Where we live (in the countryside of the Himalayan foothills) is a primary school which is an important institution for the poorer farmer families. Although government run, it does not receive the necessary funds to get the basics in place: enough teachers, furniture and toilets, for example. My husband and I decided to help. And this is a message asking for your support. Weʼre raising € 3600 (Rs 3 lakh) for immediate improvements and to refurbish this village school: provide toilets and a washing room, urgent building repair, furniture and other equipment. Private initiative is absolutely welcome, and we will be able to achieve a lot given the current teachers’ openness and resourcefulness.
The following five points describe the changes that are needed most urgently:
1. Challenge: The teachers, two lovely ladies, lead a class of eighteen boys and girls of different ages and learning levels (even an autistic child) – all in one single class! Lack of staff, furniture and teaching material are the main reasons for this situation.
Solution: Find and employ two or three more teachers, and divide the children into 4-5 classes. Provide needed equipment to furnish 4-5 classrooms. We will have to pay the additional teachers’ monthly salaries from private funds.
Update: + 27. November 2018, we have just interviewed four teachers, who could potentially run classes 1 and 2. After one week probationary period, we will employ three of them. + 3. December 2018: three teacher are employed (salaries will be paid through our funds). + 5. December 2018: four more children joined the school.
2. Challenge: Crumbling building with draft, mould on walls and ceilings. No insulation from heat, cold and humidity. There are windows in each room, but no glass windows, only openings with grills. Current classroom is basically a balcony with open walls facing the morning sun, to have a bit of warmth in wintertimes. Apart from health issues, this also makes furniture / books / posters fall apart and disintegrate very fast.
Solution: internal and external brickwork, fixing roof and ceilings, refurbishment and painting of all rooms, as well as installing openable / closable glass windows.
Update: + 3. Dezember 2018: Building repairs will start at the beginning of the new year.
Given the general humidity in the walls, also the children’s drawings and artworks get spoiled quickly:
3. Challenge: The provided four toilets are not working. Two have doors but the actual toilets are out of order. Where there should be a loo we found a pile of broken bricks. The other two toilets are tiny and have neither doors nor running water. I don’t think I have to point out the hygiene issue. Forget privacy.
Solution: Rebuild the existing toilets with a proper drainage system, water flush and doors. Have separate toilets for the girls, boys, and the teachers. Also a sink for washing hands is needed.
4. Challenge: The pupils’ furniture is broken and inappropriate. If you look at the photos, you see for example that the table height does not enable them to write and work properly. The ‘desks’ are far too low. There is also a lack of teachers’ furniture, namely desk and chairs. The current two tables get shifted back and forth between the classroom and the teachers’ office. Shelves do not exist either.
Solution: Buy study tables and chairs – and also teacher desks and chairs for classrooms and office. Bigger, sturdier blackboards are needed, too.
Update: + 5. Dezember 2018: We bought large Black- and Whiteboards plus markers and coloured chalk. Awaiting detailed cost proposal for children’s desks / chairs.
5. Challenge: The government gives some money to buy rice and lentils, and there is a Bhojanmata, who cooks and serves lunch every day. However, kitchen equipment is insufficient. And there is also no sink.
Solution: Buy pots etc and install a sink with running water. Ideally also a water filter to have drinking water. As there is no electricity in the kitchen, a line would have to be installed as well.
Others: In addition to the items listed above, more is needed: books, pens, notebooks, folders, cabinets, wardrobe, playground / sports equipment, school bags, school uniforms etc.
Update: + 6. December 2018: Provided PC with software and power back up. And for 1st class pupils: magnetic letters and crayons. More to come…
The two resident teachers are strong, attentive, creative and kind women who really touched my heart. They go out of their way to make the most of the existing material. And what is available is really not much.
In view of the situation, we have decided to move forward with a hands-on-approach. This means we won’t start the complex process of establishing a charity. At least not now. The money that reaches us will be immediately used to get things done and to work through the To Do list. The idea is to make the school attractive again, to be able to accept more children (in recent years parents have fallen back to the expensive private schools) and then to receive adequate support from the government authorities.
I would like to thank you in advance for your support. Even the smallest contribution will make a big difference here. And of course I will report on the progress we make.
If you feel called to support our school project:
If you would like to make monthly donations to contribute to the new teacher salaries, please contact me.
Thank you! ♥♥♥
Note: Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you’re not a registered charity. The project leader is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.