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With 140 lectures,former school principal aims at Limca Book of Records

Giving lectures was his duty when he was serving as a teacher,but now it has become a mission.

Written by SiddharthKelkar | Pune |
May 13, 2009 10:06:30 pm

Giving lectures was his duty when he was serving as a teacher,but now it has become a mission. Anil Dandekar,a city-based retired school principal,is all set to make it to the Limca Book of Records for delivering 140 lectures on ‘Tsunami and Its After Effects and Disaster Management’ in schools over the last three years.

Dandekar has so far covered 120 schools,15 senior citizens’ forums and five Rotary Clubs from February 2006 to March 2009. Through the lectures,he has so far reached around 10,000 students in the city.

It all started when Dandekar visited Andaman and Nicobar islands in October 2005. He had gone there with an NGO that was involved in the rehabilitation of tsunami-affected people. “As the schools were devastated and children were in a state of shock,we had given them a task to boost their morale,along with teaching subjects such as english,science,mathematics and geography,” said Dandekar.

Dandekar was in Andaman and Nicobar for over two months. “After the classes,I used to roam around the islands. I could see the destruction that took place due to the tsunami. I talked to several people in different areas and clicked photographs. As a geography and science teacher,I knew some basic things,but the experiences of people added human value to it,” he said.

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When Dandekar returned from Andaman,he was once invited by a Rotary Club in the city to share his experiences. “I prepared a PowerPoint presentation to explain the subject in a better way. After the lecture,an idea struck to my mind that schoolchildren also should know it. I decided to work on it,” he said. He then met the secondary education officer and proposed the idea to give lecture on the subject totally on voluntary basis. By that time,the subject of disaster management was also included in the school syllabus. The officer liked the idea and gave a recommendation letter. “I go to different schools,show them the letter and ask them if they are interested in arranging the lecture. So far,my experience has been good,” he said. Dandekar starts his 50-minute lecture by briefing about what a tsunami is. He then moves on to the different aspects,shares his experiences and in the end talks about the need for disaster management. He also talks about what to do during an earthquake. The photographs and PowerPoint presentation makes the lecture interesting.

Dandekar has been doing this voluntarily. Though he doesn’t charge a fee,sometimes schools give him honorarium. “The biggest achievement is that I could reach a cross-section of the society and have had some extraordinary experiences. In one of the PMC-run schools,as the lecture got over,a student stood up for proposing a vote of thanks. He appealed to his schoolmates to contribute to an honorarium for me. The students raised Rs 150 from the money they had saved. Though I was overwhelmed by this gesture,I returned it to them,in all humility,” said Dandekar.

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