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Support a Rural School in the Himalayas

by Aarohi
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas
Support a Rural School in the Himalayas


Submitted on October 20, 2016


Our NGO school, Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS), is a Hindi medium primary school from Kindergarten till Class 8. The children come from economically weak sections of the society, and they are mostly first generation learners.  The families are rural – either farmers or daily wage earners.  The women here form  the most vulnerable sections of the rural mountain communities, married early they proceed into a life of frequent pregnancies and child births, are subject to a host of social and nutritional prejudices during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth and lactation.  They continue to have a relentless back-breaking schedule of looking after their families, home, and farms including 4-5 hours of manual labor- head loading water, fodder, firewood, and dry leaf litter.  The annual income for these families ranges from as low as Rs 12,000/- to the highest being about 1 Lakh per annum.


Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS) school survives mainly on private donations.  We presently have 157 students (78 girls and 79 boys) enrolled from 14 of the remotest villages of the mountain state of Uttarakhand in India.  ABS has come a long way over the past 2 decades and we try our best to strike the right balance between academics, sports, cultural and co-curricular activities leading to the 'holistic development of children in a joyful learning environment'!


Our students were kept busy all the summer months with lots of co-curricular activities, art and subject workshops, and were provided an intellectually stimulating environment to grow, learn and think!


These past few months we worked intensively with our 16 school teachers to provide them with training in the form of capacity building workshops.  We investment in teaching-learning methodologies and professional development workshops so we can provide high quality education.  Although there is a government school in almost every village in the mountains, the quality of the education provided gives little chance for improved livelihood options. Rote learning and standard examinations do not give children the space to develop critical thinking skills and lead to a high dropout rate. 


Shared below is a feedback we received from our school teachers on the progress made by the ABS students.


  Focused remedial work with lagging behind learners, was a common achievement experienced by most.

  Positive behavioral changes in learners – like being honest about what they understood and what they struggled to understand.

   Improvement was seen in children’s ability to express and respond.

   Learning engagement through the use of project work.

   In the lower classes, changes were observed in children’s everyday behavior, the way they dressed, their sitting posture and a positive transformation noticed in their overall attitude towards school and learning.

   Development of reading fluency was another significant area where many teachers felt a sense of accomplishment.


Some of the key challenge areas where they coped with are shared below:



  • Lack of seriousness
  • Lack of attention
  • Retention
  • Understanding of values
  • General lack of interest in education



  • More focus needs to be put on the reinforcement of previously learnt topics and concepts
  • Hesitation
  •  Lack of practice of newly learnt methodologies
  • More efforts are required  to  self learn



  • Absence or lack of family support
  • Relationship between the school and parents/teachers and parents
  • Availability of textbooks
  • Lack of external support and exposure
  • Admissions in the middle of the year





The year 2016 started with winter vacation- school was closed in the month of January. The next couple of months were busy in school, with the syllabus getting completed in February and the final examinations in March.  Before the close of the academic session the school celebrated its annual sports day. 

 The new academic session started on April 5, 2016.  Update on student & teacher statistics for the new session is below.

  •  Total of 149 students – a decrease of 10 students from  last year (a cause of concern, and the reasons are diverse- an important factor is perhaps the upgraded local Government school in the same village).
  • There are a total of 73 boys and 76 girls this new session.
  • Staff strength reduced to 19 full time members – this includes a Principal.
  • January- June 2016, six teachers have moved on- relocation, securing a high paying Government job and one of our staff member was awarded a prestigious fellowship award were some of the reasons for this move.
  • We hired 3 new full time teachers.

 Academic Performance

We had 240 days of teaching in the last academic session. We observed a marked improvement in our students' writing, listening, and reading skills in language learning. The academic achievement for the core subjects of Hindi, Maths and English are below.

  •  80% of students from class 1-8 scored above 50% marks in Hindi. Of this 26%scored between 71-85%, and 18% were extraordinary performers and received marks in excess of 85%.
  • 68% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in English.  Of this 25%scored between 71-85% marks, and 13% obtained extraordinary scores-above85% marks.
  • 67% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in Maths.  Of this 23% scored between 71-85%, and 17% were extraordinary- scored above 85%.

