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Yatra School, Faria
Faria School update September 2009
Yatra co-founder Sanjay Jain reported back after his recent trip to the school.
"The school looks great. The structures are more solid than Bodal school but we will need to build walls at some stage as it must be unbearable in the summer. The thatched roofs are unbelievably water proof and strong.. It is a little further down the road then the original plan but the land donated by Pandit ji is well suited to a school and a large playground.
The children have also planted over 500 trees and hopefully these will provide the shade so desperately needed in such a barren habitat.
There were 5 teachers at present and about 100 children. The attendance has been down in the last week or so as Malaria is spreading through the surrounding villages. The children all looked happy and were intrigued by the "tiger" paintings that the children from Lillian Kanham Kindergarten in Australia had done.
Parents attending the parent teacher meeting
At the parent teacher meeting about 30 parents came and it seems the school has been building a good reputation although some of the villagers who obviously value education are wanting to see the school perform for a whole year before passing judgement. There is definitely community based support for the school with talk already of building more class rooms to accommodate another 50 children next year. (More funding needed so please donate online now.)
Shani, Meena, Mandira, Sanjeev and Sanjay meet some students
Shani, a nurse from Adelaide, Meena and Mandira from the Kota school and Sanjeev from Mumbai joined us the next day at the school and each were equally impressed with the teaching method and the willingness of the children to learn. The children presented me with drawings of kangaroos to show the Lillian Kanham children. (A lot of the students had not even heard of a kangaroo before.)
I also met the old man, Kalyan ji in the village in the wildlife sanctuary. Although weakened by malaria he received us warmly and made us promise to continue to support the school and then to look at building a residential school ( a man of great vision)."
The opening of Yatra Foundation's Faria School in July 2009 was such a success that it immediately outgrew its capacity.
In total, 245 children are registered to attend the school.
The school has only four wall-less huts for teaching and can only cater for a maximum of 100 children.
Another two huts will be built so that 145 children can be accommodated, selected from the 245 that have registered.
The selection process is a tough and difficult decision and will largely be weighted towards children who are not already attending or eligible for any other schools.
No water at the school is another challenge that will be overcome by a bore being dug by the end of the year.
In the interim, water is being transported in a camel cart every day.
[updated 7 November 2009]
Yatra School, Hanuman Basti
Yatra Foundation has a three-roomed building centrally situated in the ‘Hanuman Basti’ (slum) in the region surrounding Kota (Rajasthan).
The school employs teachers who are residents of the Basti who are given the necessary training and teaching support from the Principal of the school in Kota.
The Yatra School has three classrooms operating for 2-3 hours each day. The children are not required to pay any fees to attend school however their attendance is monitored. Up to 60 children attend the school.
Yatra Foundation provides the children with some fruit and drink each day.
The students are now able to sit and study more comfortably since the introduction of table and chairs.
[updated 7 November 2009]
Embroidery skills for local women
Yatra Foundation runs classes to teach embroidery skills to the women of the Hanuman basti (slum), Kota, India.
Once the women are proficient, Yatra Foundation has secured a local wholesaler to employ the women for piece work, providing their families with additional income.
It is hoped that once there is enough work the women will use the school as a resource centre and bring their children to the school, further increasing the attendance rates of the children.
This training will occur outside of school hours and provide another opportunity to positively engage the community.
Yatra is looking for other ways to empower the ‘basti’ community and provide support and opportunities to enhance the lives of the families living there.