Venu Priya Nadella, the founder of Janyaa, has recently been interviewed by the leading Telugu daily newspaper, “Andhra Jyothi”.
You’ll find the link to the Telugu article at: http://www.andhrajyothy.com/node/56578
And here’s a preview of the article:
వెరీ నైస్..వీరి సైన్స్ ఆంధ్రజ్యోతి
Below is the English translation of the Telugu article that was featured with the interview.
Ever wondered why a person carrying a weight on his back leans forward? What is Newton’s second law of motion? How does one hear noise? Now, who can tell me the answers to these questions right away? Aah, I see some of you scratching your head thinking, “Hey, we did learn about all these things back in our school days, but how do you expect me to remember all that now?” Keeping this problem in mind, four people began with an experiment to induce fun into learning, because, it’s not just adults who forget the things that they had learnt, but even kids tend to forget as well. But on the other hand, if they acquire these nuggets of knowledge through actual hands-on experimentation, the lessons learnt are never forgotten. Basing this very principle as the foundation, these four people began to relentlessly work towards creating a lasting scientific awareness amongst the youngsters!!
“Talking about the situation of schools in India, kids in private and international schools have access to various learning tools. But what about the poor kids in the rural and government schools? The answer to that question is obvious – very limited source of tools, if any at all. That is the reason why we chose to concentrate on these poor students” says Venu Priya Nadella, the founder of “Janyaa” – a non-profit organization (NGO) that provides hands-on learning Science & Math kits to students of rural schools across the villages and even cities of India.
After securing an Engineering degree from V.R.Siddartha College of Engineering, Venu has been working in US for the past 10 years as a SAP engineer. “One day as I was dwelling on a problem, it felt like I did not understand or even remember what I studied during my school years. What did I learn through all those years in school? Did I just attend school and merely answered questions in the exam, or did I actually learn something that could count towards life…..such were the thoughts running in my mind that day. Around the same time, India saw a surge of famer suicides. Following this news about the suicides had a deep impact on me, “says Venu Priya. “What is with all these suicides? Aren’t farmers or carpenters supposed to be leading a much simpler life in their villages? Why is there such a terrible tragedy with so many farmer deaths? Something about the system is not right” pondered Venu. She did some observation in US, and came to the realization that no aspect of what she learnt back in school actually is useful to her in life. And concluded that this is the root cause of several tragedies like the farmer suicide cycle. This realization led to the birth of Janyaa!!
Common household items themselves…..
“It’s one thing to establish a non-profit organisation but to run that organisation in a way that’ll achieve one’s goals is a whole another thing. Kids who are good at studies usually have a good chance of receiving help in making further progress. But what about those kids who have been left behind? And the bigger question is, why did they get left behind? If these rural kids get a way to quickly grasp what they are learning, there is nothing stopping them“. Thinking along all these lines, the team at Janyaa decided to prepare & distribute kits of Math & Science to the students of the rural schools. “Not everyone can be a doctor or an engineer. What happens to all those people? If they have a good handle on Science & technology to go along with confidence, they should be able to lead a happy life right in their own little villages. The kits that we supply pave the path to these happy lives“, says Venu Priya. “Each kit has about 80-90 experiments. These experiments are provided to be in accordance with the curriculum and syllabus followed in the school.“
“The material used to come up with these kits is nothing but commonly used items. For example, to explain ‘ratios’, we use flowers and color pencils. They say that with the help of a small twig and 2 mangets, we explain why like poles repel each other. Barnali’s theorem is explained using 2 air bubbles. And the concept of ‘Center of Gravity’ is explained by just using a coin and a fork. All these items that go on to let kids run various experiments is what is contained in the kits supplied by Janyaa. This kit is given to the school as a whole. For Free. However, to make sure that the school teachers understand to use the kits in the right way, there are always volunteers to help them out. Volunteering is the key to the success of Janyaa. So, I encourage and appreciate volunteers to Janyaa“
A Road to a Better Life ….
“After the kits were given, if they are thrown into a corner and unused, there’s no way we can reach our goal. So, we supply kits only in those places where we have volunteers who ensure that they are indeed utilized. As a part of this precaution, we establish partnership with foundations like M.V.F, Spandana, Read India, etc. Starting off with 4 schools in Andhra Pradesh 2009, Janyaa now expanded to other states as well, including Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Orissa & Rajasthan. Janyaa is serving as a road to a better life of these poor students in as many as 492 schools in the rural towns & villages”. A girl student from the Sankarpalli Government school at Patancheru, Hyderabad, says this beaming confidence, “It has become so easy to understand Science using Janyaa’s school kits. Now, I can easily answer my questions in my exams”. “Janyaa is running with the help of my friends in America. If the Corporate companies in India also share this same sense of social responsibility & join hands with us , we can make this program reach to many, many more students. And in the same tone, Janyaa extends its welcome to all the young volunteers as well!!” concluded Venu Priya.
Interview by: Aruna Pappu