 School Administration

We launched the ABS School calendar in April.  The calendar tracks the school’s activities- working days, holidays, events, projects, workshops and monthly Parents Teachers Meeting (PTA), and School Management Committee Meetings (SMC) for the entire year.

School Bus Update

Seeing a sharp drop in new admissions this year, we decided to start a taxi service to the nearby villages to pick up and drop students.  We have 30 children using this facility since May 1, 2016.  The taxi picks up children from the villages of Diyari,Peora, Kumati and Kaphura.  The response has been over-whelming and we started another taxi in July, from the villages of Chhatola, Sitla, Satkhol and Dobatiya- covering the other direction.

Sports Facilities

We received a large grant from Helping Elsewhere Foundation, UK and the Mercedes Benz International School (MBIS).  This grant was specifically donated towards purchase of baby scooters, kick scooters and tricycles; we used a small part of this fund (with permission from the donors) to purchase other sports equipment- i.e., badminton rackets, shuttle cocks, cricket bats, tennis balls, football and volley balls.  Our school sports and youth wing activities have received a huge boost now!

Co-Curricular Activities

Alongside settling into the rhythm of academics, the children were exposed to a series of educational, creative, and artistic co-curricular activities.  The first in line was Atul Pant’s science workshop, which was an extension of his ‘tinkering’ workshop conducted at ABS in December 2015. The entire activity of tinkering made our children think and collaborate and learn some essential life skills. Next in line was the butterfly workshop, conducted by Peter Smetacek, a leading expert on Indian butterflies. He gave an entertaining presentation to the students- demystifying everything about butterflies, took them for a nature walk and got them acquainted with local species and other flora and fauna and then taught our children how to make some stunning origami. In early May, we had Puranjay, Sakshi, Hemant and Raiva- all young and talented students from Delhi come down to teach our students to make shelves, coffee tables and other craft items. Later, the same month we organized 2days of art workshops. ‘AkkaBakka’, a New Delhi based team of 3 artists worked with our children and teachers to create a fun-filled and visually creative feast!

 The month of May ended with computer workshops by the enthusiastic team of Gautam, Ashutosh and Dharmendra from Quovantis- a software company. They spent time introducing our children to HTML programming and then later introducing our teacher to e-learning videos to aid their teaching.

 Teacher Training & Professional Development

Renu Sharma came on board in February this year, working part-time (3 days a week), as our Education Consultant. Renu comes with expertise in primary and middle school education in the field of language learning and enhancement. She has previously worked with an NGO called Pratham for several years with their “Read India” campaign. She has been actively involved in our teacher capacity building workshops, and introducing innovative and interactive teaching methodologies. Her presence has greatly assisted in stabilizing systems related to curriculum, collaborative planning and teaching, child-centered classroom activities, long term and everyday planning, maintaining of resource files, teacher mentoring and student and teacher evaluation.

 In January 2016, four teachers were selected for the ‘Saral Tandon Award’. Theselection was based on their appraisals and performance. The top performers were Kamla Bisht, Neema Rajput, Poonam Bisht and Kumari Vimala. They spent a week in Mumbai and visited schools like Zaya Learning Center which uses technology to enhance student interest and learning as well as to support teachers in their classroom teaching. Akanksha, Muktangan, and the American School were other schools they visited, and also interacted with teachers. This award has proved to be a great motivation for our teachers to be more creative and innovative in their work.


ParibhashaYadav: Paribhasha, a vibrant 17 year old volunteered with us over a period of 2 weeks working on creating a template for ABS’s first ever community newsletter, teaching poetry to our children and putting a together a skit on cleanliness with children of class 8.

 Monika Shukla: Monika spent 2 months with us in school, helping us review the early child curriculum and goals for the kindergarten- LKG and UKG.  She reviewed the curriculum for Social Studies for classes 6-8.  While she was here, Monika also supported Teacher training efforts in Lesson Planning and English teaching in the class rooms for classes 6-8. 

Rajshree Doshi:Rajshree is a coach for Senior Programme Managers at ‘Teach for India’ (TFI).  She also coaches principals at the Akanksha Foundation- they run the not for profit schools. Rajshree comes with an experience of coaching and mentoring teachers and Principals for almost 28 years. We were privileged to have her as a volunteer at ABS for 2 weeks! 

