Of the 210 million children in India, 50% are unable to read. Lack of a proper education means children have less opportunity to rise above poverty and are more vulnerable to crime, violence, economic instability, and poorer health outcomes.
Village Schools in Rural North India
Over the last decade, the Himalayan Institute has supported education for thousands of children in impoverished rural villages in the districts of Pratapgarh and Allahabad in north India. Prior to our efforts, many of these schools held all their classes outside on the ground or in dilapidated thatched huts. Students from kindergarten to 12th grade attended classes outside under the trees. Consequently, there was no school when it rained or during very hot weather.
Textbooks, notebooks, chalkboards, and even pencils were in short supply; and audio-video aids, reference books, art supplies, and other equipment of modern classrooms were impossible dreams. Teachers held outside full-time jobs to supplement insufficient and frequently unpaid salaries, thus often missed classes. Tuition fees of about fifty cents were prohibitive or a burden for some students. Not surprisingly, many children dropped out long before finishing the 8th grade.
Himalayan Institute funding enabled the schools to build new classrooms, and purchase vitally needed equipment, books, and teaching supplies. Salaries for teachers ensured ongoing classes.
Support for a Traditional Sanskrit School
In the district of Jaunpur in north India, the Institute has supported a pathashala, or traditional Sanskrit school. For half a century, this school has been an active institution for the indigenous arts and sciences of ancient India. It is one of the rare schools where Sanskrit is the medium for teaching and speaking.
With the Institute’s support, the Sanskrit school built new classrooms and established a library. Institute funding also provided lodging and boarding to students studying in the traditional Gurukula style, in which students study scripture and practice spiritual discipline while living with their teachers.
The efforts have helped to reintroduce subjects such as Vedic astrology, Vastu shastra (Vedic architecture), and the science of mantra and rituals. The ancient wisdom of the sages is preserved in the hearts and minds of those who study here.
Tuition fees for schools in rural northern India are minimal by US standards, but prohibitive or a burden for many village children. Support from the Institute provided scholarships for dozens of village students, paying for their tuition and school supplies.
The Institute is proud that its educational scholarship program has now reached Africa as well. Click here to learn more.