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University of Life

A Center for Sustainable Living, Long Life & Experiential Learning   



RESIDENTS OF SYAMANTAK (SADHAK)

“A UNIVERSITY OF LIFE”

OMKAR KENI:

HE COMES FROM HOTELIER BUSINESS FAMILY. HOWEVER AFTER COMPLETING HIS GRADUATION HE HAD AN URGE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT TO BRING CHANGE IN SOCIETY... SO HE PLANNED TO TAKE HIS OWN WAY IN LIFE. OMKAR IS PURSING HIS ACADEMIC STUDY IN LAW.. HE BELEIVES THAT LAWYER ARE SOCIAL SCIENTISTS WHO CAN HELP IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SOCIETY. THEY HAVE HISTORICALLY PLAYED LEADING ROLES IN BRINGING MUCH-NEEDED CHANGE TO SOCIETY. OMKAR’S URGE IS TO BECOME A SUCCESSFUL ENVIRONMENTAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER. HE IS PRESENTLY WORKING ON PROTECTION AND WISE USE OF WETLANDS IN SINDHUDURG. RECENTLY IN AN ENVIRONMENT PETITION FILED BY OMKAR, THE NATIONAL GREEN TRIBUNAL PASSED AN ORDER TO THE PUBLIC WORK DEPARTMENT TO PAY RS. 1.5 CRORE COMPENSATION TO BIODIVERSITY COMMITEE . HE HAS BEEN A FELLOW AND MENTOR OF QUEST FOR .LEADERSHIP. OMKAR IS A MEMBER OF WETLAND BRIEF DOCUMENTATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY DISTRICT COLLECTOR. HE IS ALSO ACTIVE MEMBER OF LAWYERS FOR EARTH JUSTICE AND A  MANAGING TRUSTEE OF SYAMANTAK.

MOHAMMAD SHAIKH

A NATURE FREAK BOY FROM KONKAN WAS ONE OF THE FIRST RESIDENT OF “SYAMANTAK” UNIVERSITY OF LIFE” FORMERLY KNOWN AS “SCHOOL WITHOUT WALLS”. HE MIGRATED TO MUMBAI TO WORK FOR A COMPUTER INSTITUTE. IN A LITTLE WHILE HE STARTED HIS OWN INSTITUTE. AFTER WORKING FOR FEW YEARS HE REALIZED THAT CITY LIFE WAS NOT HIS TAKE. MOHAMMAD DECIDED TO RETURN BACK TO DHAMAPUR. HE NOW WORKS ON CONSERVATION OF ECOLOGY AND TRADITION OF KONKAN VILLAGE. MOHAMMAD IS ALSO MENTORING VISITNG INTERNS AND SYAMANTAK RESIDENTS. HIS RECENT WORK INCLUDES RESEARCH PROJECTS ON CONSERVATION OF BIODIVERSITY, TRADITION AND CULTURE OF DHAMAPUR VILLAGE. HE IS PURSUING HIS MASTERS IN ARTS. MOHAMMAD IS MEMBER OF WETLAND BRIEF DOCUMENTATION COMMITTEE APPOINTED BY DISTRICT COLLECTOR AND ALSO MANAGING TRUSTEE OF SYAMANTAK TRUST.

MRUNALINI DESAI

SHE IS THE YOUNGEST AND FIRST RESIDENT OF SYAMANTAK FAMILY. SHE WAS THREE YEARS OLD WHEN SHE MIGRATED WITH HER PARENTS FROM BHOPAL TO DHAMAPUR. SINCE THEN SHE HAS NEVER BEEN TO SCHOOL.SHE IS INCLINED TOWARDS LITERATURE AND MUSIC. DURING HER LEARNING JOURNEY AT KALKERI SANGEET VIDYALAY IN DHARWAD, KARANATAKA SHE DEVELOPED INTEREST IN HINDUSTANI CLASSICAL MUSIC AND TABLA. MRUNALINI PARTCPATES ACTIVELY IN ALL CORE JOBS AT THE CAMPUS LIKE TRADITIONAL COOKING, FARMING, EARTH CONSTRUCTION, KNITTING AND STICHING. SHE IS PRESENTLY WORKING ACTIVELY ON CONDUCTING WORKSHOPS FOR VILLAGE CHILDREN ON CONSERVATION OF CUTLURE AND ECOLOGY IN DHAMAPUR .

