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The Dream Rainbow City Project: The Gandhi College of Social Work (India)

Hi everyone,

We would like to let you know about an exciting project that UCP-SARnet has become involved with - the creation of the Gandhi College of Social Work in India.

The following is a brief description of the Dream Rainbow City Project.

There are over 1,300 colleges of social work worldwide. India has more than 10% of this number, but there is still a lack of professional social workers in the development sector. In addition, students obtaining degrees in social work very often do not have hands-on experience connecting them to the real world. Although many colleges have begun to implement in-service learning as an educational strategy, such programs are usually offered in urban centers and offer at most one month of "exposure" to rural conditions. In developing countries, there is a great disparity between metropolitan and rural life, and these are mostly rural areas that need social workers. As a result, some government social and rural uplift programs are hampered because urban-trained professionals fail to grasp the rural dynamics. By implementing the project presented below, we plan to fill this gap by creating a model of a rural community based college of social work education.

The goal of our project is to create a workable and replicable innovative institution of higher education to produce social workers. This institution will provide students not only with adequate theoretical training, but also with community based in-service training that is aimed at changing the community itself. We want to build a college that will be rooted in tradition and meet local community needs. We want to create a college that will not only transform local community, but will instill in its students a global perspective on local community issues. This will be assured by connecting the college with a strong worldwide network of higher education institutions in the process of developing curriculum, courses, and opportunities for students opportunities for multicultural grassroots exposure.

The Rainbow Dream College will be located at Bhitiarwa Ashram, Jamunia, Narkatiaganj, West Champaran, Bihar, India. Bhitiarwa Ashram was the first venue from which the well-known Gandhian "Satyagraha against the Indigo Merchants" took place. The land for the Ashram, as well as for the adjunct Gandhi Memorial Museum, hospital, school and Gandhi Research Centre, was donated by the Arvin family and is currently Panchayat owned. The complex that houses a Gandhi Memorial Museum is supervised by the Ministry of Culture and Youth. The Madanpur forest (part of the Valmiki tiger Reserve) is about 15 km away. With the exception of the Museum, all the other buildings are neglected and require renovation.

To learn more about the project, and to see photos and videos of the site, please visit our website.