Asmita Joshi &Madhu Upadrasta: Were both together for a period of 10 days and worked exclusively on the library- reviewing & reviving the older system that was put in place.  They worked with teachers to coach them on the importance of creating reading habits among the students, and brainstorming with them on library activities and story-telling sessions!

ABS Staff New Joiners

  • Pradeep Rastogi started on April 1, 2016 as the class teacher for class 7.  Pradeep teaches Mathematics and Social Studies to classes 6, 7 and 8.  He comes with a total teaching experience of 10 years.  Pradeep enjoys sports, especially playing cricket.  In his free time, he loves teaching the neighborhood children, meeting parents and engaging with the local community.
  • Hema Bisht joined ABS on April 1, 2016.  She is the class teacher for class 5.  Hema teaches Environmental Studies and Science.  She has a total teaching experience of over 6 years.  Hema loves nature- feeding and taking care of stray dogs and enjoys pottering in her garden growing flowers and vegetables.
  • Geeta Joshi started with us on June 1, 2016.  She was earlier teaching in Kumati Primary school- classes 1 to 5, all the subjects.  She has a total work experience of 2 years.  Geeta’s father is also a school teacher.  She enjoys teaching Mathematics and also maintains the upkeep of our library resource centre.  Geeta takes a keen interest in getting computer literate and is spending time in our computer centre learning the skills.
Sports day in school!!
Sports day in school!!

Aarohi Bal Sansar - A Model Rural School

Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS) was started in 1994 with just 2 teachers and 8 students, today it serves 136 children from 19 of the remotest villages of Uttarakhand. It has 20 members of staff, and all are local. The school’s vision is to provide “holistic development of personality in a joyful environment”, ensuring that every child is nurtured in a “no fear” environment with the freedom to learn. Although there is a government school in almost every village in the mountains, the quality of the education gives little chance for improved livelihood options. Rote learning and standard examinations do not give children the space to develop critical thinking skills, and lead to a high dropout rate.  At ABS, our goal is to provide the right dynamic intellectual environment where students are given the opportunity to grow.


Highlights for the Year 2015

Academic Performance: We had 240 days of teaching, with focus on sports and co-curricular activities.  Our students approached their class-work and projects very eagerly.  We saw an improvement in the overall attendance this year.  We observed a marked improvement in our students’ writing, listening, and reading skills in language learning. We saw that more than 50% of our children academically fall in the categories of excellent, very good and average in the core subjects of Hindi, English and Mathematics, despite being first generation learners and coming from extremely poor households. The overall academic achievements for the core subjects in the last academic year:

Hindi: 79.5% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% marks in Hindi.  Of this 25.7% scored between 71-85%, and 18% were extraordinary performers and received marks in excess of 85%. 

English: 68% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in English, and of this 25% exceeded expectations (71-85% marks), and 13% obtained extraordinary scores (above 85% marks). 

Maths: 67% of our students from class 1-8 scored above 50% in Maths, of this 23% scored between 71-85% and 17% were extraordinary- scored above 85%. 


Scholarships: More than 50% of our students are supported through scholarship programs5 out of 9 of our primary school teachers are professionally qualified through our scholarship program.

Aarohi Bal Sansar Scholarship: The annual cost per scholar is INR 10,000/-.  Last year we added 10 students and now cover a total of 58 students under this program. School fees, uniforms, books, stationery, health-checkups and nutritional supplement three times a week get covered under the scheme.

Almora Scholarship Program: The annual cost per scholar ranges from INR 40,000- 70,000/- per year.  Last year we added 2 new students and have a total of 16 students supported currently.  These scholarships are offered to girls and boys who are academically high performers and are interested to continue their education beyond class 8 in reputed schools in Almora.

Ilya Scholarship: Offered to students from Class 4- 8 with exceptional talent in music, arts, crafts, theatre, dance, sport or exhibiting special qualities like leadership, curiosity, punctuality etc.  The annual scholarship amount is INR 1000/- per child and we currently have 10 children covered under this program.

Seema Nazareth Scholarship: Girls with limited financial means, and wishing to pursue graduate- level or vocational education, are offered an annual scholarship of INR 10,000-25,000/-.  Last year we sponsored a girl for a Nursery Teacher Training diploma at Jingle Bells School, Faizabad.

