Shivaji Mane: this '7th pass' makes toy-making so exciting!
Shivaji grew up in Latur, Maharashtra as the son of a cobbler. He studied till standard seven and dropped out of school to help his parents, financially. He and his brother were sent to Kerala to earn a living to pay off the debts that his parents had incurred in the hope of setting up a slipper-making unit, which closed down due to financial losses. Shivaji was quick to learn Malayalam, a language spoken in Kerala, early signs that this young teenager was a quick learner.
The family travelled to different cities in search of work where Shivaji also worked in a brick-making unit and finally settled in Pune, Maharashtra. He met a friend who worked for the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA). Shivaji too joined as part of the house-keeping team at IUCAA.
At IUCAA, one area that specifically interested him was Arvind Gupta's lab where toys were made out of trash to help explain scientific principles to children. After work, Shivaji spent time in the lab helping the team create toys and suitably impressed his soon to become mentor, guide and philosopher Arvind Gupta.
The journey from Latur to Pune; from being a 7th standard dropout to a teacher of students and teachers; from staying hungry for food to generating hunger for knowledge of scientific principles at work the fun way, among children...Shivaji Mane's journey has certainly been extraordinary.
A mother's faith and belief in her children's abilities and ambitions drive her to push the wheels of destiny in their favour. Mane's mother was no different. She pushed the family out of their fate of earning wages through hard physical labour that merely filled their bellies but didn't leave them with any savings. It's what brought them to the doorsteps of IUCAA in the year 2000 and they've never looked back, since.
Mane has conducted more than 2700 science toys workshops.These workshops are organised in schools, colleges, NGOs, societies. He also conducts these workshops at Ganesh and Navratri festivals. About 30 to 40 demonstrations are included in a single workshop and thy are ideal for kids above 10 years. There's no age limit for those interested.
Trash, like waste plastic bottles, rubber slippers, used pens, empty refills, waste newspapers, old CDs etc. are used to make toys. They make for great teaching aids for science lovers.
Shivaji is a full time faculty at DLRC (Drive Change Learning & Resource Centre) and coordinates the ‘Tinkering Lab’ at the high school.
You can reach out to Mane for his workshops on https://corner.network/shop
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