Green Teacher Award
Passionate educator, naturalist and conservationist
Photo: Prachi Galange
Her simple philosophy says it all: “Children don’t just have the right to education, they have the right to quality education”. A superbly-qualified educationist, expert naturalist and engaging speaker, Nikita Pimple is a green teacher par excellence. Coming from a long line of social activists and educators, Nikita hasn’t just upheld her family values, she’s enhanced them. At the age of 26, she co-founded the Rishi Valmiki Eco School (RVES) for children from financially-challenged families. The school is run in four classrooms rented from a government school in Goregaon. Starting out with just nine students in 2010, this year saw the enrolment of 525 students from nursery through grade nine. At RVES, they reject the cookie cutter teaching style of conventional schools and embrace a more holistic approach to learning that is highly inclusive. Boring lectures are replaced with a story-based teaching module and activity-based learning, while a specially created wildlife syllabus runs smoothly alongside the mandated state board curriculum. When she saw the positive impact of the wildlife curriculum on her students, Nikita expanded its scope and set up the Kids Green Klub in 2014. Working in association with the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Nikita leads nature trails and workshops for Mumbai’s children, and also conducts wildlife camps in various Protected Areas in the country. This award isn’t testament to Nikita’s success, the voices of her students are. When 13-year-old Harshad Toradmal’s family moved away from Mumbai and enrolled him in another school, he was so unhappy with his strict new teachers and lack of nature activities that he pleaded for Nikita to talk to his parents and put him in a hostel in Mumbai so that he could continue to attend RVES. Nikita Pimple loves nature, loves her students and is changing lives through her devotion to quality education.
First published in: Sanctuary Asia, Vol. XXXVIII No. 12, December 2018