The Man Behind the Van
If you see the Avishkar Van, you would certainly meet the jolly Mr. Mahendra Singh who has been running it for the last year. Recently awarded champion in Project Execution during the Protsahan Awards, the modest 28 year-old had always wanted to do something for the children of Mewat and this job was the perfect opportunity for him to do so. Together with Avishkar, Mr. Singh covers all 20 schools in the 19 villages within a month. They are accompanied by Mr. Mohd Sabir, who drives the van around the villages and ensures it is always in excellent condition.
During the school term, the children are fortunate to have the Avishkar van for the entire day where Mr. Singh carries out science demonstrations and practical lessons together with the Science teachers at each school. A true educator, he is particularly careful about the safety of the students when handling chemicals, and monitors experiments personally. Mr. Singh also conducts simple hygiene lessons and screens short movie clippings.
During the summer holidays, he carries out activities with students, with the hope of increasing their interest and awareness in Science. For instance, to demonstrate the concept of pressure, he has been showing students how to build their own hovercraft using a CD and balloon.
Having feared science as a child, Mr. Singh is personally convinced of the need for children to build an interest in the subject from a young age. Hence, though lessons are planned according to the government school syllabus, he continually adjusts and makes changes to his teaching method according to the students’ needs, hoping to change the notion that “Science is hard”, and get them interested in science by making his lessons fun and engaging. Ever a learner, he has attended a course at The Shri Ram School to upgrade his skills in teaching the Science subject.
Mr. Singh’s efforts have paid off, and he can see that students are clearly becoming increasingly engaged and participating more in the activities. This has led to the development of a new Science Club to be introduced next month in the Salamba and Kanwarsika villages. The club will see students with the potential to perform better in Science carrying out more intricate experiments, allowing them to be more involved and get additional hands-on experience.
Mr. Singh tells us proudly that today, “the Avishkar Van has created its own identity and needs no introduction to the people of Mewat”. The schools’ headmasters and Science teachers have been very supportive. Attendance rates increase whenever the Avishkar Van comes, with students eagerly looking forward to its monthly visit. The van has also earned a certain amount of importance in the 19 villages it travels around – villagers are aware that if the van is there, there is important news or information to be shared, and come forward to listen to the messages it delivers.
The passionate Mr. Singh says, “I hope to see my career grow within Avishkar and look forward to reaching out to people beyond the 19 villages I am currently within.”
He hopes that demand for the van will increase such that he will be able to visit each school at least twice a month. He is conﬁdent these attempts will allow the students of Mewat to move forward in the Science ﬁeld. Mewat certainly can rest well tonight with the singleminded dedication to transform education and lives that Mr. Mahendra Singh bears.