Room To Read: Girls who are high academic performers and wish to pursue their education till class 12, but have limited financial means are covered under this program.  School fees, uniforms, study materials and health check-ups are covered.  We added 8 new students and had a total of 14.  This figure has reduced from last year as the program is winding down.


Remedial teaching program: Last year we started with dedicated remedial teaching programs for Mathematics, English and Hindi.  We identified the slow learners early in the academic year and provided them with focused teaching in smaller learning groups.  The attention helped bring about remarkable changes in their comprehension, reading and writing abilities.

Co-curricular Activities: Our students had the opportunity to learn folk dances, play the local musical instruments (dholak, nangri and the drum).  Through the year they celebrated festivals, and important occasions by participating in elocution, speech and poetry competitions.  Learning traditional music and dance forms, helped instill a sense of achievement and pride among our children. 

Timeless Life-skills Workshop: Atul Pant is an Education Innovator and the Founder of Timeless Lifeskills, United Kingdom.  Atul has been visiting ABS and conducting workshops which are innovative and affordable learning solutions to impart life skills essential for success. He was here last December and carried out a 4 day workshop on ‘Tinkering with Electronics & Circuits – Thinking like a Scientist’.  The children not only learnt the content in a fun, hands-on way but also learn inter-disciplinary skills. The underlying objective was to make students aware of how Scientists think. The students learnt the basics and tinkered with different electronic components like bulbs, motors, LEDs, buzzers and switches to understand concepts like conductors and insulators, polarity, parallel and series circuits, voltage and current. They then moved to creating Electronic Art by embedding LEDs into paper circuits using copper tape and button cells. This idea of “Electronic Art” was inspired by MIT Media Lab's project.  Students used different types of material to create Electronic Art & Craft. For example, conducting dough made from ordinary flour (aata) mixed with salt was used along with play dough. Students then made simple Electronic Toys, for example the “Scribbler Bot” – a machine with a vibrating motor and sketch pens that scribble when the motor is switched on. Ultimately the workshops were all about imagination, creativity and collaboration – Timeless Lifeskills!  

Health & Nutrition: We offer nutritious snacks thrice a week in the school.  Along with this we organize cooking lessons and this helps children to learn about the nutritive value of traditional cuisine and a balanced diet.

Sports: Our large sports playground in the school campus, indoor multipurpose hall with a badminton court is open to more than 1,500 youth and children from 20 neighbouring schools. 

- Our school came first in Athletics, Kabaddi and Kho-Kho in the local area.

- Both our boys and girls primary teams stood first in Kho-Kho at the district level.  These 6 boys and 6 girls then got to play Kho-Kho at the state level.

- Our girls Kho-Kho team of 6 girls came 2nd in the state level participation.

- 2 girls (Sakshi Gutholia from village Chhatola, and Hema Bisht from village Peora) got selected at the state level for Kabbadi and received medals and certificates.


Mentors and Volunteers: Our volunteers engage with our children on a daily basis to read them short stories, and help to improve their English reading and comprehension skills.  We have a team of mentors for English, Hindi and Mathematics.

Infrastructure: We added a multi-purpose hall which has indoor sports facilities and it will also serve as a space for holding indoor cultural events at the school and community level.  We also have a recycled-tyre playground, library, computer centre equipped with 16 desktops, including a Dell server.


Looking Ahead & Challenges

Aarohi Bal Sansar continues to be un-aided and solely survives on private donations.  We have come a long way over the past 2 decades and can boast to be the best in the region in terms of infrastructure, academics, sports, cultural and other co-curricular activities leading to the holistic development of children. Looking ahead, our goals in the medium term are:

  1. Achieve high academic performance, dealing with the challenges of first-generation learners through investing in capacity building of our teachers and strengthening our mentoring program.
  2. Reach out to resource people to develop and strengthen context based and bilingual language learning.
  3. Sustain teacher salaries in order to check attrition rates.
  4. Expand our sports facilities and strengthen the curriculum to include football, basketball, cricket and badminton training. Improve upon volleyball and mountain cycling trainings.
  5. We are now primed to scale up and create an Aarohi Education Outreach initiative, and share our knowledge base with other private and public schools in more remote areas.

We aspire for a partner who will share our vision and our future goals and commit to help bring holistic education and state of art sports opportunities to these parts of rural Kumaon.



Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS) School Children
Aarohi Bal Sansar (ABS) School Children


These past 6 months our Mathematics Remedial coordinator and our education volunteer have been helping us to collate, tabulate and analyze an assessment of our Half-Yearly examination data for our school.  The data has been collated from the past three academic years. 

Our overall goal for carrying this out was to:

  • Assess the level of student achievement in the three core subjects: Hindi, Mathematics, and English.
  • To identify gaps in record collection.
  • To analyze trends in present examination data.
  • To improve learning outcomes using measurable goals.
  • To move towards a holistic assessment of student and teacher performance.

In classes 6-8 in the current academic year, 56%, 47%, and 44% of students achieved at least ‘Meets Expectations’ in Hindi, Maths, and English respectively. We would like to set a target where at least 70% of all children at ABS are able to meet expectations. As is apparent from the results, we have our work cut out for us.

In classes 3-5 the percentage of students meeting expectations or above is 51% in English, 42% in Maths, and 53% in Hindi. Our key focus is on Classes 3, 4, and 5. Students at this age are at a critical stage of development in learning styles, study habits, and memory formation.  These students can also be tracked over a longer period of time, allowing teachers, school staff, and Aarohi management to better determine the efficacy of changes to test design and teaching methodology.

We also realized that there are a number of challenges and limitations we encountered in carrying out this assessment. Some of these areas are:

  • There are gaps in our data.
  • Lack of transparency in test design, learning outcomes measured, and grading policy.
  • Current grading scale is leniently applied.
  • Strictness of marks varies from teacher to teacher and from year to year.
  • Uncertainty around a class teacher leaving the school in mid session.

In order to improve learning outcomes in the three core subjects we are providing our remedial teaching to the weaker students before their final exams in March 2016.


1.2Extra- Curricular Activities

Our students hadthe opportunity to learn local dances, play musical instruments and participate in competitions.  On 2nd October we organized a House-wise speech competition on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti (Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary).  Later the same month we organized Poetry recitations for Classes 3-8 on the occasion of Hindi Diwas.  Our students participated in a school-wide “Aepan” (local Kumaoni traditional hand painted art form) competition on 14th November as part of our Children’s Day celebrations.


Year-end School Event: Exposure trip for our Class 8 students

Our children got an opportunity to perform at the Dastkar Winter Carnival in Delhi on the 19th of November. They performedtheir local folk dances, set to popular Kumaoni melodies to an enraptured Delhi audience. The next day, the group left for Vrindavan where theywere hosted by Mr. Om Prakash Malik and Mrs. Santosh Malik, who left no stone unturned in ensuring a warm hospitality for all our students. A visit to Agra was on Day 4. They spent time atFatehpurSikhri and learnt the historical significance of the monument, followed by a trip to the magnificent TajMahal! The Blind School, New Delhi, hosted their stay and it was a humbling & sensitizing experience for both our children and our faculty to see them go about their daily chores with such ease and comfort. All in all this was a very eventful trip!


1.3   Bal Sansar Scholarship

The Bal Sansar Scholarship Program was started in 2008-09 with just ten students. We now have 58 students whose costs of education at Aarohi Bal Sansar are completely supported under this program. We have a total of 16 children out of 58 who are presently undergoing remedial tuition classes to improve their studies.  Earlier this month, we met with their parents and advised them that their continuation of the scholarship is based on a yearly review of children’s academic progress and Aarohi’s availability of funds. We shared with them that should the children not improve in their performance (score above 50% overall), their scholarship would be discontinued.


1.4 Volunteers

Anne Hammond

Anne joined us as a volunteer in October of this year.  She has graduated from the University of Miami in May 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Mathematics.  Prior to coming here, Anne has been tutoring children and college students for over 3 years. In college, she worked with student athletes on study and organization skills, tutored them one-on-one in algebra, statistics, calculus, and higher level math courses, and worked with her supervisors to develop group study sessions for extra help. She has worked with children aged 6-17 on both math and reading. Anne has worked both one-on-one (with older students) and in groups of 5-10 teaching lessons and providing extra practice with concepts they learned in school. Anne will be with us till May 2016. 

