Every year we plan at least one educational tour for the children of Baal Sankar Kendras. This year the tour destinations were the Sardar Sarovar Dam and Nilkanth Dhaam Swaminarayan Temple located in Poicha, Rajpipla.
The excitement of such a tour is quite evident in children but it gets intensified when the journey is to begin at midnight! Three buses packed with 200 children of BSKs along with 15 staff members of Jeevantirth and 15 volunteers took off on the 18th of February, 2017, from Ramapir no Tekro, making their way through the cool night. As the children were brimming with delight, 4 hours of the journey went by in a flash.
Their first destination was the Sardar Sarovar Dam. Narmada River flows to Gujarat, making its journey of more than a thousand kilometers, from its origination point in the hills of Madhya Pradesh. Narmada provides water and livelihood to numerous people of India, it is said to be a provider for the increasing population of our country. Moreover the Sabarmati River of Ahmedabad flows throughout the year due to water being channelized from Narmada. The visit to Sardar Sarovar Dam gave the children an insight about the significance of Narmada River. Moreover, they were given a brief all-round education about water: why and how to preserve water, water cycle, uses of water, etc. The children’s curiosity about the functioning of a dam heightened once they witnessed the huge structure; Sardar Sarovar Dam is the largest of the 30 dams planned to be built on river Narmada. With wide-eyed astonishment they absorbed information about the operation of a dam and how it is constructed. Study of dams is included in their curriculum textbooks, as teachers were present during the event it helped the children gain a deeper and practical understanding of what they had learned theoretically.
Following the dam, the buses were directed to Nilkanth Dhaam Swaminarayan Temple. It is a huge campus with mind-blowing architectural beauty. What enticed the children was the setup of various activities arranged by the temple; this setup is located in wilderness safe from wild animals. Children indulged in activities like bhoot bungalow, learning about fishes through aquarium, Fun Park, watching documentary on intoxicants, etc. For 5 hours they remained immersed in the experience.
The party made it back to Ahmedabad on midnight, concluding the 24 hours tour. It needs to be said that the day of this tour, 18th February, was also the birthday of Kamlesh bhai, the coordinator of Jeevantirth’s Lok Seva Kendra. He has spent all his life among kids, he confesses that he planned the tour on his birthday in order to spend the whole day with children! This trip was filled not only with fun and delight, but also with education and information.