School of Life: From Inception to Future

How did it begin and evolve?

Juhi Jain, Senior Programme Manager, CFAR , “ The ‘School of Life’ or Pathashala ke Sang Jeewan ke Rang- is a learner-centered initiative which encourages an exchange between survivors of violence and young people from less privileged settlements and students from premier academic institutions of Delhi and is guided by mentors drawn from faculty of leading colleges. The salient idea of this initiative is that any learning process must be nurtured by the experience and insights of survivors, energized and sustained by young people and facilitated and guided by mentors.”

Click here to read past processes and initiatives



From Conceiving the Initiative to Learning by Doing…


In Phase I, from June 6 to 10, 2016, 55 learners participated in an interactive workshop cum tutorial to get conceptual clarity on gender.

I want to learn how to ride a motorbike-but my brother says girls do not ride, they sit on the back seat-Manisha-17 yrs. Saboli Khadda 

When I got to know about School of Life, I got curious to know about the lessons that we possibly missed in our fourteen years of schooling we were now to discover. I wanted to learn about the lessons that matter in our day to day life. In the first capsule, we discussed about gender, patriarchy and since much of it covered under the veil of tradition religion culture, we decided to build our own understanding of it. After attending, these four enlightening days, I realised that we are all bogged down in gender stereotypes in some or the other way, we are favouring biased practice. So, every individual needs to struggle and struggle at their own level- Jayam Singh Chauhan, Miranda House

In Phase II, on August 21, 2016, 40 learners worked in five different groups in their settlements and experimented with different mediums to communicate their learning through diverse art forms.

My mother said we cannot spend money on your education, your brothers will look after us. You will marry and go to another family-Rachna, 23 yrs Kalyanpuri

We never realized how young girls who were married off early dealt with both marriage and its break-up; the interaction with the Survivors was inspiring for many of us- Injila Abbasi, Miranda House

 In Phase III, from August 29 to September 1, 2016, 50 learners did an intensive four-day hands-on training and created diverse products ranging from graphic story boards to community newspapers.

I wear a long skirt during the street play and everybody makes fun of me. But that is okay. It does not bother me- Ashish, 17 yrs Saboli Khadda

For me it’s a wonderful experience and it helped me learn a lot of things. This workshop also helped us to look within.  Gender was something new and challenging. Interacting with others, knowing their points of view and discussing withe ach other helped me to learn a lot of things which were ignored by me in the past-Niharika, Miranda House

 In Phase IV from October 20 to 22, 2016, 35 learners honed and sharpened their skills to develop four video spots.

I have to make tea and lunch before I come to college if mummy is not well. My brother will keep sleeping. It is very irritating-Khusboo, 19 yrs Bharti College

What Emerged?

Salient products that emerged were:

Five local newspapers with names as varied as - Badalta Kalyanpuri, Hamari Awaz, Aao Naya Samaj Banayein, Hamari Pehchaan and Soch Badlo, Samaj Badlo.

A collage of photographs which focused on honouring work of different kinds; signifying peace; celebrating childhood and everything they cherish.

Four graphic stories titled Bhedbhav; It is Not My Destiny; Dishoom and Seher focused on discrimination, transgender, female wrestler and marriage and sex determination.

Four Video spots titled Soch, Sex Offence, Stop and Astitva focused on zero tolerance to violence, media’s responsibility, equality and identity.

In these various products the Ideas they expressed were a mix of hope and despair.  In a newspaper dated 2036 people are still waiting for ‘Good Times’ to come; if asked to identify what is strong then it is “earthen pot that keeps the water cool”; and what is not strong is “watch, pencil or anything that stops working.”

These creative outputs were showcased in a Public Art Show held on October 25 at Bal Bhawan a premier national institution for children.

Video Gallery Photo Gallery Exhibition