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The Right Tools




For years I've felt like a traveling salesman, going from school to school with my Sikh presentation.

'Have presentation will travel', was my motto!

While hoping all along, that a better way of educating the school communities about Sikhs should happen.

Well, it did! I finally have what I've been looking for.

Is it perfect? Not quite!

But then, in my book, only the Guru is perfect! The rest are all works in progress.

Let me introduce you to two wonderful DVDs whose main aim is to educate young people about Sikhs.

The Sikh Next Door ( is a fun and engaging educational tool that introduces 6th through 12th graders to Sikhs and Sikhi. It aims to dispel the myths behind the turban and beard. It highlights the Sikh-American cultural story.

Produced in a quick-paced, broadcast television style and told through the voices of four Sikh youth, this short film is a resource that demonstrates the bicultural lives of Sikh-Americans and engages students in a discussion about multiculturalism. In the process, it communicates effectively why students should not discriminate against others based solely on their external appearance.

Curriculum tools in the project include a 15-minute DVD, and a comprehensive lesson plan. Middle school teachers can use the exercises to explore living in a multicultural society, while teaching geography and language arts. High school teachers can also use the DVD to explore world religions and culture, while addressing behavioral studies and civics.

The Sikh Next Door curriculum was designed by a team of educators and is aligned with national curriculum standards.

A team of Sikh educators, a broadcast television producer, two teen advisors, and a group of teachers and counselors worked together to design The Sikh Next Door project.

Major funding and program support came from the "September 11 Anti-Bias Project" of The National Conference for Community & Justice and the ChevronTexaco Foundation.

The Cultural Safari, a 17-minute DVD is an ideal elementary school educational vehicle celebrating American diversity.

Envisioned and produced by the Kaur Foundation (, this DVD covers five main categories: origins, history, physical attributes, festivals and holidays of the Sikhs. It is presented in an engaging and fun-style geared towards a young audience. A teacher's resource guide is part of the package. It includes activities and exercises that facilitate the teaching of the material.

The Howard County Public School system in Maryland has included Cultural Safari as part of its elementary school, social studies curriculum. An educational partnership exists between the Foundation and the Howard County Public School System, where by the school system will seek resources to spread awareness of the customs, religion, and cultural heritage shared by Sikhs in their classrooms and community.

As our nation grows and becomes more diverse, it is critical that we appreciate and understand the different backgrounds of all that makes this country great. The Foundation is actively working with school districts around the country to get it included in their curriculum.

This Vaisakhi the Foundation has launched a national campaign "Celebrating Vaisakhi Day in School."

Please order your free copy of the DVD for this campaign at:

A humble request to every Sikh parent: please share this information with the educators of your children's schools.

Please make the effort.

Let this be our personal commitment this Vaisakhi!


March 19, 2010

Conversation about this article

1: Irvinder Singh Babra (Brampton, Ontario, Canada), March 19, 2010, 5:14 PM.

Our Kaurs are giving a new, fantastic dimension to the Sikh world.

2: Sangat Singh (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), March 19, 2010, 7:56 PM.

All children fall in love with their special teachers. And you, Inni, must be one of them to be remembered for their pure adulation. The impact of these teachers on children in their formative years is profound. Sidney Poitier's "To Sir With Love' comes to mind.

3: Gurmeet Kaur (Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.), March 21, 2010, 2:02 PM.

Wonderful initiative by the Kaur Foundation. Parents/ children, please tell the educators that the welfare of our country increasingly depends on providing students with a greater understanding of world religions and cultures and respect for diversity. In the light of today's religious hatred leading into major wars, this is not a local but a global issue. Do your part and take these tools to your schools.

4: Parvinder Kaur (Virginia, U.S.A.), April 07, 2010, 6:10 PM.

I used the Cultural Safari DVD for my son last year and plan to use it again this year. It is just perfect for elementary school. Invited the principal and guidance counselor as well. Also made laminated orange colored bookmarks at Kinko' with a few bullets on Sikhism and my son's picture in a turban for kids to take home. Bookmarks are likely to be saved and read by parents as well to increase cultural awareness. Highly recommended!

5: Bibek Singh (Jersey City, U.S.A.), October 06, 2010, 12:28 PM.

A big 'Thank you'!

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