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Sunday, 4 August 2013

Closing Ceremony

Today was the closing ceremony of the ITSA workshops 2013!

I just have to say that I am so incredibly proud of all the young people who presented their newly funded projects today. It is truly amazing how you have chosen specific issues, and are really dedicated to solving those issues.

Our grant winners have some really intuitive and helpful projects. A medical camp for slum communities; helping people obtain their birth certificates; holding ITSA-like workshops dedicated to women's equality and empowerment. These projects are a true reflection and continuation of what the ITSA workshops have been aiming to do the entire month of July. Inspire the children to take problems into their own hands!

All of our mentors and families of the ITSApreneurs were also in attendance. I'm sure the kids were very happy to present the fruits of their hard labor to them as well.

Everyone was so nice and thankful, it was amazing! I really feel like there is a true ITSA community in Ahmedabad. Especially now that projects are being continued after the summer, I hope that ITSA kids will keep in touch after the workshops end.

And finally, a huge thanks to Riana and Phil  for being the reason that ITSA is still alive and well today! 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Project Symposium

Today was the ITSA 2013 Project Symposium!

Over the course of the workshops, students have been encouraged to think about which social issues they are interested in. Then, they have to think about a project that they can implement in their community to help fix this issue. These project proposal is what the ITSA workshops are all about.
However, this year, there is an exciting twist!

ITSA has been awarded grant money to give to students to help implement their projects. So, students can apply to have their projects funded, and if they are, their projects WILL be implemented! Everyone is really excited about this new aspect of ITSA, because we do want to make change, in whatever communities that we can.

For the Project Symposium, we mixed kids from different workshops, so that they could hear what other kids have planned.

I have to say, I was very impressed by the presentations that were given! All of the students were very well spoken. Even those who were normally very quiet stepped up to the task, and gave coherent presentations. The topics that I got to see were on the topics of healthcare, gender equality, child labor, and education.

I am sad that I was only able to sit in on one class of project presentations, I wish I had been able to see all of them!

Thursday, 1 August 2013


For a few days, the ITSA team is going to Rajkot! We had an intensive two day workshop series at the The Galaxy Education System (TGES). After a very eventful, yet comfortable, sleeper bus ride, we finally made it to Rajkot. We had prepared everything for the days to come. But first it was Isabel’s 21st birthday! So we had to have a midnight celebration with cake, naturally.

The next day, we were ready to go. We got to the school, and began the workshops with activites and discussions that are now ITSA classics, pointing out power and wealth inequality, as well as the costs of development. It was great to see the same activities that we had been doing for weeks worked just as well with kids from different cities, and ones who hadn’t necessarily chosen to be there. All of the kids were very involved in the discussions we had.

The next day, we took a field trip! It took us a bit to get there, but once we reached it, it was so worth it. Vishvanidam is a place where children from slum communities can go to get help with going to school. It is a warm supportive environment for the children to be in. It also acts as an orphanage to children who don’t have anyone to look after them. I was with the girls, who talked to the girls at the Vishwanigam. Personally, when I was in ninth grade, I would have been really awkward and shy, being thrown into a situation where I had to talk to kids my age that I didn’t know. But the TGES girls had no qualms about anything. They began with singing songs, and dancing with the girls from Vishvanidam. It was a great way to break the ice with them. After that, they got to asking more important questions, like which subjects they thought they needed help in. By the end of the trip, the TGES girls were planning to go back in a couple of weeks for Friendship Day, with Chinese food, music, and speakers. It was great to meet students that are so self-motivated.

It was great to feel like ITSA is spreading outside of the city of Ahmedabad, even if only to a city a few hours drive away.