Project Awake and Shine

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Agathe Francoise

Agathe first came to Samthar as a tourist and after her second visit she has come every year as a friend and guide to children and teachers. With her sparkling personality and friendly instincts, Agathe has been much sought after for her creative talents. She worked together with Maureen and Margot to help the children with creative activities to reinforce English teaching. Her Kitchen garden project in now a part of the school syllabus.

The first time I visited Samthar, the school was just starting with only one class.

When I came back 4 years later, there was a complete pre and primary school, from Nursery to Class 4 !!! So, I decided to do what I could to help the school, even if English is not my mother tongue.

My first “job” was to initiate a kitchen garden, involving the 4 primary classes.

All the children were very excited about this project, and all wanted to be part of it and their teachers were also a great help.

As the school encourages the children to be active, creative and cooperative, it was easy to have them working on it. We prepared the land and when we designed the paths, the children organized  themselves to collect the stones for the paths – but what they liked more was to spread the manure, barehanded and laughing!

Then the plants grew and then came one of the most exciting moments: the first harvest, followed by a cooking session handled by Tara, our fabulous cook. They prepared pakoras, and the whole school was invited to taste them. The young gardeners were so proud!

The others times when I came to the school I proposed creative activities, aimed to be a continuation of the English lessons. Each week, the teachers choose a story book as the base of the week lessons (vocabulary, writing and speaking), so the creative activities were also based on the story. For instance, a patchwork elephant was made for an Elmer story, a lion’s mask was made with plastic plates and a lion’s trap was made by weaving for a lion story.

This was followed by various creative skills such as Tie & dye, embroidery, colour mixing,  rubberband creations, and more

Awake and Shine School is an unforgettable experience - children here are so spontaneous, so polite, so cute, and they are very keen to learn!

Just come and you will never be the same!

Our Address: Project Awake and Shine
Samthar Farm House, Basti and Post Office Samthar, Kalimpong,
Dist Darjeeling, West Bengal, India - 734301
Mobile: +91-94340-47372,E-mail : awakeandshineschool@yahoo.com, gurudongma@outlook.com, gurudongma@gmail.com
For India wide Tours and Treks go to www.astonishingindiatours.com. Mob: +91-94340-62100,