A messenger of peace from Melbourne - Educator embarks on Gandhi experiment to build kind communities in city cradles

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  • Published 23.10.14

Kindness begets kindness.

Melbourne-based peace educator Margaret Hepworth is harping on this message in Jamshedpur schools.

In the steel city to conduct workshops for students and teachers separately on interaction and communicative learning, Hepworth on Wednesday mesmerised everyone at Narbheram Hansraj English School and Motilal Nehru Public School.

Her campaign, The Gandhi Experiment: Peace Building in Schools, aims to build a “kind community”. Her workshops include videos, Powerpoint presentations and an interactive sessions with the audience.

“Kindness always creates a community. So, as a peace educator I tell teachers how to nurture global citizens. They must engage every child in the classroom and work on radical thinking. To students, I ask them to have courage, to stop and listen to their inner voice and then advocate peace,” she said.

On how and when she decided to be a peace educator, Hepworth, who has been a teacher for three decades in Australia, said: “I started doing all this just about a year ago when I had visited Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. That particular trip changed my entire outlook. After that visit, I was absolutely sure that I wanted to be a peace educator.”

An academic and one of the directors of Kerala Public School Trust, Vijayam Kartha, initiated this workshop planned Hepworth’s visits. Schools, which want to host such workshops, have to invite her and pay an honorarium.

During this trip to India, she will visit four cities — Jamshedpur, Mumbai, Pune and Amritsar. She arrived in the steel city on Monday and will leave on October 28.

Giving details of the module of her workshops, she said that for students, she focused on how to resolve conflicts in class and how to raise one’s own expectations. “For teachers, on the other hand, the module is different where I talk about how to conduct classroom teaching, be more focused and help build character and instil values,” she added.

For city schools, it was an enriching experience, said principal of Narbheram Hansraj English School Paramita Roychoudhury.