Project Asian Elephants 101, a week-long program, will be delivered in three phases. First we will screen the epic film, Gods in Shackles, that exposes the plight of Asian elephants, followed by Q&A. Next, the in-class sessions will cultivate theoretical and conceptual skills. The last two days offer Nature Immersion, when the 101 youth will connect with elephants, nature and one another. It will create mind shifts, and galvanize them to lead their communities, equipped with empowerment tools.
Education will foster compassion and reverence, inspiring the youth to protect and conserve Asian elephants. Experiential learning will enhance cognitive skills, expand imagination, unlock creativity, and instill leadership skills, guiding a new generation of informed policy/ decision makers to make mindful choices. Baba Dioum, Senegalese forestry engineer, said, "In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."
In April 2019, VFAES held the first iteration of its groundbreaking youth empowerment program, involving in-class sessions, nature immersion, slow pedagogy, and other innovative methods to engage the youth. Graduates of the program received an “Elephant Ambassador” certificate from Kerala’s Director General of Police. The program was so well received that the Inspector General of Police was hoping to have this program launched in three more districts. However, COVID prevented us from implementing this program in 2020 and 2021.