It began as a dream, a wish to make change, and today the hills of Wayanad are ripe with tales of one of the most inspirational events of the last few decades. 'Kanavu' (dream), the pet project of writer-turned activist K. J. Baby, has become a beacon of hope in education circles around the world. This school was built with the specific intention of educating Adivasi (tribal) children and cultivating a sense of pride in them. The picturesque Cheengodu Hills in Nadavayal Village play host to this unique venture, which aims at uplifting communities that tend to be forgotten by the modern system.
It began as a simple school under a thatched structure on six acres of land. Today, it is frequented by renowned scholars and academicians, to both learn and impart their techniques. In 2007, it was registered as a trust, and its ex-students took over its administration. What surprises people the most is how conventional teaching methods like classrooms and syllabus have been discarded and replaced by tribal songs and rituals. They are taught to rely on their own merits, and given extensive training in music, painting, dance, farming and martial art. Self-reliance is drilled into these kids at a young age and a belief that they can carve out a place for themselves in this ever changing world.
The children are trained to attend competitive exams, build a natural curiosity for their surroundings and inculcate a basic scientific awareness regarding the planet. Other supplementary information about the world is supplied via books, pictures and slides. The teachers live with their students without receiving any pay, following the ancient ideals of the Gurukul system. It is among the finest ventures to emanate from God's Own Country, and is a source of pride for Keralites around the world.