Madhuri Vijaykumar

Madhuri is a volunteer from Mumbai, she was with us for 3 months, starting in August last year.  Madhuri has 8 years of work experience in the development sector.  She was previously working with HSBC as Associate Vice President, Corporate Sustainability, and was responsible for running HSBC’s global education programme for street children and orphans.  Madhuri has worked with not-for-profit organizations in London and Bangalore.  She has a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

While at the school, Madhuri was coaching our English teachers - helping build their confidence levels in speaking the language and improving their grammar.  She also read English to Class 3 students.  With guidance from Aarohi, Madhuri made a short five-minute documentary film on one of our ABS teachers.  The film is titled “Kamla: A Change-maker at AarohiBalSansar”, the link is shared below.



1.5 New Joiners

Ravi Shankar Yadav

A civil engineer by profession, Ravi graduated in 2011 andworked for 4 years in his hometown Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, before joining Aarohi.Ravi was taken on to work with us as a technical assistant on our home-stay projects, but in his heart he is a teacher and wanted to get involved in the school.  Since November 1, Ravi has been taking remedial classes inMaths for classes 5-7, and helping the teachers in Maths for classes 3-5, as per need.  He will also be liaising closely with our Maths mentor to improve teaching-learning of the subject in our school. Ravi is responsible for maintaining and managing the database of the school’s overall performance in the examinations.


Neha joined ABS on December 1, 2015.  She is presently taking English remedial classes for 3 and 4, and teaching English to classes 7 and 8.  Over time she will be taking on teaching Health and Nutrition to our students.  Neha has completed her Bachelor’s in English from Modern College, Pune and she has a Master’s degree in Psychology from Kumaon University, Almora.  Prior to joining us, she was teaching English and Psychology in Kumaon Public School, Dwarahat, near Ranikhet- Almora district.


Deepak, our Sports Teacher
Deepak, our Sports Teacher

In the last report, we shared with you, the annual review, which detailed the progress of Aarohi Bal Sansar and the Scholarships Program for the year ending 31st March 2015. The goals outlined for the short-term included building teacher capacities, laying greater emphasis on sports and outdoor activities, continuing to focus on music, dance and art as an important part of the curriculum and improving interaction with the families of the students and community at large. We also planned to introduce an individual monitoring mechanism for students and teachers. In the medium term, we identified five areas to improve on our learning outcomes, namely effective lesson planning by teachers, differentiation in order to address multiple learning levels in each class, developing better reading habits of children and teachers, inclusion of creative teaching methods and continuously improving infrastructure to aid academic and extracurricular learning. We also planned to explore opportunities to integrate vocational learning as a discipline within the curriculum. Finally, we sought to introduce a structured mentoring program for teachers.


Progress Highlights (April to June 2015)

The progress made in the last quarter, against the short-term and medium term goals is as follows:

Short term: 

Sports and Outdoor Activities

The 2nd annual Aarohi Kumaon Himalaya Ride took place between 3rd and 5th April 2015,

through which riders from around the world raised over INR 260,000 (approx. GBP 2,600). The funds help Aarohi pay better salaries to their teachers, bring e-learning curriculum to a rural school like Aarohi Bal Sansar, hire a dedicated sports teacher and much more. We hired a new sports coach Deepak, who joined us in April this year. Deepak has successfully carried out intensive sports training of students from Class 3 to 8 in athletics (long jump, running, javelin etc.), Kho-Kho, Kabaddi, Volley Ball, and Cycling. Awareness on diet has been given special emphasis, as a result of which children are now bringing more wholesome carbohydrate and protein rich food in their tiffin boxes. Monthly sports rallies (intra-school sporting competitions) are being organised to prepare children to part-take in sports at the State level. In addition, we have also been working closely with youth in the region, as a result of which the strength of the youth group has grown from 120 to 170 in a short span of three months. Of these, 80 boys and 60 girls have been successfully trained in cycling in preparation for next years Kumaon Himalaya Ride.

Music, Dance and Culture

In addition to Kumaoni folk dance, the teachers have also been introducing folk dance and music from other parts of India. Rajasthani folk dance was taught to Classes 3, 4 and 5. For Class 6, the curriculum focused on drama as majority of the children were interested in theatre. ‘Bihu’ which is an Assamese folk dance, as well as Bhangra (Punjab), and Dandiya (Gujarat) were taught to class 7 and 8. In theory, topics of Kumaoni traditional architecture, food, and attire were introduced wherein traditional practices and their practical value were discussed with the children. In Music, children learnt and performed Kumaoni and Garwali folk dance forms such as Jhoda Chapali, Hudkiya, Bol, Chaiti, Choliya, Tandi, Jhumelo etc.

