Final presentations and graduation celebration

After in field presentations, we returned to Malavli. Students had time to rest and shower and then put on their traditional saris and kurtas. Raksha and Moshi (the fantastic ISAC cook) helped the women put on their saris.

From left to right: Mike, Maya, Vanessa, Sarah, Felipe, Monifa, Zimeng, Arielle, Anna, and Kylie in our saris (women) and kurtas (men).

Felipe explains the final design his group created with Sadhana and the community.

Mike, Vanessa, and Arielle present the playspace their group designed with KESBO.

Mr. Ali, founder of KESBO, presents a certificate of completion to Anna.

We then went to the studio where students set up for their formal presentations. Savita, Mr. Ali, and the founder of Chetna joined us as guests, along with ISAC staff. The students created digital presentations capturing their entire process from beginning to end product. This included the interviews they conducted with key stakeholders in the community, sketches, keywords and insights, finalized budgets, as well as other activities and inspiration that happened along the way.

At the end of the presentations, ISAC staff presented each student with a certificate of completion in recognition of their work over the last three weeks. Both the ISAC staff and I talked about the uniqueness of this pilot program and how excited we are to make this happen and continue to go forward in the future. We recognized the time given and opportunity granted by the partnering organizations. With out their openness and willingness to give students access and flexibility, the program would not have been possible. We also talked about the students’ tremendous work and commitment to seeing their projects through and giving something of meaning to their adopted communities.

From the studio, we traveled down the road to a rented facility, where ISAC set up a lovely meal al fresco in an open courtyard. We ate delicious food and celebrated the end of a successful program and amazing, enlightening experience for all of us. Our guests from the partnering organizations joined us in the celebration.

After dinner, ISAC surprised us with a DJ. We spent the rest of the evening perfecting our Bollywood dance with Raksha as our dance leader showing us new moves, as well as traditional folk dances. We danced as the stars came out. This was a perfect ending to great experience – total immersion in Indian culture mixed with diligent, rewarding design work and a lot of fun!