The need to redefine civics education

We started our exploration with one question – what makes a good democracy, and what sustains it? The answer? Citizens. There is no more important task in front of us today than building an informed, effective and responsible citizenry. Without dedicated and continual commitment on the part of all of us, the fundamental values and principles of our democracy and an open society cannot survive, let alone prosper.

Today, right now, is the time for us to build. To build mindsets that identify first with India. To build able heads and hearts steadfast in the knowledge that we are more than the sum of our parts. It is time to mould young minds into clear thinking and enlightened participants for our country’s progress.

It is time for us to build a true, united and accountable nation of people. This is our calling.

A long period of research, talking to experts and examination of six decades of governance has led us to our calling – citizenship education.

Civics, as a subject traditionally creates an awareness of our constitution, fundamental rights, our fundamental duties, institutions within a democracy, the rule of law, the mechanisms of governance and how they all permeate into our lives. Citizenship education complements and cements the Civics studies further, by inculcating a respect for others and recognition of equality of everyone in the country. Citizenship education makes us aware that for a democracy to achieve it’s goals, citizens not only elect their representatives but also actively participate in voluntary work, giving feedback and developing an opinion on key issues. It gives the citizenry a voice and enables everyone to exercise one’s judgement and critical faculty while fostering a sense of collective responsibility. Citizenship education endeavours to explain HOW the operating machinery of the state is for the people and by the people, and makes it accountable to citizens.

Desh Apnayen is attempting to add a few such layers to the Civics Curricula by making the students aware of the ‘core of democratic values’ such as:

  • “If I do not do my duty, I cannot expect others to do the same”.
  • “If the structure of Governance assumes, I am the end-all and the ‘Owner’. I must act as the owner or else, I will become a subject of the process.”
  • “Ownership means being concerned about the country and ready to discharge one’s duty happily even before claiming rights.”

If the widespread apathy amongst citizens as reflected in poor civic sense, low voting percentage, acceptance of poor goods and services is removed, a proud and progressive India is bound to emerge.

Desh Apnayen is revolutionising the way civics is approached and taught in schools.The Foundation’s innovative and engaging content that adheres seamlessly with state and national curricula and unique delivery mechanism, in which teachers of all participating schools are trained, makes civics education credible and enjoyable for school going children.



Our school programme, DISHA, is practical, innovative and aligned to our national and state curricula. DISHA provide opportunities for curiosity, exploration and team work. It is designed to invigorate both the teachers and the students and invite critical thinking, application and a motivation to study civics.

Democracy In Schools Having Action - DISHA
Schools that participate in Desh Apnayen’s School program – DISHA (Democracy in Schools Having Action) have four major benefits:
  • Access to unique, supplementary and innovative civics content mapped to curriculum
  • Access to Fellowship Program for teachers (Online teacher training workshop available)
  • Access to detailed citizenship club operational guidelines and participation in an unique social media platform
  • Participation in citizenship themed inter-school events
Desh Apnayen’s school programmes are innovative, engaging, exciting and provides experiential learning of civics. Our school program DISHA – Democracy In Schools Having Action, is designed to spark a WILL (inspiration) in the student community and develop SKILLS (Knowledge) to embrace a new consciousness, understand the levels of our government, how we operate as a nation and to question lethargy and complacency. Through DISHA , we enable children to become mature citizens, articulate in thought and action.

Unique Content

Content is designed for in-classroom learning and can be seamlessly aligned with Maharashtra state board, CBSE, ICSE and IGCSE boards. The civics content developed by Desh Apnayen is mapped to the curriculum topic wise, and grade wise with the board the school follows. The content is innovative, interactive and engaging with a focus on value inculcation and behaviour modification among young students. Keeping a teacher’s ease at heart, all our content is structured and well researched where modules come with their own session plans, units, audio visual aids, worksheets and interesting project ideas. The program is pragmatic, something that can be done in the already allotted time schools have set aside for civics. The content is fun to teach and learn and yet enables scoring well at the exams. Armed with a new perspective though, it is significantly more powerful, engaging and change making.

Fellowship for Teachers

At the heart of all our work, is collaboration. An in-house team of experts at Desh Apnayen provides excellent pedagogical and content related training to the teachers of the school that adopts the programme, and continues to hold their hand through out the academic year. We take your feedback, monitor the implementation and help you assess the value you have created in your class through our unique impact assessment framework.

We start with students to steer their natural enthusiasm and curiosity in a meaningful direction. Teachers are our partners in progress in this journey – the ones who make all results possible, who sow the seed of that one idea that can change the world. Teachers are our guiding lights.

We provide teacher fellowship program online or offline (depending on the location of the school).

Citizenship Club - Experiential learning

Desh Apnayen encourages all partner schools to start a “Desh Apnayen Citizenship Club” in their schools. It aims to provide life-learning opportunities for our youth which significantly influence and benefit their development as committed Indian citizens using experiential learning.

