017 which was addressed by Educator-Innovator Sonam Wangchuk and left the students so inspired and empowered that they decided to raise funds for his Himalayan Institute of Alternative Learning.
This amount was raised by the students by organizing walkathons and accepting pledges for one round of the playing fields in school. Simultaneously, they also organized bake sales and art/ craft sales to collect the funds.
“When Sonam Wangchuk introduced his alternative school with admission criteria being ‘failure’, it grabbed the attention of every single student in our auditorium. It isn’t often as teenagers that we find an adult ally willing to look at things from our perspective, much less one committed enough to work towards a change in our education system so that no one is left behind.” remarked Annika Venkatesh of Grade 11.
Varun Babbar, Grade 11 says “… Sonam Wangchuk, has inspired the light of innovation within me with his exemplary leadership and altruistic skills. One aspect of his personality particularly struck me – the ability to repair and build not only infrastructure but also people’s hearts through social entrepreneurship. His project in Ladakh which involved building ice stupas in order to reduce water scarcity and ameliorate the situation of climate change has inspired me to integrate entrepreneurship skills in my life…”
2016’s Rolex awardee, Wangchuk has turned to crowdfunding to raise funds for this Alternative University and has found some unlikely heroes championing his cause. Only recently, 7th grader Arjun Rajawat posted the campaign video on his YouTube channel and raised more than half a lakh rupees for the same.
Wangchuk’s approach, integrity, and a new world vision have empowered a new bunch of Knights in his march towards CHANGE. As a teacher, he has instilled the principles of the 3 H’s – the Head, the Hands and the Heart as an integral part of the ‘mindful learning’ process.
“Mr. Wangchuk, through his heart-rending work for social amelioration, ignited the flame of empathy in the hearts of the students of our school, and particularly me, as to the manner in which the power of an individual “David” like determination dwarfs the Goliaths of social opprobrium, lack of resources, and even recalcitrance of local and governmental authorities. Behind the simple appearance lies a man of high virtues, who inspired me to go out and act, not retract; to serve, not be served; and above all, to value my material luxuries while always persevering to attain the wealth of leadership through social service.” wrote Devyansh Agarwal. Grade 11.