By: Ajay Shresti, Programs Manager, Salesforce.org APAC
Last year, Salesforce in India launched its first Science Center in association with Agastya International Foundation, supporting government schools and underprivileged communities in the rural Bangalore area. To date the program has impacted over 5000 children which we are incredibly proud and excited about.
The Salesforce-Agastya Science Center embraces and promotes “learning through doing”, encouraging students to take an active role in their practical education, a very different approach to the standard theory model. By feeling, touching and experiencing science, young people, particularly those who don’t have a strong grasp for the subject are learning that science can be for everyone.
We talked to 15 year old Bhukima about her experience at the Science Centre and learned that not only has she grown in confidence through her classes, but she’s also learned a new way of thinking.
“I used to have a lot of doubts that I could never clear in school, I was afraid that people would laugh at me,” Bhukima shared with us.
On attending the Agastya classes, she says that she has learned so much about the world of science. “I didn’t fully understand the concept of energy. On attending the Agastya classes, I was able to ask the instructor and even learn from the various models they had. I have enjoyed learning new concepts by making functioning models and even have had the opportunity to do my own experiments.”
Bhumika considers herself to be introverted and shy and teachers say that she is quiet in class and other school activities. Agastya Foundation gave her the opportunity to participate in a science fair and the experience, Bhumika says, boosted her confidence.
With the support of and encouragement from her parents, she has managed be an active member of her community. “I have learned through the Agastya program that we can use what we learn to solve the problems we see around us.” Bhumika, for example, learned about the importance and the use of solar energy through attending the Agastya classes. She hopes to use this knowledge to make her community more energy efficient.
After her experience with Agastya, Bhumika says that not only has her knowledge in science increased, but she has also developed new ways of thinking. Bhumika wants to grow up to be a scientist.
“I want to use my knowledge of science to be able to encourage practices like recycling and also help people get over the superstitions.”