Fall 2015


Program Inspires Kids in Rural India

Meenal Rana

HSU EDUCATION PROFESSOR MEENAL RANA knows that spreading ideas like environmental responsibility and health awareness among young people can have a huge impact on everyone.

That’s why she became involved with the Environmental and Social Research Organization, or ESRO, a non-governmental organization in rural northern India that focuses on raising awareness of issues that affect the well-being of Indian people. ESRO tackles issues like waste management, sanitation, water resources, health system, rural development, livelihood and improvement of urban slums, forestry, and eco-development.

“We had 56 youth involved from rural private schools and they all had lots of enthusiasm, especially because they connected to something bigger than them—a university thousands of miles away in California. They loved the HSU connection,” says Rana.

The environmental education program Let’s Save Our Mother Earth put students to work designing and building gardens with recycled supplies. Students also participated in Eat Right to Live Bright, a nutrition and physical education program that included a 5k run and a signature campaign with the aim of raising awareness of health issues. Empowering ninth-graders with this knowledge had a broad impact. With Indian schools organized to serve students from kindergarten through 12th grade all on one campus, educators capitalized on opportunities to share this knowledge with both older and younger classmates.

Ninth-graders in the Environmental and Social Research Organization planted trees to raise environmental awareness in rural northern India.

The newest ESRO projects involve a group of ninth-graders who will be mentored by last year’s students. The 10th-graders will also help evaluate the program to make sure students are improving their grade point averages, and finding value in the work. Rana is especially interested in the potential research aspects of this work, whether that involves tracking the self-development of girls in rural India or involving her own students from HSU’s Department of Child Development.