Student and Teacher Monitoring

While we are still working on consolidating our databases for individual student monitoring, we have made good head way in laying down the foundation for monitoring and nurturing teacher progress and growth. Together with our mentors we have prepared a detailed evaluation form which will be used from now on for half yearly appraisals. The form comprises a comprehensive list of categories including lesson plan, materials used, methodology, remedial work, self-development etc. Further, each category is scored separately. This has been done to ensure that the evaluation process is as transparent and as objective as possible. This is one small step towards our commitment to invest in teacher capacity building and how we are proud that ALL our teachers are local. 

Medium term: 

The Reading initiative

 We are now instituting processes where reading or 'engaging with text' is a pivotal element of pedagogy at ABS. The aim is to expose the children to as much English reading (and as a result better vocabulary and comprehension) this academic year. Some steps taken towards this end were:


  • Revamping the Library: Three wonderful volunteers helped us revamp our library. Madhu Upadrasta, an experienced librarian in a school in Mumbai, volunteered to be Beena’s mentor, our new librarian, and nurtured this young local lady into learning all about managing and maintaining a school library during her visit to Satoli in April. Gina Ali Khan, the English subject mentor, brought us a big suitcase, full of books donated by her school in Pune, MBIS. Another volunteer, Asmita Joshi, worked tirelessly with Beena and Gina to help catalogue all the books. We now, also have class libraries in addition to the main library since we have this elaborate catalogued collection of books! Thanks to the help and guidance from Madhu, Gina and Asmita and the on-going efforts of Beena, Aarohi school can now boast of a wonderful library, one of its kind in the area.


  • Staff Volunteering:The office staff have started volunteering by taking reading sessions twice a week with classes 3 to 5. A record of the books read and new words learnt are being maintained and shared with teachers, so that they can be practiced in their regular classes. “I have been reading to class five for a little over six weeks now and it has been great fun! The kids and I both look forward to the class. Many a time, I drift off from the story into other discussions, and I find that the activity is a fun way of familiarising children with English and sustaining their interest in the language.”  Dr. Puneet Singh


‘Gift a Smile’ collaboration with Amazon

 Aarohi Bal Sansar received its first package of books, DVDs, paints and stuffed toys as part of Amazon’s ‘gift a smile’ campaign’.

 These are being used to make classroom activities more interesting for the children. The books are also serving as a useful resource for teachers to help improve their English language skills.


Staff Mentoring Programme

The biannual Steering Committee Meeting was held in June 2015, in which teachers presented the progress made on various fronts and sought feedback from the committee members. A major outcome of the meeting was the decision to expand the staff mentoring program from English to include subjects of Hindi and Mathematics as well. Mr. Mohan Kabadwal, a retired state school Hindi teacher based in our village was appointed as the Hindi mentor, while Ms. Smriti Sharma, an experienced educationist based in Delhi has been appointed as the mentor for Mathematics. Mentors are approachable and experienced individuals who play an important role in guiding ABS teachers in day-to-day challenges they face



We now have consolidated data for scholarships (for students and teachers) offered by Aarohi since the inception of the program in 1997. A total of INR 8,211,568 has been invested in 925 students between 1997 and 2015.


Once again, we thank all of you donors for having faith in our capabilities to bring quality education to the young children of rural Kumaon.

Asmita Joshi, a volunteer, with ABS teachers
Asmita Joshi, a volunteer, with ABS teachers
New Library
New Library
Kamla, Vimla and Deepa with books from Amazon
Kamla, Vimla and Deepa with books from Amazon
Kamla being mentored by Mohan Masterji
Kamla being mentored by Mohan Masterji

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Organization Information


Location: District Nainital, Uttarakhand - India
Project Leader:
Neha Jacob
District Nainital, Uttarakhand India

Important Notice about Projects in India

We are currently expecting delays in getting funds to this project due to new regulatory requirements that impact GlobalGiving's ability to disburse to organizations in India. GlobalGiving is working hard to address the issue. Donations to this project will be disbursed as quickly as possible.

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Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence


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Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle

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