As we all eagerly wait for the cold days of winter to end and spring to start …
Durgesh and Ashok Gupta (Donors and Volunteers) at Manas Ganga Hostel
Bodh Shiksha Samiti, Rajasthan
IDRF partner since 2015, Bodh runs a senior secondary residential school for marginalized rural girls. IDRF is supporting the hostel and educational expenses of 13 girls staying here. The Guptas toured the campus and saw how Bodh runs the facility and provides holistic education to the girls. The campus is kept clean and the dormitory rooms are spacious. They shared lunch with the students in the cafeteria and were impressed by the healthy meal options available to the girls. After school, the students participate in yoga, sports, and extra-curricular activities. They are also encouraged to celebrate cultural events on the campus where they set up booths for games and food. The girls are assigned some chores to help maintain the facility, which not only keeps the campus clean but also helps retain a sense of ownership among them.
Narratives from a home away from home!
Meet the girls at Manas Ganga Hostel
Here is an insight into the group of vibrant, smiling and hopeful girls that are residents at the hostel. These girls are full of vigor and strength and have made this hostel a home away from home.
- Our Roald Dahl Fan: Kavita Gujjar
Kavita Gujjar is a student at Manas Ganga and studies in class IX. She is 13 years old and her father is engaged in farming and her mother is a housewife, who Kavita says does just as much work at home as her father in the fields. She had studied in a government school at Tonk and IRB Bodhshala school (a school run collectively run by Bodh and IRB) before she joined Manas Ganga upon the suggestion of her teachers at school. Her favorite subject is Mathematics and she wants to pursue Science stream in school and bachelors in Mathematics in college. She then wants to become a Police officer when she grows up. She is very hopeful and excited about Manas Ganga starting its Science stream and its very own college. She loves reading books of Roald Dahl (The Magic Finger, she said, was her favorite) and likes to play soccer
2.Travel dreamer: Arpita Singh
Arpita is a student of Manas Ganga and studies in class 11th. She is 15 years old and her father is engaged in farming and rents out tube wells for farm irrigation and her mother is a housewife. She is from Uttar Pradesh and studied near her village in UP prior to joining Manas Ganga in July 2017. The subjects she finds interesting are Political Science, History and Drawing. She wishes to pursue Political Science and History in college and has always dreamt of becoming an Indian Police Service officer. She feels Manas Ganga and staying in the hostel is bringing her closer to her dream. She likes playing, singing and loves to travel! Her sister, also her local guardian here, feels that Manas Ganga and its hostel can provide Arpita with the safe, creative and engaging study space that she needs, where she will get adequately individualized attention and considerable exposure to different people and points of views.
3.Our hard worker: Kanika Kashyap
Kanika is a student of Manas Ganga and studies in class 8th. She is 13 years old and her father is engaged in farming and her mother is a housewife. She lives in a joint family and is from Dausa. She is here with her younger sister and has studied in Dausa School prior to joining Manas Ganga. She joined the school and the hostel in October 2017. Her favorite subject is Hindi and she wishes to become a teacher. She enjoys having an independent life so early in life and enjoys the discipline and organization hostel life has brought to her life. She likes keeping her room neat and tidy!
4.Our fierce fighter: Manisha Meena
Manisha is a student of Manas Ganga and studies in class 9th. She is 13 years old and her father is engaged as a construction labourer and her mother is a housewife, who sometimes works as a farm laborer to supplement the family income whenever the need arises. She joined Manas Ganga in August 2017. To her and her family, after having studied in a Bodhshala for 8 years, coming to Manas Ganga and residing in the hostel, where her family feels there is a better study environment, was the next logical step. Manisha had come to the Kukas Campus and to Manas Ganga earlier in the year in June for the consolidation of the Shiksha Samar program in which she was a student volunteer, helping out teachers in teaching kids who were below the class level in her summer vacations. She had loved the campus and its aura and is very excited to have become a permanent part of the school. She loves Science and English and wishes to study Biology in school and college and become a Police officer. She is determined to learn Karate and fight off the bad guys and gals!
5.Beyond society, beyond marriage: Shalu Gujjar
Shalu is a student of Manas Ganga and studies in class 12th. She is 17 years old and has been here with us since July, 2017. She is married and has chosen to and fought her way through societal norms to come to continue her studies at Manas Ganga, away from home as well as her husband’s home. Her parents see her education as contributing to a secure and independent future for their daughter and grandchildren. Shalu is the favorite hostel member of all the other girls and is known to all as a loving and caring friend and elder sister, who is around for all the other girls when they feel homesick or need academic help. She will be taking her board exams soon and is known to work hard and study till late in the night by all the other hostel girls.
