Yuva-s Sanjana Balse and Abhijit Kabad from Bengaluru joyfully report on the quality time they spent at the three-day Vocational Skill Training Workshop at Srivali High School. After all, is there anything that can compare with a......                                                (May 2018)                               Photo credits - Gurudutt and Sharmila Kadle

With the Blessings of Parama Pujya Swamiji, a three-day Vocational Skill Training Workshop was conducted on 29th, 30th March and 1st April 2018 at Srivali High School, Shirali. Twenty four Yuva-s from Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Mumbai and Shirali registered for the workshop.  We were divided into 3 groups and reached Shirali, not knowing what was in store for us. Anxious, curious, unsure - we assembled at the workshop on the 2nd floor of Srivali High School where Harin Hattangadymam, Jyoti Hattangady pachi and a bunch of excited Srivali High School students of the 8th and 9th standards were waiting for us.


                                                   Our Gurumauli listening to a little mentor

We started our workshop by remembering our Revered Guruparampara with the Sabha Prarambha Prarthana. After a round of introductions, Harin mam told us that the school students would mentor us and help us with the tasks.  After the safety and waste segregation instructions, we set to work on the bed-side lamp which was our first task.  Harin mam’s precise and step-by-step instructions, patient guidance and help from our Srivali friends helped to breakdown the final goal into smaller tasks.  Our first doubts evaporated when these young students took us under their confident wings!  Measuring, sawing and chiselling to make finger-lock joints, which attach one slab of wood to the other, like intertwined fingers in a jigsaw puzzle without the use of nails, was a new concept for all of us. 

The electric saws, hack saws, drills, chisels, sanding machines, hammers, circular saw blades, and angle blades were a bit intimidating at first, but when we saw the young 13-year-olds using them with such ease, we were motivated to try our hand at them.  Once we got over our initial hesitation and gained confidence under their watchful eyes, we were on our toes trying to keep up with the Srivali School students.  Sanding, cutting, polishing saw the bed-side lamp taking shape. Their enthusiasm and keen eye for detail motivated all of us Yuva-s, to give our best to accomplish our goal.  By the end of the first day we had finished making the lamp holder. On the following day we learnt how to wire the bulb. It was such joy and a sense of accomplishment when the bulb glowed at the click of the switch! What an added bonus for us, when Harin mam told us that we could take the polished bedside lamps home! 


                       Action Time!                                Yes. this is the lamp-shade you will soon make, 

                                                                                      says a young guide

There were a number of visitors at the workshop who came to see us working together with the Srivali students.  Some Standing Committee members and special invitees came to see the young mentors of Srivali School helping the Chitrapur Yuvadhara to learn this new skill.  It was an unexpected but pleasant sight to see this role- reversal where young students meticulously checked and corrected the work of the older Yuva-s.  

Parama Pujya Swamiji arrived at the school at 5:30 pm on 30th March, 2018 and was given a tour of the Art Gallery and the Vocational Skill Training Workshop.  The students of Srivali High School explained how they worked the instruments and what they had accomplished in the last 1 year since the workshop started under Harin mam and Jyotipachi.   After the tour, the Valedictory function commenced. A welcome address with an introduction to the Vocational Skill Training Workshop was given by Harin mam. He shared his experience of teaching the students of Srivali and the Yuva-s.  Alekal mam and the Headmistress of Srivali High School Mamatapachi applauded Harin mam for his tremendous work and dedication.  Alekal mam expressed how this school was one of its kind, as the students were being trained in practical ways to earn a living. Mamatapachi shared her joy with the audience on how the children had the advantage of learning life-skills apart from exceling in academics and extra-curricular activities.  Jyothipachi told us how the children and Harinmam’s passion for this workshop gave her the energy which drives her to do more. Abhijit Kabad and Sanjana Balse spoke about their experiences at the workshop and how this will help them in the future. The vote of thanks was given by Sanjana Hervatte. Parama Pujya Swamiji blessed us with a wonderful Ashirvachana.


                                        Here is where you learn to think with your fingers!

On the 1st of April, Gaurish Padukonemam taught us Yuva-s the intricate Sanjhi art using handmade paper manufactured at Samvit Sudha. This work was then creatively put together to make colourful lamp shades for the bedside lamps.  Single-shelf racks to keep spice bottles and key chains to complex shelves to keep potted plants were made by the third Group. They were helped by some of the Yuva-s of the 1st and 2nd Group who by now had mastered the use of equipment in the workshop.

Sumptuous lunch, tea and snacks were provided by the staff of Srivali High School for all the students and Yuva-s who attended the workshop. A cup of gadbad and anjeer ice cream sponsored by the Yuva-s helped melt the distance some more! It was our way of saying thank you to our new friends for coming to mentor us despite their tight exam schedule.  On behalf of Chitrapur Yuvadhara, notepads and Parijna books were given as a token of thanks to every student for helping with the workshop.

It was a great learning experience where all Yuva-s actively participated and enjoyed themselves. We are now  looking forward to participating in more such activities regularly!

We are extremely grateful to Parama Pujya Swamiji for Their Blessings and for allowing us to experience working with our hands to learn new skills. This Workshop would not have been a success without the main initiators - Harinmam and Jyotipachi, plus constant guidance and support from Dilip Basrur mam and Archana Kumtapachi. We thank all of you from the bottom of our hearts !