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Celebrating print makers and print making traditions of Kachchh, we invited children to create their own little masterpieces exploring print making techniques like Mono-printing, Dry Point Intaglio and Collography.
Why am I not surprised at the result! These are some of the prints made by these little creative geniuses!

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An-out-of-the-box-classroom
Imagine a classroom where you learn math with an artisan, discussing his profits and productions, a science class at a dyeing workshop to make your own clothes, and a Hindi Class where you learn to interview people from diverse backgrounds about their life and work! Imagine a classroom where your regular subjects come to life and learning is by making, observing and interacting with everyday life and surroundings! That is exactly what we did for the students of Sinchan school, who gladly left their textbooks behind and spent a whole week at Khamir. We took textbook lessons and made them relevant to Kachchh, to craft and to its people.
Sinchan is an alternative school in Bhuj, whose philosophy is learning by ‘the-play-way’ method. For the past 7 years they have been experimenting new ways to teach and learn. Our philosophies matched and Khamir turned into a school for a week! The collography classes were a part of the Khamir School Curriculum 🙂

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We even made it to the local newspaper! Sorry it is in Gujarati!
kutchi

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Little Khari had been waiting so long for this day. Every time she thought about it, her heart skipped a beat! Trying hard to contain her excitement, Little Khari skipped over to her mother, “Mother, tell me the story! Tell me again!”
It was a beautiful sunrise and her mother was preparing for their departure along with the others of the flock. She had heard this story over and over again but would never get tired of it. It was her favorite. After all, she had been named after a river from this land.
“It is beautiful my dear, the most unique place I have ever been to. You will see for yourself soon”. said her mother.
“Prepare for a grand adventure little one” cried a neighbor, “One that you will not forget!”

Soon it was time to take off, Little Khari and her mother took the wind in their wings. It was chilly but they were full of hope for the warm days they were going to have ahead.

They flew for several days, over white mountains and blue seas, over brown fields and green canopies. They crossed great mountains, they struggled through the big cities of big countries. She kept her eyes wide open throughout the journey, but was always ahead of her pack, “Let’s go! Let’s go!”, “Hurry up everybody!” she would say.
For there was only one thing on her mind.
She was eager to arrive. To arrive in Kachchh.

And so it happened. On the 11th Monday since their departure, the landscape began to give away hints of their destination.
“It is really white!” thought Little Khari, looking down at the vast white land below. Her mother had been right, but this was more than she had imagined! Within a few kilometers, the landscape had changed so quickly. No more buildings, no more big cities, no more tiny trees and people. This was all just white.

Do you know where Khari has arrived?? Storytelling for little children. Co-authored by Sujatha Padmanabhan and Shruthi Ramakrishna; and illustrated by the talented Kalyani Ganapathy, Little Khari’s little story book is coming soon on madeinkachchh.

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Bringing together the Block printers and dyers of Kachchh and Khamir, our exhibition ‘Kachchh Ji Chhaap’ is now open!

The exhibition is an attempt to tell the story of prints and print making as it unfolded from the time it was practiced on the banks of the Indus to its many facets today. Kachchh Ji Chhaap is an intricate tale of the craftsmen, bringing together narratives of their lives, their milestones and their challenges.

The Exhibition will be held at the Khamir Campus from 7th December 2013 to 28th February 2014.

We are in the government school at Devpar on a special day. It is tree day today. All the children are sitting in the morning general assembly, singing songs, shouting out spellings, reciting multiplication tables but mostly giving us curious stares, smiles and giggles.

01mskBut today is special. And we decide to play a little game.
We call for 12 volunteers; and make 2 groups; 6 boys and 6 girls from across all the classes. Their task is to form a tree as a group using their bodies; all together. I am surprised that it doesn’t even take a minute to comprehend the task. They quickly start taking shape. Huddling all together, throwing their hands up in the hair and curling their fingers.
In 2 minutes, we have 2 magnificent trees!

The teams then have to face a slight breeze. They sway all together, slowly from left to right, while the rest of the school giggles. The breeze then becomes stronger and stronger; and finally it turns into a strong wind and the tree falls down! The entire children population is by now rolling with laughter.

Look at the photos;
This is what the girls came up with;

02mskAnd here are the boys!

03msk“But wait, what is that chottu (little boy) hanging in the middle for?
“Fruit!” came the reply, “He is a mango fruit!”
Hah!

Afternoons like this bring to life a project that we have been working on for a while. Though games like these are just ice-breakers, it is amazing what they can bring about between children and a group of motley strangers like us.
Kachchh is a region rich in wildlife and lifestyles. In a quest to take this wealth of history, culture and diversity to children, we are we are working with children of rural as well as urban schools to make (story books, posters, boardgames and activities)!!
So much fun.

If you are working a similar programme, do write into us at madeinkachchh@gmail.com. We would love to hear about your experiences and share insights.
And watch this space for more exciting stuff from My Special Kachchh 🙂

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