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Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people

by HANDS AROUND THE WORLD
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people
Help disadvantaged Bengali children + young people

Alindra Naskar writes about the importance of the arts in education, something that we would do well to heed in the UK!!

"Our project centre is located at an inland rural area on the Deltas of the Sundarbans, the Southern region of West Bengal.
Our objective is to enable the children from a traditional poor life status to have a better future. They are growing up in a natural environment on their most basic needs, as the majority of parents exist on a daily subsistence wage.
It is easier to identify the most gifted ones among all we take care of within our school.  We offer them free choice to practise what they like most in after school clubs! 

I am sending along a few photographs which may illustrate this; some children are attentive in practising the skill of art more than they learn in the regular syllabus of our education system.
We like to identify many more children who are talented in ways other than the traditional academic, and give them extra opportunities to develop and make life more rounded in their future careers.
The New Life Centre school functions on the ethos of 'Human Resource Development' for the least fortunate children and women of rural communities especially those who are poor.
We appeal for support and encouragement. We cordially invite any well-wisher to contribute to the continuing success of our school and Vocational Training Centre.
Regards and best wishes."

These photos show an after school Art club for the children who enjoy Art and are particularly talented and keen to improve.

The great results of class X are convincing parents to leave their children at the NLC. It has been a challenge to keep the higher classes at the New Life Centre school for the Board Exams at age 16. Parents are often enticed by the Government school locally with the promise of a bicycle for the boys and money for a dowry for the girls. Consequently they are reluctant to take a chance on the NLC and prefer to take their children to the Government school despite the shocking statistics of failure rates there. In 2017, 2 students left in year IX to go to the Government school and did badly compared to those at the NLC. News travels fast in a village, and more parents are now leaving their children at the NLC for the Board exam. This bodes well for when Alindra will apply for Senior Secondary status as there will be a good number to move into the Sixth form. Class X pictured above scored excellent results in the December mocks. NLC students were in the top 20 out of 92 students who were sitting the exams in a local centre. The girls in the photo scored 80% on average. Pinky who is standing next to Alindra (front left), embodies the success Alindra imagined when he opened the school in 2005. The daughter of manual workers, Pinky is destined for a sixth form locally and then University. When we asked her in February 2018 what she would like to do as a career she replied ‘a teacher’. This is achievable thanks to the NLC and your support. 

Hand washing lesson
Hand washing lesson

Every year on 15TH October “Global Hand Washing Day” is celebrated in many countries around the world. We also celebrated this day by organizing a “Hand Washing Camp” with the small children of our school. Our objective is to develop this habit in their daily life. They enjoyed the camp throughout.

We taught them through posters and acting out. We taught them also to convey this message of what they have learnt in the school to their parents and friends.

Apart from organizing this camp we also conduct many other programmes on environmental sanitation, health and hygiene for parents on every last Saturday of the month and to the general public once a year on the school annual day on 22nd of December. The New Life Centre school covers not only health education, but also programmes on the values of an all-round education for children and family life.

We guide them also to go for proper treatment to a specialized doctor or a hospital when they are sick instead of being prey to a quack in the village.

We are very much looking forward to starting a mother and child health clinic at this remote village when necessary funds will be available.   

On the Hand Washing Camp day the following was covered:

Washing hands with soap and clean running water protects us from many harmful infections and saves life from deadly diseases. 

When should they wash their hands?

  • Before and after eating
  • After playing with pets and toys.
  • After using the toilet.
  • Before and after visiting someone who is sick.
  • After sneezing, blowing nose & coughing.
  • After touching a cut or open sore.
  • After playing with various articles outside

At the school we are privileged to have an appropriate water supply system from a 1000 ft. deep tube well. We pump water into an overhead tank and supply water through taps fitted over wash basins for drinking and washing purposes.

We taught the children HOW to wash their hands in 10 steps and explained through the poster and acting out (as seen in the photos)

This was a big step in building up the good habit of washing their hands; making them understand how important it is to practise this habit in daily life to maintain good health.

Clean hands!
Clean hands!
Hand washing poster
Hand washing poster
School assembly with flag-raising ceremony
School assembly with flag-raising ceremony

The New Life Centre family of students and staff enjoy celebrating important events throughout the year - such as the birthday of the Croatian priest who motivated Alindra to set up the school in Sarberia, Indian Teachers' Day and Independence Day.

The school day closest to Independence Day (15th August) begins with an assembly as you can see and the raising of the Indian flag to the National anthem. I love the Indian National anthem written and composed by Rabindranath Tagore in 1911. When I visit the school, most assemblies end with the anthem and I always make sure those visiting with me have the words to sing along. It is such a beautiful piece of music and the children sing it with pride.

This year, as part of the celebrations, the male staff played the older boys at football and as it is still in the monsoon season as you can see, a mud bath ensued! There is such a lovely sense of fun between the staff and students that they felt perfectly at home following the football with a swim in the pond in Alindra’s garden.                                                           

No one is left out in the celebrations at the end of the day, with all the staff enjoying some time together.

As a retired teacher I know only too well the benefits of engaging with the children you teach in an extra-curricular way as you then become a person to them and not just a figure of authority. It takes a good level of community to provide this and the New Life Centre capably demonstrates the care that the children receive in this extended family.

School can be fun too!

Football mudbath!
Football mudbath!
A welcome dip in the pond
A welcome dip in the pond

Tiasha Banerjee, a representative from GlobalGiving, has visited the New Life Centre recently and reported on "...the inspiring work that you all (Alindra Naskar, the Director of the school and the staff) are doing. I was overwhelmed by your hospitality."

It is heart-warming to have the work recognised and valued.

Once again my visit to the school this year was a mixture of joy and frustration; joy at seeing the children grow and prosper in this excellent school, but frustration at the difficulties Alindra faces, in this disadvantaged area of West Bengal.

The children who go to this school have very different lives to the children in a school in the UK. Their parents mostly live at subsistence level, their fathers in jobs as daily labourers, mothers at home looking after the children. Homes are made of mud, brick and thatch and daily existence would seem basic to young people in the west.

And yet, children are the same the world over, as this photo (above) shows. When I asked these teenagers to get closer together for the photo they fell about giggling at the thought that the girls would have to move closer to the boys! The middle boy was having none of it as you can see.

My life has been enriched by my visits to this school as I witness how people manage on so little and yet remain joyful and childlike in their delight. The staff at the school are incredibly hospitable as the GlobalGiving representative commented, not only with their material goods but their time.

On my last day I was delayed on an errand and was dismayed to think that I hadn’t said goodbye to them, some of whom I have known for 10 years now. Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the school an hour and a half after the school finished to see that they were all waiting patiently to say goodbye and have some photos taken. The male staff were wearing the Charity’s polo shirts we had taken out with us (below).

Wouldn’t you like your life to be enriched by such contact?

 

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Organization Information

HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

Location: MONMOUTH, MONMOUTHSHIRE - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
David Steiner
Executive Officer
Monmouth, Monmouthshire United Kingdom

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