During my last visit to India in December 2014, I had the opportunity to visit a school in the region of Kutchh (state of Gujarat), North-West of India. During my visit, I was shocked by the school's current situation. Having had the opportunity to study in an international school whilst in India, I did not realise how lucky I was. As a Law student, I am particularly sensitive to human rights issues and I believe that education is a right to which everyone should have access. As a citizen of the World, I think that humanity survives because of a "sense of unity". Each person has the power to contribute to change in the hope of seeing a united humanity based on common values.
As I am determined to see a change in the current state of the school, I thought of creating a crowdfunding project to finance the construction of an expansion of the girls' accommodation as well as the construction of bathrooms for the girls.
Mangal Mandir School
This project concerns a small school, Mangal Mandir School, which is located in a small village named Bhujodi. This school was constructed in 1998 by a benefactor of the "Rabaris" nomadic community.
In 2001, the school was entirely destroyed by an earthquake. The school is currently directed by Reva Bhai Desai, an old student of the school itself. This school was mainly created for children of nomadic people. Their parents are constantly moving around the country and as a result, they cannot offer basic education to their children. For this reason, they send their children to this school which offers them free education as well as free accommodation.
- 210 students: 120 boys and only 49 girls
- Boy's hostel: 17 rooms (12 boys in each)
- Girls' hostel: 2 rooms (17 in each), the rest of the girls live in the classrooms
- 9 teachers, 1 guard and 3 cooks
- 28 children per class maximum
- Age of the children: between 7 and 16 years, few children who are only 5
- The school is in a constant deficit (2.5 laks (3500 euros) per year))
- The Indian gouvernement subsidies only covers the costs for 120 students (100 Indian rupees per student for 10 months (1.5 Euros))
- Grades 1 to 10
Report on the current situation of the school - girls/boys
The boys are very enthusiastic to succeed in their studies because they want to escape from their ancestors' nomadic life as shepherds live in extremely difficult conditions. However, even with education up to grade 10, few are those who will find a well paid job after finishing school. Indeed, the school does not have sufficient funds to offer classes till grade 12.
The benches on which the boys are sitting are also their beds. There are no mattresses or pillows available.
It is surprising that the girls only represent 23% of all students. While the director would want to offer education to more girls, the school is restricted by their annual budget. This lack of money prevents the construction of bathrooms, which is essential for the girls’ accommodation (boys shower in the open air). More and more of herding families are willing to send their daughters to school. Every year there are about 70 applications but unfortunately there is only room for 30.
During the day, girls are also engaged in cleaning and kitchen work. This approach was established to give girls the skills needed for their future family life. In the rural parts of India, most women stay at home and do not work once married: they rarely have a place in the professional world.
Some girls doing kitchen work once their classes are over:
During summer 2015, I will travel to India to follow the development of my project. I will be available to give information on the development of my project over the months (the construction of bathrooms and the enlargement of the boarding school for girls) and please let me know if you have any further questions.