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Donor Spotlight: A Unique Way to Help Those in Need
Dr. George Chacko came to the United States on a scholarship from Princeton University in 1953. He received his Ph.D. from the New School of Social Research and authored, edited and contributed to 79 books and journals. He always felt deeply indebted to those who had shown him kindness, and keenly felt the need to show kindness to others in turn. Ha had enjoyed a long friendship and admiration of IDRF’s Founder and President Dr. Vinod Prakash.
Just a few weeks before his demise at the age of 85 in 2016, he established a ‘George and Yo Chacko Trust’ for substantial contributions to IDRF for next 10 consecutive years. Dr. Chacko’s thoughtfulness and confidence in IDRF has left an enduring legacy for all of us!
Inspired by his first visit to Shiksha Bharati in June 2016, Mr Mohinder Gulati, one of our enthusiastic volunteers visited again in October 2016, to celebrate Diwali with the children who are living away from their families.
Visit to Shiksha Bharati by IDRF Volunteer
Reflections of My Visit to Shiksha Bharati
I had the privilege of visiting Shikhsha Bharati’s educational institute (Srimati Brahmadevi Saraswati Balika Vidya Mandir- SBVM) on behalf of IDRF on 4th June 2016. I met with the President Mr. Rajkirpal and Manager Mr. Kuldip Kasana, the Principal of the school Mrs. Alka Gupta as well as the in charge of the tribal girls’ hostel.
IDRF has been supporting Shiksha Bharati for more than fifteen years. I visited the dormitory for tribal girls constructed with IDRF funding. I also got an opportunity to interact with the girls residing there who are being supported in-part through endowments and annual grants from IDRF. Of the 78 girls residing in the hostel, 12 had left this year after completing their senior secondary education. It was a sheer joy to talk to a large group of confident and energetic young girls who are full of hopes and aspirations, ready to take on challenges and odds facing many of them, and firmly anchored in a value-system that would help them realize their potential as individuals and as productive and responsible members of the society.
The girls have been performing very well in the C.B.S.E. exams, as a result of the quality education provided by Shiksha Bharati. The school uses latest audio-visual tools, science laboratories (reasonably equipped but need further support), and has two computer labs (equipped with more than 70 computers). For example, the school organized a program with a departmental store in Delhi to provide practical experience to students in retail management. I have agreed to connect the school with a wonderful program of innovative science education being run in Bengaluru area with financial support of a World Bank program called Development Marketplace.
Tribal Girls hostel:
The hostel facilities constructed with IDRF funding are managed well. Currently it has 78 students from tribal areas- mostly from Assam but also several from other North-Eastern states, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Ladakh. 12 students have recently left the hostel after passing their higher secondary education. The hostel residents also have access to library, a covered space for indoor activities such as yoga, music, gymnastics etc. Each hostel room accommodates 6 girls and they form a small mutual support group. Filters are used for ensuring clean water. Food is cooked on campus and hostel inmates eat together. I had the opportunity to enjoy a meal with them and taste the delicious pickles made by the students.
Annual cost of education, lodging, and boarding of the hostel students comes to about Rs. 28, 00,000 per annum. Selection of tribal girls for various such schools and hostels is done through an organization called Vidya Bharati.
Enthusiasm, community spirit, and laughter of the girls was contagious. They also have access to medical facilities. I was also informed by the management that the endowment of US $6000 per student, which use to be enough in the past is falling somewhat short of requirements due to reduction in interest earning and price increase. The school is able to meet the shortfall from its own resources but may have to review the adequacy of endowment.
This IDRF and Shiksha Bharati project deserves continued support; is a very good use of IDRF funds; and should be considered for scaling up. I would like to thank Mr. Rajkirpal and Mr. Kasana for a very warm welcome, excellent support for my visit and the hospitality extended to me. It was an inspiring visit and my wife and I plan to visit the school again during our next visit to India.
-Mohinder Gulati (Maryland, USA)
Former Chief Operating Officer, Sustainable Energy for All (UN)
Former Adviser, Energy (World Bank)
We feel honored to thank you once again for your continued support to IDRF. Just in this quarter, we have accomplished new goals by supporting 3 distinct programs in 4 states-W.Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Haryana.
Read full September 2016 Newsletter here.