Village Schools in Rural North India
With the generous support of the its membership, the Himalayan Institute helps provide education for approximately 3,000 children in impoverished rural villages in the districts of Pratapgarh and Allahabad in north India. Prior to our adoption, three of the four schools we support 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 has resulted in capital improvements for four schools, including the Sri Lalita Devi School, Sant Kabir School and Lal Bahadur Shastri School, which were able to build new classrooms and purchase desks and chairs. Salaries for teachers ensure ongoing classes. The pride in their new schools is apparent in the faces of both teachers and students.
“Now, we can progress. Now, we have hope for a different destiny. Now we have the chance to be a part of your global world.” – Meena Pandey, Age 11
The schools also serve as educational centers for villagers, cultivating awareness about the ill effects of the dowry system, adolescent marriages, and the mistreatment of women. The Institute provides incentives to teachers and students to educate the population on sanitation, health, and sustainable farming.
Unfortunately, there are many more schools in need of classrooms, teacher salaries, and text books. We invite you to adopt a school. Learn how you can help.
Support for a Traditional Sanskrit School
In the district of Jaunpur in north India, the Institute supports 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 provides 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 provides scholarships for about 50 village students, paying for their tuition, and for copybooks, pencils, and school supplies. Young girls are especially targeted for scholarships as their education is often neglected in favor of the boys in the family.
Your generous donations make it possible for these children to attend school, empowering them to fight poverty and illiteracy.
The Institute is proud that its educational scholarship program has now reached Africa as well. Click here to learn more.