Sep 23, 2010

Shoshit Seva Sangh - A project report

A Silent Revolution - Helping the Helpless

The fully free English medium residential school for the poorest of the poor, the children of the musahar community held its 4th Foundation Day on July 16, 2010. The Governor of the state of Bihar was the Chief Guest. The function was attended by special invitees and the parents of the children of the school. A cultural programme was put-up by the students, the highlight being an English play - ‘The Monkey King’. The headline of the report covering the event in the National daily ‘Hindustan Times’ was - ‘A School With A Difference - Shoshit Samadhan Kendra : An effort to bring musahars into the mainstream’.

A leading 7-star hotel in Delhi, Trident Oberoi, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative held an auction of two paintings by renowned artists on September 19, 2010. The proceeds from the auction of these paintings were given to Shoshit Seva Sangh.

202 musahar children of the school appeared at their half yearly examination in the 2nd week of September. The school will hold an entrance exam for new admissions in December.

An impact story

The parents of Kundan Kumar live in really sub-human conditions in a slum in the out-skirts of Patna, the capital city of Bihar. Their hut in the background tells the story of their miserable life. The father is a casual labourer and is also addicted to country liquor. This bad habit of his takes away a significant percentage of what he earns as a labourer.

Kundan Kumar is presently in class III and has been at the school for two years now. He is a bright student and for him life has a completely new meaning now. The marks obtained by him in class I and class II are given below -

Year English Hindi Maths Science Social Studies Remarks of director Class I 2008 90% 95% 92% 88% 99% Excellent work Class II 2009 90% 87% 100% 94% 98% Congratulations

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Jul 3, 2010

“Catalyst for Change” Site Visit

Reciting in front of the class
Reciting in front of the class

Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On June 6th, 2010 he visited Shoshit Seva Sangh’s school in Patna in the Indian state of Bihar. His “Postcard” from the visit:

As a form of affirmative action, universities and vocational training schools in India set aside a percentage of places for students from historically disadvantaged communities. However, in many places they don’t even receive enough applications to cover the available spots. Shoshit Seva Sangh aims to change that for the musahar community in the area around Patna.

JK Sinha, founder and chairman of the organization, believes that providing high quality education to the highest desired level to promising musahar students will enable them to be catalysts for change for their community—one that has lived figuratively and literally on the tattered fringes of society for thousands of years. From my visit to their boarding school, I would say the 200+ current students are receiving just that.

From the youngest grades the children appeared highly disciplined. While I do not think the rote learning approach typically practiced in India is the most effective, the students seemed to have the fundamental skills appropriate for their grade level. I asked a boy in 9th grade how he would solve a basic geometry problem on the board and he didn’t hesitate in getting up and very precisely working it out on the board. The school has basic classroom, sleeping and eating facilities, as well as an expanding library and a computer lab.

I was surprised to see only one girl in the school (the daughter of one of the teachers). JK Sinha said they had a scare with a boy and girl running off together. Though the children were found unharmed, he was so concerned with the scandal that could ensue from one of their girl students getting abducted that he decided to make the school only for boys. The girls currently enrolled were sent home. JK Sinha said that there were others providing very basic levels of education in the musahar communities and that such programs would still help the girls receive skills to help her as a housewife. He said they may take girls again once they have their own fully secure facilities, but this sounded far from certain. I hope that it will in fact be the case when they build their own school complex in the coming years as women and girls are an integral part of transformational change.

When the school recently expanded, JK Sinha says 750 parents came to apply for 50 open spots (and video and pictures from the event seemed to confirm this claim). In a community where formal education has not been traditionally valued, this would seem to signal the beginnings of what could be a significant transformation.

The computer lab
The computer lab

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Jun 4, 2010

Shoshit Seva Sangh - A project report

Musahar children with guardians
Musahar children with guardians

A Silent Revolution – Helping the Helpless

This project aims to provide quality education to the children of the musahar (rat-eaters) the most deprived and exploited community in India. The project runs a fully free English medium residential school for them. Thanks to the understanding and generosity of the donors, this project received the second largest donations and won a bonus of $2000 at the Global Open Challenge Round in December 2009. Since then the school has admitted 58 children in January 2010. The school hired extra floor area adding one more dormitory and two more classrooms to accommodate the new admissions. Presently the school has 204 students. All the new admissions were in pre-school class and a few in class I.

The school augmented its library by adding a few hundred more books in English and Hindi. These include encyclopedia for children. Room to Read an NGO founded by Mr. John Wood, generously donated 970 books to the school library. The school has also established a laboratory for chemistry and physics but lot more needs to be done to improve the laboratory facilities and bring it to acceptable standards. The school also purchased one acre of land for the proposed school building another acre adjoining the land purchased will be bought this year. The plan is to have a residential school to accommodate 1000 children eventually.

An Impact Story

14 year old Papu and his his parents live in a musahar ghetto called Pakhur-Pali in the Patna district. His father is a landless laborer who makes very little money. In the two years that Pappu has been at Shoshit Samadhan Kendra, he has shown remarkable aptitude and progress. He has been appointed the captain of Dr. Ambedkar House. He was one of the few musahar children who improved his academics through self study. His academic performance is excellent.

• Class VI 2007 English – 66% Hindi – 77% Maths – 91% Science – 89 % Social Studies – 78% • Class VII 2008 English – 73% Hindi – 73% Maths – 95% Science – 70% Social Studies - 70%

Pappu as well as the others at Shoshit Samadhan Kendra shall undoubtedly make a quantum jump in life when they pass-out from the school. They will act as catalysts of change for their deprived and unfortunate community. Your donation and support for Pappu will ensure a bright future for him and give new meaning to the lives of his parents!

Musahar children taking admission test
Musahar children taking admission test
Pappu of the impact story with parents.
Pappu of the impact story with parents.

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