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The Round Square Collaborative Service Project

Pathways World School, Aravali – – Special thanks to Guru Charan Kumar for sharing numerous adventures with the IB community.

By Sumit M. Dargan, Arvind K. Chalasani & Guru Charan Kumar

For most students a Service Project is a highlight and a hallmark of their time in a Round Square School. The Projects enable students to build on the personal benefits fostered by the School. Students work hard in a team, with people of other nationalities, in a different environment, toward wholly worthwhile objectives. This is an experience without equal. It provides students with an alternative, equally valuable experience.

The 6th Round Square Collaborative Service Project was hosted by Pathways World School, Aravali (India) from 9th June- 16th June, 2014. Students from The Millennium School, Dubai, Assam Valley School, Assam, Dhirubhai Ambani International School, Mumbai and Genesis Global School, Noida apart from Pathways World School as the host school came together to build six toilets for girl students at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Badshahpur and two units at Primary Boys School, Badshahpur.

In addition, the road to the Boys School was paved with the interlocking of bricks with a graduated incline so that rain water does not damage the road in the future and provides good access for the students. We also whitewashed both the school premises and uplifted the general aesthetics of the school with attractive murals. Also, at the Girl’s School, we installed an R.O. (which the School had) in a secure manner to add to the water drinking facility along with improving the water drinking station through tiling, making a trough, replacing taps and getting clean access to running water.

The delegates arrived on 8th of June, 2014 and were promptly steered in to a debriefing session led by the Round Square Representative, Mr.Sumit Dargan. Day 1 kick started with a wakeup call at five in the morning and soon we left for the Boys School. We levelled the road with bricks and boulders and filled the gaps with sand. Post breakfast we went to the Girls School. Our task for the day was to clear patches of towering shrubs which had overgrown at the proposed sanitation site. We worked with shovels and got rid of the excess foliage and in doing so, also got acquainted with the delegates from the other schools. Evening again saw us at the Boys School. Armed with paintbrushes, we whitewashed the outer walls of the School building.

Every afternoon we immersed in an Art session and from Day1, began working on our clay murals. It was delightful to see our hard work come in to fruition as we completed our Art pieces at the close of the week. The delegates also enjoyed Sport sessions in the morning when they returned from work, especially the rejuvenating Swimming hours in the pool.

The initial day was a challenge but by the debriefing session at night, we all once again geared up in our teams as our team leaders laid out the targets for the following day.

The days that followed never once saw the energy level flag or the enthusiasm amiss. In fact, as we gradually progressed with our work, we not only became more skilled at it but also discovered the importance of leadership and team work. Undoubtedly, it led to greater efficiency of work and a smooth culmination of tasks. Nature blessed us plentiful as we occasionally experienced cool showers providing a much needed respite from the scorching heat. A trip to the mall in the mid-week, gave us a welcoming break from our hectic schedule. I must admit, the entire programme was wonderfully engineered and mentored.

We also visited the previous years’ Round Square Service Project worksites to acknowledge the work done in the past years and lend more motivation and grit to fare even better at the current workplaces. At the Water Conservation Project site, Lake Patauda, we dug three trenches to provide inlets for rain water into the Patauda Lake. In the process, we also got rid of tiny weeds and boulders that were an impediment to the digging. It was hard to imagine that while we have the luxury of easy access to water for every need, the villagers, and their cattle and animals dwelling in the vicinity of Patauda, only rely on the almost dried-up Patauda Lake to satiate their thirst.

Throughout the project, we enjoyed the company and support of two Primary Boys School students, Yash and Sumit, who religiously awaited our arrival at the worksite. They not only actively contributed in the manual work but also promised to caution all in school to take care of the school property and not let our efforts go in vain.

The last day of the Service Project was eased out with an early hike to the Shiva temple at Chandrashekhar farm. Everyone got chance to spend a few memorable moments together and click some last ‘selfies’! An insightful Barazza session with the School Executive Director, Dr.Sarvesh Naidu marked the end of a truly enriching and memorable Round Square Collaborative Service Project. We had walked in on 8th of June knowing only six delegates but we walked out on 18th of June knowing all 36 and with a determination and vision that we will carry the legacy of selflessly contributing towards the betterment of our community. This Service Project has given us more than any of us had expected to gain. It was truly one of the best life-changing experiences for EVERYONE!