VISHWAS PATIL

HE WAS A SLOW-LEARNER, AND HIS SCHOOL TEACHERS THOUGHT HE MIGHT BE MENTALLY HANDICAPPED AND WAS ASKED TO LEAVE SCHOOL. VISHWAS IS RESIDENT OF SYAMANTAK FOR LAST SIX YEARS. HE COMPLETED HIS “C” LEVEL ACADEMIC EDUCATION FROM OPEN BASIC EDUCATION OF NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF OPEN SCHOOLING.  NOW HE IS LEADING THE EARTH CONSTRUCTION PROGRAM OF SYAMANTAK. HE IS A PAPER MACHE ARTISAN RECOGNISED BY MINISTRY OF TEXTILES, GOVT OF INDIA. VISHWAS AND MOHAMMAD ALSO LEADS THE NATURAL FARMING AND INDEGRNIOUS COW FARM.

SHOBHA AWTE

SHE IS THE ELDER SISTER OF SYAMANTAK RESIDENTS. SHE LOOKS AFTER SYAMANTAK KITCHEN. SHE FACILITATES SESSIONS ON STICHING AND KNITTING FOR VILLAGE WOMEN. SHE IS ALSO A PAPER MACHE ARTISAN RECOGNISED BY MINISTRY OF TEXTILES, GOVT OF INDIA.

MEENAL DESAI

MIGRATED FROM INDORE, MADHYA PRADESH TO DHAMAPUR IN 2007. SHE PURSUED HER M.A IN ENGLISH LITERATURE FROM INDORE BUT SOON REALISED THAT HER DEGREE WAS UTTERLY ‘USELESS’ IN REAL LIFE. HOWEVER, SHE QUICKLY LEARNED THAT THERE WAS A LOT SHE HAD TO OFFER PRECISELY BECAUSE OF HER LEARNING JOURNEY AT SYAMANTAK. MEENAL GUIDES SYAMANTAK RESIDENTS AND VILLAGE WOMEN IN TRADITIONAL COOKING, AYURVEDA PRACTICES, STICHING, AND KNITTING. RECENTLY SHE COMPLETED HER MASTERS IN RURAL DEVELOPMENT. HER RESEARCH BASED DISSERTATION “DYING WISDOM OF DHAMAPUR LAKE” INSPIRED US TO TAKE HER STUDY FURTHER IN PROTECTION AND CONSERVATION OF TRADITION AND ECOLOGY OF DHAMAPUR VILLAGE

SACHIN DESAI

INITAITED THE POCESS OF SYAMANTAK COMMUNITY IN A 90 YEARS OLD TRADITIONAL HOUSE AT DHAMAPUR. HE IS INSTRUMENTAL IN DEVELOPMENT OF “SWAYAM” A JOINT LIABILITY GROUP OF SYAMANTAK RESIDENTS. SACHIN IS PASSIONATELY INVOLVED IN CONCEPTUALIZING, PLANNING, RESEARCH AND DOCUMENTATION AT SYAMANTAK “UNIVERSITY OF LIFE”.


Education at University of life campus may appear to others as vocational education. What we are aiming at is not vocational education, but education using real life sustainabile activities as a medium. It benefits from the way we learn things - by actually doing them.This is not something we learned in our schools or colleges. Our emphasis is on learning while doing in real life. We believe that working with your hands is what teaches you best.  

Swapnil Patil, age 19, conducting a playgroup for village kids.  

 

 


 

Common kitchen is a place to exchange idea, values and discussion on various topics. A record of grocery and health record is done by Syamantak Residents.

 

 

 

 

Syamantak Residents and visiting Interns collected “Nirmalya” during the Ganeshji emersion at our beautiful Dhamapur Lake. They made compost fertilizer from the bio-mass waste. Computerized statistics were made by students.

Totalpopulation:1200

GaneshIdol:164

Nirmalya collected:169kg

Plastic collected: 60 kg


 

 

 

 

Toilet construction contract in village. Resident Interns earned Rs. 4,200 from the services rendered

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing and knitting techniques.

 


 

 

 

Syamantak Resident conducting computer class

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plane table survey