How to Solve a Problem Like Himani – School Journal from the Himalayas

In a tiny school in the Uttarakhand hills, Himani and her classmates learn how to solve real-life problems, like finding clean water for the students, cleaning up the area, and irrigating crops.

The book includes an example of a homemade water filter that can be made by readers as a science experiment.

Author: Mala Kumar, Illustrators: Ruchi Shah, Students of Himalayan Public School


Sample Text from How to Solve a Problem Like Himani – school journal from the Himalayas

March 28
It’s so hot here!
Golu was very naughty today. She climbed up a slant and would not come down. Silly goat!
Seema and Gullu had
to help me get her down.

March 30
I can see the snow-capped Himalayan peaks–Nandakot, Maiktoli, Panchachuli, Chaukhamba. But Kumaon is dry. Gullu and I help Ija and Baujyu* get water from the pump down the road, or from the stream further down. Ooof! Wish the water could reach us directly from the snowy mountains. Drinking water is difficult to get even in January, when it snows.
*Ija and Baujyu: Kumaoni words for ‘mother’ and ‘father’.

April 2
Our ten-day summer workshop with Reena didi started today. She has come from Mumbai. She asked us thousands of questions! What do you like about school? What do you not like about school? How do you commute to school? Suddenly she turned to me and asked the meaning of my name.
“Himani means snow,” I said.

Why does she ask so many questions?


April 6
Worked with Ija and Baujyu in the cauliflower patch. Then ran to school for problem-solving day! We went out in pairs to the library, and to talk to our teachers and to each other.
Then we came back to class.
1. Identify: The problem is unfiltered drinking water at school. Students keep falling sick because of this.
2. Find out: Why is getting clean water a problem here? Many streams around Kumaon are supposed to have pure water. There are no streams near our school.
3. Discuss: We found out that some people use cloth.
This only filters bigger sediments, not harmful bacteria. Manorama said they have a small water filter at home. Moringa seeds in water pots help purify water, said a teacher.

<End sample from How to Solve Problems like Himani>

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