Universal Education School, Alice Project
A unique educational research project in India, to help develop a sustainable education and a culture of peace, towards ourselves and others.
Last year, in February 2014, when I went to India on my solo travel for three months I had the fortune to spend a day as a visitor at Alice Project School in Sarnath, close to Varanasi, the Holy city.
I got to know about the project few years back from a close friend of mine, who did volunteer there for four months and told me how extraordinary her experience was with Alice project’s students and the interesting teaching method used at the school. I was so interested that I started studying about the project through the original book written by Valentino Giacomin, the cofounder.
So when I started planning my trip to India, I decided to contact one of the cofounders, Luigina de Biasi to arrange a visit.
It was a bumpy ride, early in the morning from Varanasi as I had to be at the school at 8am to start my day with the students with the morning ritual. I could feel the air was different there, I’ve never felt so astonished and relaxed at the same time in my life. Seeing hundred of kids, from kindergarten to high school, singing and meditating together outdoor in the cold, illuminated by beautiful sunshine, was definitely an unforgettable scenario
Then when the students started their class, the head teacher took me around the school for a tour and explained the kids’ situation and their life at Alice Project School.
Before lunch I met one of the volunteers that was responsible of the school’s library. Yet again, another fascinating moment. Going through all those books full of character and stories about the method, the birth of the project and resources for the students was like immersing myself in an ocean of silence that was asking my attention.
If you are planning a trip to India or you are already in India, and want to have your own experience at Alice Project school, make sure you keep a day free on your schedule and arrange a visit (plus a donation obviously).
A little about Alice Project
The first Indian Alice Project intercultural and interreligious school was founded in Sarnath, in 1994 by two teachers, Luigina de Biasi and Valentino Giacomin, that after successfully experimenting the method– for ten years – in three Italian Governmental Schools – went to India. Initially, there were only 75 students and four teachers. Today, after 20 years of unyielding activity, the school has more than one thousand students, 43 teachers and the Indian Government officially recognizes it. Classes cover all school years, ranging from kindergarten to university.
In 2001 another school was opened in Bodhgaya, and it is now partly self-managed by the students. A third school, for the Chakma ethnic minority, is located in the State of Arunachal Pradesh.
The methodology of the project, which respects all spiritual paths, has been successfully adopted by the Aghoreshwar School in Varanasi, Tergar monastery in Bodhgaya and by some Tibetan schools in Ladakh. Also teachers in Italy, Taiwan, U.S.A., Colombia and France had started pilot projects related to the Alice Project.
Visit their website for more information.