The 2021 INSPIRE Awards – MANAK goes to children from Gram Vikas Residential Schools


By GV News Desk

15 January 2022

Five students from three Gram Vikas Residential Schools for Adivasi children win the Government of India’s 2021 INSPIRE Awards – MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) for their grassroots innovations. 

The ‘Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE)’ is one of the flagship programmes of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India. DST and the National Innovation Foundation – India (NIF) jointly execute the award to foster creativity among children studying in Classes 6-10. 

In 2021, the award recognised students from three Gram Vikas schools for their innovative ideas for low-cost honey collection, grass cutting, smart transportation gate, use of waste straws from mushroom production to make vermicompost, and safe transportation. 

The awardees are Priskila Raika and Umakanta Mallik, from Class IX of the Gram Vikas High School in Kankia, Ganjam, Kusha Sabar from Class VIII from the Mahendratanaya Ashram School in Gajapati, and Pramod Naik and Laichan Majhi from Classes VI and VII from the Gram Vikas Shiksha Niketan school in Kalahandi. 

Priskila says that the making of honey collector is simple, “We only need two long bamboo sticks with a sliding mechanism, two hemisphere blades and one plastic container. One bamboo stick is placed on top of the other, a ring-like structure is made, and a plastic container is inserted into it to collect the honey. First, we must get rid of the bees by smoking the trees and then we have to reach the plastic container up to the beehive such that the beehive is inside the plastic container. Then slide the other bamboo in which blades are connected so that the whole beehive is cut down in one attempt.” She says that the machine makes honey collection easier and protects the collectors from injuries caused due to falling from the trees. 

Umakanta wants to save costs for poor farmers who have to pay anywhere between ₹20,000 to 30,000 to rent a grass-cutting machine. He says, “We need six pieces of 3.7-volt 18650 lithium batteries, a small solar cell to recharge the battery pack, a 24-volt motor, 20 Gillette Blades that cost ₹3, and a stick. The Solar Cell is tied to the stick and the battery pack to which a fan blade is attached. Ten Gillette blades are fixed to each of the fan blades. When we switch on the motor, it will rotate by taking power from the DC battery pack, the fan blades also rotate and by the help of Gillette blades connected to the fan blades, the grass can be easily cut down.” He says that the DC power supply with rechargeable features ensures that anyone can use the equipment in rural areas with frequent power shortages or without power lines to their fields. 

Laichan made the Smart Check Gate as a tribute to the soldiers who died in Pulwama. “This idea can protect our brave soldiers. I used electronics components, an LDR resistor, an HL battery, a 120K ohm resistor, a 1N4007 diode, a Flyboard and a switch to make this gate. Whenever anybody enters this zone without permission, the gate will shut automatically. If someone is carrying bombs or drugs at that time, the gate will scan and will shut automatically.” 

Pramoda says his vermicomposting idea can help a farmer earn between ₹1000-2000 per month. “We only need two cement tanks, earthworms, cow dung and water for this. If the farmers use this process, then they don’t have to buy chemical fertilisers anymore, and this will increase the fertility of their lands.” 

Kusha’s Smart Bag has a handle and wheels with different pockets for arranging books as per the timetable, a pouch for a first-aid kit, a temperature and heartbeat tracker, and a panic button with a GPS tracker. “If any child faces any threat or abuse, the police, parents, or the teachers can easily find them using this tracker”, says the Class VIII student. 

Gram Vikas’ first residential school, Mahendratanaya Ashram School, was set up in 1992 to provide quality education to Adivasi children from the Mahendragiri area of Gajapati district in Odisha. Since then, three more schools have been built and have graduated 1241 first-generation learners (523 girls) from Adivasi communities in 173 habitations in Odisha. 

Know more about our work in education: https://www.gramvikas.org/focus_area/education/

Reporting by Chandrika Patnaik 

Science Lab at Gram Vikas Residential School, Kankia.

Photograph from Gram Vikas Photo Archive


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