Great Scot Archive
Issues from 1998
Issues from 1998


Tilt Shift

A life-changing experience in India

Two Year 11 boys gained eye-opening insights into global issues.

TiltShift is an annual summit where schools from around the world, all members of the Global Alliance of Leading-Edge Schools (GALES), meet and discuss major current global problems. ‘TiltShift’ is named after a type of photography where the lens is modified so that a life-size subject is turned into a miniature scale model. The idea of minimising what is initially large allows us to gain a greater knowledge and insight into different situations; for example, problems of a global nature.

We were lucky enough to participate in the third TiltShift experience where, accompanied by Ms Michele Linossier, we travelled to India for a life-changing conference. At the conference were 14 GALES schools from 11 countries, making up a total of 30 eager-to-learn students. The title of the conference was ‘The Rights Approach’, as the focus was on human rights issues, in particular poverty, migration and the environment. The 30 students were grouped into three special interest groups: Glass Ark, Dove Swarm and Empty Pocket. Glass Ark focused on environmental matters, Dove Swarm on migration issues, and Empty Pocket on problems surrounding poverty.



Our group, Glass Ark, focused on environmental issues. In our group were other schools from Japan, Thailand, the Philippines, and delegates from the host school in India.

We were the only school in which English is our first language, but we often felt as if some of the other students spoke better English than us!

With our special interest group we travelled to a small village on the outskirts of Indore named Chikhli, to interview the locals about the major environmental problems they faced. Our student hosts from the school who helped us settle for the week acted as translators, and helped us to identify some major problems.

We looked specifically at issues relating to water and agriculture. The village has a lake, but the water is unfit for consumption as the animals bathe in it, and it is highly polluted. We also looked at the problems they face with bamboo. It is needed for basket weaving, the primary trade of the village, but the villagers are limited in the amount they can use, as there are governmental restrictions on the use of the nearby forest for materials.

As a group, we looked at these problems with the hope of finding implementable solutions; however, we found that many issues were out of our control, and would require a great deal of governmental assistance. Some solutions included consulting governmental organisations to allow chopping down of trees, and installing water pumps closer to the village for easier access to drinkable water.

These ideas were included in a presentation which we showed to all the delegates involved in the conference. All the groups followed the same process, but each with their own issues, areas of focus and proposed solutions. The excursion to the village was truly special; the locals were friendly and generous, despite most living below the poverty line with little or no help from the government.

The site visit to Chikhli was a defining part of the conference, but there were also other important experiences that we took away from the summit. Creating relationships with students from all around the globe was truly special, as was the experience of exchanging and learning about other countries’ cultures.

The outcome of the trip was life-changing: we had no idea what to expect when we first stepped off the plane in India. But we have now experienced living as people do in a third world country and it has opened our eyes to how lucky we are. The bonds we formed and the memories we retain have changed our lives forever, and we are extremely grateful for the amazing opportunity we were given.


049_03 049_04



Updated: 3 October 2016