Siva Raj along with his friends started Cuckoo Movement for Children in Tamil Nadu, a 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.
The organisation was formed by a group of agriculturists, environmentalists and journalists with the primary goal of helping young minds start out with workshops that focussed on sustainable living, education, love, and fun.
Beyond the syllabus
What makes the Cuckoo Movement phenomenal is that they not only expose underprivileged children to education but also stimulate creativity in them by introducing them to traditional 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 had been gradually manoeuvring towards the establishment of an alternate school for the rural folk – and that school is now a reality. The Cuckoo Forest School is aimed at striking a balance between human needs and nature’s needs.
What started as a simple structure of mud has now developed into a space for people from all across the country and not just Tamil Nadu. The school has used material only from the forest for its construction. During its inauguration on 29 March 2017, instead of the usual ribbon cutting there was a coconut coir rope tied across two poles with a knot binding them.
The school is home to several kids in need of a place they can call their own. One of the students, Kaleesh, had lost his father who had died while laying underground cables for a private network company. His mother was forced to take up the job of a construction labourer in Chennai as she was solely responsibility for feeding her four children. Kaleesh and his siblings lived with his grandmother in Puliyanur village, about 145 km from Chennai. With Cuckoo, he now has a home where he can meet and play with children his age.
The school also has a zen garden, a vegetable garden, and a field of corn.
How was the school established?
The entire project has been run on the goodwill of volunteers and 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.
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 recognises the work done by everybody involved with Cuckoo. They dreamt for the society and brought their dreams to life.