What we do
“Education is the most powerful weapon to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
Children in rural areas of India very often do not have access to quality education. Especially those from poor families and lower castes. Even though according to Indian law all children have the right to free education, in practice the education they get in government schools is not good enough to help them to get out of poverty. Only a good schooling gives them a chance to change their lives and do not share the fate of their underprivileged parents.
THAT’S WHY OUR SCHOOL WAS CREATED.
SHANTI INDIA SCHOOL
SHANTI INDIA SCHOOL supports 430 of the most disadvantaged children from the Bodhgaya area:
– we provide free of charge full-time education for 380 students from kindergarten to grade 10
– 50 students from class 11 to 15 are supported by us to continue their intermediate and graduation studies in college or specialized institutions
Our students get average better results in board level exams comparing to children from other schools in the area. We also have many success stories of students getting their dream jobs or being admitted to good colleges after finishing our school. That’s why many more children are willing to attend SHANTI INDIA school than we are able to accept. Their hard working parents realize that the education provided by us can change their daughter’s and son’s lives.
SHANTI INDIA school is fully accredited by Indian educational authorities.
“The time for social, emotional and ethical learning has come.” The Dalai Lama.
We teach with the aim of opening the hearts as much as the minds.
Our core courses follow the official Indian curriculum. However we make sure our students become comprehensively educated, compassionate and ethical human beings. Classes start with 10 minutes of physical exercise followed by 10 minutes of mindfulness exercises. English is taught in small classes. Sport, dance, drawing lessons are also provided. Emphasis is stressed on the importance of developing human qualities in the respect of oneself, others and the environment.
Our teachers are trained in the SEE Learning program created by Emory University with the collaboration of the Dalai Lama, which puts the tools of neuroscience at the service of a vision of education based on fundamental values of wisdom and compassion, which appears to us to be a vital necessity in a world losing its bearings and meaning. It depends on each of us to make the world of tomorrow what we want it to be, it is our responsibility, our duty, and it is now that it is being built.
Shanti India school has one teacher for every 20 to 25 students who benefit from a personalized follow-up. Each year a meeting is held for students in grades 10, 11 and 12 to advise them on their future educational plans. And against the tradition that a child of low caste does not escape her/his fate, children are encouraged to believe in a better future and their ability to build it!
Sponsoring students in high school and specialized institutions
On finishing class 10 students who enter secondary school (high school) must choose their specialization: Mathematics, Science, Commerce or Arts, which will be decisive for their future.
Hiring teachers to teach all these subjects after grade 10 would require financial means that our school does not have. But we do not want to leave the students on their own, so Shanti India tries to help them to continue their studies in high school, taking care of all costs: registration in high school and exams, private tuition, books, school equipment and transportation.
In March 2019 (in Bihar, passing exams in the upper classes take place in March), only 21 students out of 50 had a sponsor, the remaining ones are looking forward to have one!
We are trying to help the most needy ones by:
Purchasing of food, clothes, blankets, shoes…
Supplying of plastics to put on the roof of a family house
Installation of water pumps to prevent women and children from going for miles to get water
Financing for the opening of a tea shop and other small businesses.
The timely care of patients, who live in deplorable hygiene conditions, can save lives. Children suffer for various reasons, very often because of the parents’ lack of education. In the villages, many of them, affected by polio in their young age, have not even received a pair of crutches and are moving by walking on their hands and feet or knees. A simple pair of crutches and a wheelchair give them a different perspective of the world and themselves.
For families without resources, we buy medicines they require.
Micro-credit makes people self-sufficient and regain their dignity. SHANTI INDIA helps to acquire means of livelihood: animals, rickshaws, small car for the friut and vegatables sales and others.
The picture: purchase of a cow for a family who lives from the sale of milk and dairy products (Yadav caste).
The growing industrialization of India is putting the environment under severe strain. Our association is monitoring the environmental situation of Bodhgaya, participates in village cleaning campaigns, takes part in campaigns against global warming, plants trees with teachers and students from Shanti India School. We also started to develop our own permaculture cultivations – financially and ecologically sustainable ecosystem model that aims to meet most of people’s needs and to provide food security. Our students are taught permaculture so they can pass the knowledge to their parents and use it in their adult life.
Although the stray dog sterilization campaigns organized since 2013 under the aegis of the Karmapa during the Kagyu Monlam have made it possible to limit their overpopulation, their situation remains worrying because they live in a very polluted environment. Dogs are under nourished, therefore subject to severe skin diseases and other illnesses. When we can, we help some of them.