Asmakam – a forum for self-led open learning
“I don’t believe in the idea of sending children to schools and letting them directed by someone else. The very idea that they need someone for their growth and learning is just not organic and fitting and that is when we came up with Asmakam,” says Archna Gehlot, founder of Asmakam. Asmakam is a self-learning platform that believes in value-based learning that a child must grasp and learn from the surrounding itself. The name of the organization from the Sanskrit language which means ‘Ours’ or ‘for us’ and that is what Asmakam is, a place to explore oneself.
Asmakam is an Indore based startup founded by the mother-daughter duo of Archana and Maitryee Ghelot and Itre, a very young and aspiring filmmaker as the creative director. What Asmakam does is it encourages self-learning through a space that is as organic as possible. They have multiple awareness programs and creative workshops which
a) creates awareness about the idea of unschooling and b) helps in organic learning.At Asmakam., there is no age bar like the fact that for learning, there is no age bar. During the non-corona days, they used to allow people to come and explore themselves during weekends, holidays, and vacations. The very simple 3C model of Connect, Collaborate, and Create is what Asmakam believes in. Founded in 2015 as a non-profit organization, it is providing individuals to explore new dimensions of their life.
Archana is an IITian, who shared with us that “the corporate workspace was eating me. I was not able to feel encouraged with it and that was when I decided to follow my passion for life-oriented education, sustainable living, spiritualism, psychology, natural farming, film making, optimal use of resources, food as medicine and organic living.” She believes that if there is anything that is worth knowing, then it doesn’t require teaching. It will come naturally. Picking this idea, she along with her daughter started using her farmhouse to create an organic space for home-based learning.
She tells that she lived in the US for 15 years with her children, Maitreyee and Atri. “We have been in Bharat only for the last few years. Where my daughter, Maitreyee went to school till class 8, Atri never attended any school. We always have been questioning how limitless learning is possible in a system that has everything in a limit. Maybe a child is able to learn what he is being taught in grade 5, much earlier than he reaches there. Or maybe doesn’t learn it even after passing grade 5. For me, my child Atri, not knowing anything that people of his age group know is not a problem. I don’t have any problem if my child doesn’t know the basics of English till his grade 6. He will know it and he will learn it naturally”
During the COVID Crisis
The fact that with COVID the real need for homeschooling also emerged, the very fact that how it was about to go down was something every parent was worried about. And, “needless to stress enough upon it, COVID’s happening must be seen as a sign for how important homeschooling is. Asmakam, during the lockdown, ran a campaign, during the Lockdown 1.0 called, #CoVIT21 – Compassion Virus challenge was more than 400 families connected through various social media platforms. Every day, we used to give challenges on a variety of themes like kindness, mindfulness, self-exploration etc and the families were required to write personal letters, make videos sketches or could do whatever their creative mind tells them to do.” tells Archana.
While closing the interview, we asked her about her final message to the parents and children out there, to which she said that” the only thing I could say is that we ask and expect our children to be extraordinary, to be unique and authentic but we let them consume the ordinary and same thing that every other child is receiving. In a common and ordinary environment, how can something extraordinary come and bloom? If their imagination gets restricted at the very beginning, then there is no scope for newness. Value education, life skills learning, creative learning is not just important but needed also.”
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