Indian connection
Fri, 22 Aug 1997 01:45:44 -0400 (EDT)

Dear George,
I read your post about your schools in India. I thought you might be
interested in talking with a friend of mine, Balbir Mathur, founder of an
organization called Trees For Life. The organization is headquartered in
Wichita, Kansas, (my hometown) because Balbir lives there, but they do most
of their work in India, Guatamala, and I can't remember where else. Balbir is
a native of India. His organization is non-profit and one aspect of it is
teaching poor people in remote villages how to plant fruit trees in home
gardens, and then having them teach other villagers the same thing, as a way
of empowering the people, giving them valuable food they raise themselves,
helping the environment, etc. Of late, Trees For Life is looking at How
People Learn, and all the possible alternatives to traditional education.
(Balbir's mother started a school in her home. It now has about 900 students.
I think it's very traditional, but Balbir still keeps in close contact with
it. Trees for Life may even have volunteers there.) Balbir is well aware
that education of the masses in India is the key to the country making a
great leap forward out of poverty. He is also aware that traditional
schooling isn't the way to go. So I thought maybe you two should talk. Balbir
was in Orlando, Florida, several months ago visiting with Disney officials
about helping Trees For Life make an animated video to be shown in remote
villages across India, telling people the value of eating the leaves of the
Drumstick Tree, which have oodles and gobs of Vitamin A in them (Vitamin A
deficiency is one of the leading causes of death among children in India, and
leads to hundreds of thousands of them going blind each year. It's all
unnecessary because Drumstick Trees grow abundantly there. But few people
know of their nutritional value.) Disney has agreed to help.
So that tells you a little about Trees for Life. Good luck. Perhaps if
the two of you get together, there could be Sudbury Schools all over India
Good luck,
Independence School, Gainesville
Oops, almost forgot to give you his e-mail address:
Phone: 316-263-7294 or 1-800-873-3736