Neohumanism, at its core, is the embrace of the deepest compassionate human values and applying these in social, cultural and economic life. So, Neohumanism on a practical level consists of cultivating the mental and spiritual wisdom that nurtures social action and the welfare of others. Such programs have been carried out around the world under the name of STUVOL which stands for Student Volunteers and is part of the global Gurukul and Neohumanist Education programs.
This program was created as an extracurricular activity by Shrii P.R Sarkar and is similar to after school programs or electives. “STUVOL offers students activities through which they can develop their service spirit and grow into caring and benevolent personalities. Through STUVOL activities, students apply their learning, gain practical skills and experiences, get scope to express their creativity and resilient spirit, gain confidence in their personal strength and share their joy with others in the society.”
- Shining Stars in Syria started as a yoga for youth activity and gradually extended to social service work: visiting children’s homes, garbage collection and cultural activities. Before the war, the guides of the Shining Stars programs would visit regularly and develop their lesson plans unitedly.
- In the Philippines, a Yogi-guides program was set up, with similar activities.
- In Lebanon, a program of accelerated learning was developed where youths developed greater concentration through meditation, breathing and yoga.
- In Romania, the STUVOL spirit was applied when helping youths who had grown up abandoned and abused in the orphanages under the dictatorship of Ceausescu to find an education and transitional homes. Sponsored by the European Union, children were introduced to principles of ecology under a STUVOL-inspired program of bringing children into permaculture.
- At the Ananda Nagar High School, STUVOL programs have been ongoing for two generations, with parents who attended STUVOL activities, now sending their children to the attend the same. In India the STUVOL programs are different in nature, as the curriculum includes Prabhat Saḿgiita songs, Sanskrit, inspiring quotations recital (Ananda Vaniis), meditation, moral teachings, general knowledge, physical education including Tandava and Kaoshikii, yoga asanas, philosophy and conduct rules. Once a month the students engage in public service such as cleaning road areas and planting trees.
- In Taiwan, China and Malaysia, the current STUVOL programs are leadership trainings that inspire discussion through storytelling, songs and drama on the three themes of connection, communication and cooperation.
- In many other places around the world STUVOL is integrated in the school programs, such as at the Progressive School of Long Island, in the USA. Social service and personal insight are the core values these programs inspire in their students.
- As STUVOL programs in different locations have matured, the original STUVOL teachers are now inspiring school management through consultancy services to provide Neohumanist-inspired programs for their students. One example is the work of Vishala Baker in the USA, but there are many more as we see a new dynamic in education to making education transformative and socially engaging.