We like to think of ourselves as constituting an open learning community/network for mature learners. The programs we conduct are for 'grown-ups', and the content of the programs is of a sort that is not to be found in conventional institutions of learning...
We are a motley group of people, linked together by our vision of wholesome meaningful lives for everyone, and by our advocacy of such living...
While most of us have been involved with the 'alternative sphere' for many years, our attempt at together creating an open learning space began in late 2006 with the Gap Year College, an educational initiative that was based in the Garhwal Himalayas.
Vinish, a linguist by formal training, has been a teacher and educator in different universities and colleges for over a decade. He has been involved with environmental and social movements and campaigns; he was also the member of a Buddhist monastic order for over a decade, during which time he had the opportunity to study and explore traditional Indian philosophies and systems of living. Vinish was educated at Jawaharlal Nehru University, at IIT Delhi, and at Deccan College, Pune. His current interests include value education, and design of environmentally sound systems and technologies. Vinish is the Managing Trustee of Jeevanshala Trust.
Karuna has a long-standing concern with understanding relationships between education and visions of human possibility and development. As an educator, she enjoys sharing an appreciation for critical social theory as a lens to see relationships between things that often appear independent and disconnected. Other current interests include food, film, processual / historical analysis and collaborative ways of teaching, learning and living. Karuna was educated in Sweden, India and USA. Karuna is married to Vinish.
In Delhi & Varanasi
Mridu has been working on understanding and implementing holistic education amongst adolescents and youth for the last seven years. She has designed and facilitated workshops on life skills with adolescents, youth and teachers from rural and urban backgrounds with organisations such as, Pravah, Jamghat, British Council and SIDH. Mridu studied Economics and Political Science at Duke University, and has a keen interest in developing a holistic education curriculum for children and in understanding natural health systems. Mridu is married to Ankit Pogula.
Ankit is an independent film-maker based in Delhi. He has been engaging with youth groups on issues of Development, Identity, Environment, Self and Media for the last 5 years. He often extends these engagements into film-making processes, where the participants take these films back to their spaces for sharing and further engagement there. He seeks to draw linkages between our own lives and larger phenomena happening around the world.
Fr. Anand Mathew
Fr. Anand Mathew IMS, has for over a decade been director of Vishwa Jyoti Communications, Varanasi, a centre for media art and culture committed to promotion of human rights, primary education, communal harmony, and community building through low-cost media. He is a well known social activist and has been associated with various local and national social movements, and with movements for inter-faith harmony and collaboration. He is known for his excellence as a trainer in Group Communications and Low Cost Media.