Focus area: Children’s Education
Location: Nagauri village, Uttar Pradesh
Background: Illiteracy is deep-rooted and often building schools is not enough to reverse this trend in traditional societies. Some parents are resistant to modern education as they fear it will corrupt their children and weaken family ties.
In an inspiring story of hope, dreams and persistence, IDRF worked with a long-time Indian American donor from New Jersey, Dr. Jaipal Rathi, to realize his dream for quality education in his native village, Nagauri in Uttar Pradesh. What started out two decades ago as an experiment under a thatched roof has today changed the social landscape of the entire region, spanning 25 villages.
IDRF started the project in 1980s against stiff opposition from the community. The school began with just two classrooms and two teachers. The first students made the best of these limited facilities and Dr. Rathi continued to provide funds. As the school’s reputation grew, so did its enrollment. Villagers who once opposed it clamored for the school to expand its capacity. Soon children from five other villages were attending the school and IDRF had to provide a tractor-trolley to bring them to class. The school also expanded from primary school up to 10th grade.
Dr. Rathi has continued to raise funds for the Nagauri school, enabling IDRF to provide capital improvements like additional rooms, faculty apartments, a library, a computer room, science labs, media equipment, sanitation facilities and on-site power generators.
Today, a fleet of five school buses transport over 1,000 students to the school from nearby villages. More significantly, the project has changed local attitudes toward education. At the insistence of the parents of female students, IDRF supported the expansion of the school to include 11th and 12th grade. The girls now have access to quality education close to home, empowering them to secure equal rights and opportunities in their adult life.
We are very proud that the Nagauri school students are excelling academically and are competitive with the more privileged children from urban areas. Open to children of all faiths and backgrounds, the school also teaches about ethics, cultural heritage, hygiene and self-reliance.