Frances Arnold Science Center
With the Indian government implementing an effective adoption and foster care policy for orphans, Vatsalya has wisely and with due thought shifted its focus towards improving the quality of education for the poor and destitute in rural areas. Following the principles of a Community School, Vatsalya Shiksha Niketan is working on collaborating with 25 other schools, community leaders, parents and development agencies in close proximity to where we are located. The idea is to reach out to hundreds of other children and young adults so that they can directly benefit from our facilities and services at Vatsalya campus. To address the very poor level of interest and knowledge regarding the scope and significance of science among rural children, who mostly come from illiterate or poorly educated parents, Vatsalya had been aiming to create a special science program. A wonderful possibility presented itself when Frances Arnold won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry this year. Frances is one of Vatsalya‟s most cherished friends and supporters; therefore, the news of Frances winning the Nobel Prize was celebrated with a decision to build a Science Center in her name!
The construction of a Science Center in Vatsalya Shiksha Niketan is on-going as you read this report. It is a single floor building with an area of 1500 sq. ft., which is divided into 3 sections: Physics, Biology and Chemistry. The structure being built is a beautiful integration of a platform for experimentation as well as demonstration across many levels. The Physics section includes, but is not limited to, space and cosmology, classical mechanics and optics and electrodynamics. The Chemistry section includes organic and inorganic chemistry, bio- and geochemistry and materials science. The Biology section has microbiology, anatomy of organisms and zoology, as well as botany and evolutionary biology. This will be an attractive building with a solar-powered globe sitting on top of the front cantilever roof, wallpapers of the cosmos, the periodic table, evolutionary charts etc. It will be a space in which everyone will feel part of a bigger world not bound by language or ethnicity, where the laws of nature are felt in their true sense!
With this unique Science Center, Vatsalya Shiksha Niketan, catering for the poorest of the poor children in rural Rajasthan, will be much stronger and more dynamic in terms of quality of education, knowledge delivery and FUN with learning. A strong science program will make a huge difference to the students‟ comprehension and understanding about life in general and will most certainly enhance the quality of life for everyone involved and not only that of the children. Our aspiration for this Science Centre is that it should be a platform for so many potential Einsteins and Teslas! The direct beneficiaries of this intervention will be not less than 1500 in the first year, increasing each year. The number of indirect beneficiaries will be exponentially more.