Learning Beyond Textbooks

Feb. 28, 2021

On January 23, 2021, Sudarshan and Ojashwi both updated their Facebook wall with this message:

‘Yay We Won...

Our children won the Global Children's Design-a-thon on "Clean Energy and the Climate".
Their students had designed a prototype of a Solar ‘Halo’ (plow) for which they won the prestigious award against 242 other participating schools in the 'Clean Energy and Climate' category.

This was the first time the students had gotten exposure to the global competition of this scale.

Dhanraj, Bipana, and Sujit are all 12 years old and are currently studying in grade seven. By traditional standardized test measures, they are amongst the average performing students.

However, Sudarshan, a second-year science Fellow from Malta, Lalitpur, says that they all have high aspirations. Dhanaraj aspires to become an Engineer and wants to build big buildings and bridges in the future. Bipana – hopes to follow Ojashwi’s path and become a teacher, while Sujit sees himself as a renowned carpenter and wants to own a huge wood carving shop after completing his bachelor's degree.

When asked about the idea behind Solar Halo – Dhanraj shared, “The traditional way of plowing a field is slow, difficult and painful. I don’t like it when farmers hit the animals while they are plowing.”

In most villages across Nepal, animal plows are the only affordable means for farmers.

“The alternative tractor is inaccessible and expensive in our area which as well harms the environment,” adds Dhanraj.

Bipana on the other hand had joined the group as a presenter. She is good with words, and she loves making presentations and sharing the knowledge, ideas, and concepts she has.

When asked: “Where did a seventh-grader get an idea of a solar plow?” Sujit convincingly responded: “I had seen solar panels in school on the roof of our teacher’s room and wondered how it worked. We went to Sudarshan sir to ask about it and he helped us explain the physics behind solar to motion energy.”  

“We took that concept and worked weeks to give it a shape. That is how this solar halo came into life. Ojashwi miss helped us with the presentation part,” Sujit added. 

After winning the competition, the kids have been motivated to further scale it up and take it to other regional and national competitions. 

“The kids are in the process of fine-tuning this prototype into another larger model for the upcoming science fair in their school. This fair and award have certainly escalated their confidence level,” shares Sudarshan.

Where test results define a student’s potentials and textbooks the extent to student’s learning, Teach For Nepal Fellows have been successful in finding opportunities like these science fairs and competitions that redefine learning and achievements of the students. 

Not many public schools get the opportunity to participate in events like these. These successes are not just for the students and their schools, but it is a reminder of what is possible for every student who attends public schools.


Ojashwi and Sudarshan are among the 138 Fellows who are in their second year of Teach For Nepal Fellowship. Prior to joining Teach For Nepal Fellowship, Ojashwi had completed B.A.L.L.B (Honors) , National Academy for Legal Studies and Research from India while Sudarshan completed his Bachelor’s in Public Health from LA Grandee International College.

You can support our Fellows like Ojashwi and Sudarshan by supporting their work and supporting Teach For Nepal movement.

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PO BOX 3739
140 Chitra Marga, Kantipath
Jamal, Kathmandu, Nepal

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