The purpose of the club is to:
  • develop empathetic thinking, leadership skills and expose them to various citizenship ideas,
  • inspire and train the students to be compassionate and responsible citizens,
  • achieve an augmented awareness of global social issues through a series of experiential, engaging and fun loaded activities: simulations, debates, quizzes, art based activities, street plays, interaction with government officials, armed forces, police, role plays
  • School initiated events like, competitions, lecture series, Guest speakers, and panel discussions.

Community Engagement Projects

School led civic engagement projects which are conducted by students – street beautification, inter-religious faith eventand visit to nearby NGO’s.

This program is currently funded by Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation, sponsors and donors, to ensure virtually no cost to schools and students.
This programme is unique because:
  • No change in the curriculum but a change in approach and perspective.
  • Virtually, zero cost to schools.
  • Interactive, engaging and thought-inspiring content.
  • Training to the teachers, enabling them to go that extra mile in their careers – Teacher Fellowship.
  • Recognition to well performing schools, students and teachers.
  • It engages with the students in a unique way which imparts skill and a will for transformation.
  • Events at school and inter school level which promote citizenship education and civic participation.
Implementation of Desh Apnayen school program
Pilot project in Mumbai
Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation has launched the School programme as a pilot project in Mumbai for the academic year 2015 - 16.

Desh Apnayen’s innovative, engaging and curriculum based civics content, is currently delivered grade wise and board wise to SSC, ISCE, CBSC and IB board schools located in Mumbai, New Mumbai and Thane. Schools participating and registering in Desh Apnayen’s programme can download the civics content through our website.

Currently Desh Apnayen conducts teacher training workshops in Mumbai to help teachers understand the content methodology and enable them to use the content easily in their classes. This training program called “Train the Trainer” is implemented at no cost to schools. The teachers then run the programme in their own classes in the already stipulated time they have for social science or civics every month.

In class room civics learning is complemented with intra-school and inter-school events. These events promote citizenship education and civic participation through fun experiences.

Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation provides :
  • All the necessary audio visual content and teaching aids. This content is modelled on the prescribed textbooks for the board the school adheres to.
  • Worksheets for students
  • Units and session plans for teachers
  • Handouts for the teachers and students
  • Citizenship club - Club guidelines, activities, themes, topics, pre - determined set of instructional events.
  • Events - Information, invitation and recognition to students, teachers and Schools
Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation provides support and monitoring to the participating schools. Refresher training is also provided on a need basis.

Schools interested in participating in this programme and located in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Thane area can contact us for further details and engagement by filling in this form.

Pan India Roll Out

Desh Apnayen will do pan-India roll out of its school program in the near future. We are in the process of partnering with appropriate organisations to offer teacher training and associated support for schools situated out of Mumbai.

Out of Mumbai schools interested in participating in this programme and can contact us for further details at
Vallabh Bhanshali


Youth leadership and skill development

India is now the youngest country in the world, and it only makes sense to tap the potential of our college going youth and instil in them a sense of oneness and service for the country. To make democracy come alive again is the purpose behind our college level programmes. Hence, these programmes are centredon the themes of volunteering for good, inspiring accountability, working up from the grass roots and inclusiveness.

In the past couple of years, Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation has conducted a college programme in association with The Blue Ribbon Movement, the NSS Cell of Mumbai University, Praja and Bombay First.

The social aim of the college program was to have fellows engage in creating awareness about dialing 1916, which connects to the central complaint registration system (CCRS) of the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) in order to improve infrastructural and sanitation issues around the city.

Around 100 motivated and socially inclined students were selected from leading colleges for a rigorous 10-month leadership development program that immersed the students in personal exploration and social work in Mumbai. The program included a 2 day opening boot camp, followed by 21 skill-building sessions, which focused on fellows’ personal, professional and civic knowledge development.

The fellows, along with their volunteers, spread awareness about social issues through street plays, one-on-one interactions with citizens and surveys around their college and residential areas. By the end of the fellowship, the fellows reached out to over 5,000 people and filed 1,903 complaints to MCGM.

Desh Apnayen Sahayog Foundation will launch its new college program for college students promoting youth leadership and skill development shortly.



We partner with various social and community based organisations to make sure we effect change from the ground level.

Our other programmes for individuals and professionals are based on our deeply held values of social justice, equality and peace. We wish to inspire a sense of responsibility and self - awareness in us as citizens of this great country through endeavours like:

  • Presenting and promoting a film – ‘History of Yoga’, a film that has gathered 6000 years of evidence. An inspiring lore.
  • Vipassana Meditation ( non - sectarian )
  • Mentoring of youth
  • Haiyya - promoted and strengthened participatory democracy in urban neighbourhoods to build an aware and active citizenry.
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