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
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
Older boys, pupils at the New Life Centre
Older boys, pupils at the New Life Centre

 

Alindra Naskar started a school in a small village in West Bengal in 2005 with 35 children. Today there are about 450.

His 'New Life Centre' school has recently been awarded Secondary school status and this will have a huge impact on its future.

It has taken him years to have this status confirmed, involving many visits to government departments and numerous forms to be filled in, but following his vision of educating the children of this poor region, Alindra has been relentless in this pursuit.

This will mean that the children in his school, such as these older boys, will not have to transfer to the government school where 90% of them leave without any qualifications, but can stay at the New Life Centre and leave with qualifications, equipped to sustain themselves and their families.

By comparison, the government schools in this region of West Bengal appear woefully equipped and are left to their own devices. The New Life Centre provides a higher standard of education and a better chance of securing further education should these children want it.

This is the whole point; education is the key to a better future and Alindra has made that possible for these children who until now had little hope of escaping the poverty trap.

Wouldn’t you like to join with us and help create a better future for these children?

 

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My 25 year old daughter accompanied me for the first time to the New Life Centre school in India in February. When we entered the kindergarten classes on the first day, she was bemused that some of the 3 and 4 year olds started to cry as soon as we appeared. ‘What’s wrong Mum’ she asked? ‘They haven’t seen many white people’ I replied, ‘and anyway they are all so young some of them haven’t got used to school yet at all’. The teachers confirmed that a couple of the children still cried each morning when their parents left. My daughter was perturbed until I remarked, ‘Just like you were’!

The little girl in the photo at the front with a hat on was one of those finding it hard to settle at school. She had a captivating face, large eyes that surveyed us suspiciously. This was at the end of a school day, and whilst we waited for some of the parents we sang ‘Heads, shoulders, knees and toes’.

All of the other children joined in as you can see and delighted in the song, but our little one remained serious and unsmiling. The more we tried to engage with her, the more she refused to be involved, and yet she couldn’t help herself from watching with interest as her schoolmates joined in. 

I know that next time I visit, our wary little one will be amongst those eager to shake our hands in the morning as we arrive for school. I gain far more from my visits to this remarkable institution than I ever give. My life has been enriched by my contact with these children, who behave just like all other young ones, but because of this school they are well on their way to reaching their potential.

Wouldn’t you like to be enriched by helping this school?

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Scottish Dancing Indian-style!
Scottish Dancing Indian-style!

There are some activities that are universal and dancing is one of them. When I visited the New Life Centre School in February there were two occasions when dancing united two groups that have grown up in such different circumstances.

The first was when our group of 4 visitors from the UK attempted to teach some of the older students Scottish dancing.

After the usual giggling and awkwardness as some boys had to partner other boys and hold hands, (also universal), we realised just how much fun can be gained from music and dancing. We had 2 lessons to teach the Gay Gordons, no small feat, as the walking backwards proved impossible to some of the students.

As I was instructing from the side I watched with amusement as one of the boys, a typical macho type with a great sense of rhythm, refused to hold another boy’s hands. He came to stand with me but he understood very quickly how the backward walking should be performed. Such a dilemma! What should he do? Lose face and enter the group again to ‘show them how it should be done’, or stand on the side knowing he could be top student in this activity?

He couldn’t resist and was soon demonstrating with me, a natural performer!

The second occasion was on our usual visit to one of the families in the school. This was my fourth visit to this family. This extended family of grandparents, parents, and children with numerous cousins and aunties and uncles offered the generosity of their simple fare and then two of the young girls started dancing for us. In a spontaneous moment, which I no longer encounter in the UK, we all started to dance, such a joyous affirmation of our delight in being invited and our hosts’ inclusivity.

We all held hands and danced around. I looked at my daughter and another member of the group of similar age, mid twenties, to see if this unusual display would embarrass them. On the contrary they were relishing this innocent pleasure. They both believed it was a highlight of the visit.

.

All dancing together
All dancing together
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Slow Cycling Race!
Slow Cycling Race!

When I was at the New Life Centre School in February, there was a sports day held for our benefit. The visitors from England could hand out the prizes to the winners. Several of the games were entertaining to watch, the biscuit game where the children had to eat a biscuit off a string and then run to the finishing line. It struck me then how inclusive these games were as it wasn’t necessarily about being the fastest or the fittest, everyone had a chance.

The game in the photo was the most intriguing though as the cyclists had to pedal as slowly as possible without falling off. The winner was the last cyclist to cross the line. This was not only amusing to watch, but also extremely skilful, as some of the students were barely advancing with their bikes in an attempt to win.

This game turned the idea of fastness on its head; the slowest won.

In the West, life seems to be always at an increasing pace - unless you fill your days and minutes with activity, you are missing something.

Winning isn’t always about being first and speed does not always produce the best results.

The New Life Centre school will be 10 years old next year, and it has been a long struggle for Alindra Naskar to educate the parents and the children of this poor area, but in establishing the school slowly Alindra has provided a firm foundation for the future of this school.

If you support Alindra you will enable this school to grow at a pace which ensures its continuity, not only for these children, but for their future children as well.

The new and growing Library
The new and growing Library
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The new school building growing rapidly!
The new school building growing rapidly!

Dear friends,

I am extremely sorry for not being able to communicate for some times. We all are keeping well and our work is in progress. But the summer heat this year has affected our routine life bit unkindly.

The temperature over here now is fluctuating from 35C to 43C with moderate humidity. It might be still worse during another 45 days before the monsoon appears if we do not have any rain in between.

Our summer holiday will commence from 9th May till 1st June. But if temperature remains still high then holiday might be extended for another few days.

Electric power supply and internet access has become more unpredictable than ever before. Surface water almost drying up and the underground water level is also going down.

However, it is not at all a matter of discouragement for us, we just look forward to give a better tomorrow in the life of many brilliant children of this area.

If I would have little opportunity and authority, I could request the big international charities to focus on the facts and be more supportive directly to micro-projects serving in the vast rural areas.

I am always proud to be associated with the HATW family and fulfil it's objectives through our New Life Centre.

Our building project is in progress but going little slow because builders often taking rest due to summer heat. I am trying to send few photographs of the progress but it takes hours to attach even a single photo from here.

Regarding building work, this building will have 9 class rooms of 24ft X 16ft each in 3 floors which will meet up the need for up to senior secondary level (4-18 years). If we have more than one sections for some classes then we may have 2 shifts school hours, one for the primary session (4-10 years) and the next for high school session (11-18 years). So far this is the future plan but we never can be sure about God's plan!

I can only assure, New Life Centre will witness as a model project of HATW in long run.

We need to set up drinking water system on priority basis and I am going to work out during this summer holiday out of some money we have.

By the grace of our loving God we all are keeping well and things are going on well but may be little slow in building work due to labour problem and unfavourable weather condition.

Let us pray and thank God for all that we are able to do with hand in hand for His glory.

Please pray for us.

With regards

Alindra

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HANDS AROUND THE WORLD

Location: MONMOUTH, MONMOUTHSHIRE - United Kingdom
Website:
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Project Leader:
Bridget Higginson
Monmouth, Monmouthshire United Kingdom
$17,553 raised of $29,880 goal
 
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