Udaipur Hands Down Skills

Radical Acts of Education script


Udaipur residents teach one another through the work of Shikshantar.

Photo by Angela Coles

On the streets of Udaipur, India, people learn together: Locals teach each other to grow organic food and herbs, create community art, weave ­handloom cloth, and harvest rainwater. They make bicycle-powered washing machines and blenders, and construct solar cookers and musical instruments from castoff materials.

Through the work of Shikshantar, an organization devoted to radical education and the Gandhian concept of “swaraj” (self-rule), Udaipur residents swap information and learn with their hands. Shikshantar believes anyone can be a teacher and when people collaborate, they can develop a “culture of learning.” The organization helps support that learning through community media, intergenerational ­gatherings, and apprenticeships. Check out swaraj.org/shikshantar.

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