Stone Soup Leadership Institute’s Educational Curriculum
A.T. Ariyaratne had the idea of bringing upper-caste high school students to help rebuild remote poverty-stricken villages in Sri Lanka and teaching them practical life skills while developing compassion. He called his crusade Sarvodya, a word Gandhi used to mean “the awakening of all, and it has become the world’s largest volunteer movement with people working together to improve over 11,000 villages. In this story, we learn how one boy’s life is changed by the Sarvodya, and how after moving to the United States, he returns to his home village to share a message with the children there. “Sarvodya awakens young people, who then awaken their families, their communities, then the world,” Patrick says, “but the awakening must start first with each one of us.”
1. Why did the village people have hope? How did they know that things would get done?
2. Would you help feed one person by sharing your meal with another?
3. Would you spend your summer at a work camp helping people with “gifts of labor”?
4. What do you think Patrick means by “awakening must start first with each one of us”?
Qualities and Values
• Sharing • Camaraderie • Hope • Teamwork • Brotherly love • Spirituality
Lessons You Can Learn
1. By building roads together, they built a family, a community and a spirit in their village.
2. People of different religions can work together to meet common goals.
3. Volunteer projects can transform entire villages — and even countries.
• Add to spelling list: caste, crusade, compassion, Sarvodaya, shramadanas, mali and ayya.
• Teach students a loving-kindness meditation or a simple Buddhist chant.
• Find Sri Lanka on a map and study its history. Have students request information from the department of tourism. Write a report on the resources and challenges of Sri Lanka .
• Study the Gandhian and Buddhist principles for organizing community development.
• Identify other examples of “inter-class” cooperation in the U.S. and the third world.
• Research and write a report on technologically appropriate energies like windmills and methane generators used in third world countries and in America .
• Visit a working windmill and study how they are designed and maintained.
• Create a local work camp project that addresses specific needs in your community.
• Develop a directory of service groups/opportunities to volunteer in your community.
• Invite students who travel with their families to visit the Sarvodaya: Arisar@sri.lanka.net
• Develop a directory of alternative energy sources like solar power, windmills etc. Ask your local newspaper to print it and distribute it to families in your community.
• Find a village somewhere in the world that could use support (contact Oxfam-America). Identify their needs as well as the resources in your community that could help support them. Compose a plan and invite people in your community to join in helping this village.