The Cuckoo Movement for Children has proven to be a boon like no other for underprivileged kids across the state of Tamil Nadu. Siva Raj along with his friends started this Non-Profit group in order to reach out to those children who could not afford education like their well-to-do counterparts. In 2004, when the idea was conceived, the movement began with a small library for children in Keeranur, a village near Dharapuram.
A driving force that was initially formed by a bunch of agriculturists, environmentalists and journalists with a primary goal of helping young minds started out with workshops that focussed on sustainable living, education, love and fun. As reported by The Hindu, Siva Raj said, “Children don’t play together anymore. They sit alone in front of a video game or a computer, immune to everything else around them. They don’t admire the moonlight; they don’t fall in love with a new born leaf. Our education system is largely responsible for this. See how children are killing their teachers and committing suicides at a tender age. Isn’t there something wrong with the system?”
Beyond the syllabus
What Cuckoo has been phenomenal in doing is that they not only expose the deprived children to education but stimulate creativity in them by introducing them to traditional folk arts, music, nature, martial arts, theatre, organic farming, socio-political discussions, environmental awareness and book/movie reviewing. The indigenous people learn and grow in tandem with one another thereby sharing and learning much more than they could individually.
A school in the forest
The Cuckoo Movement has been gradually manoeuvred towards the establishment of an alternate school for the rural folk and the school is soon to become a reality. The Cuckoo Forest School is aimed at striking a balance between human needs and nature’s needs. Currently the region allotted for the forest school serves as a setting for workshops and attracts artists and agriculturists. The curriculum for the school has not yet been designed since the construction of the school is currently underway. This school is being designed in order to evoke interest in students and make them love school.
How far have they come?
A simple structure made of mud can be referred to as the forest school currently. It will serve as the library and open classroom. Only materials from the forest have been used for the construction. A zen garden has been planned while a vegetable garden has already been planted along with a field of corn.
The main structure is going to be extended and much more gardening and farming will be undertaken. A permaculture garden and a pond are required to come up. Bathrooms are another need to be fulfilled soon. Approximately Rs.12,00,000 is needed for the completion of the building itself.
How they operate?
The entire project has been run on goodwill from volunteers as well as donors. Funds have so far been generated from friends and acquaintances. People from all walks of life are encouraged to be a part of this beautiful initiative. The Cuckoo School specifically requires botanists, physicists, artists, musicians, writers, directors, social media experts, farmers and gardeners.
How you can help?
Anybody willing to get their hands dirty in an endeavour to help build this school is more than welcome to volunteer. You can volunteer for as long as you wish to but at least a week is recommended in order to be able to contribute. The Cuckoo Forest School is at Puliyanur village which is six kilometres from Sigarapettai (https://goo.gl/maps/t0zlw). As a volunteer you would have to pay Rs.150 per day for the food at the school site. A basic mat in a thatched roof tent will be the stay provision. There are no bathrooms, so you must be willing to go in the wild. Basic food will be made available. There is no Airtel network at the school site but you can connect through any other network. The experience of working at this site will leave you spellbound once you get your head around it. If you wish to donate money to the cause you can use this form to donate: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/11VmQXjCAtdzaCIkpkRdZYkDs4VAIkMPsaKzHYKYnOC8/viewform
An environment becomes profitable when everyone has access to the basic amenities. Cuckoo brings that to so many people on so many different levels. They set themselves apart by accommodating nature into man’s life not just as a resource but as a companion. The Logical Indian appreciates and recognizes the work done by everybody involved with Cuckoo. They dreamt for the society and brought their dreams to life.
(Regarding any additional queries, you can contact call Senthil -9902410 113 or Sivaraj -9965689020)