Education  India Project #27902

Educate Forty Village Children in Bodhgaya, India

by Kusala Projects Inc.
Educate Forty Village Children in Bodhgaya, India
Divali Ceremony
Divali Ceremony

Diwali or Deepavali, the ‘Festival of Lights' was recently celebrated at Elsa Primary School. ‘Deepa’ and ‘vali’ are Sanskrit words meaning light and string respectively.

It is a very important festival for Hindus and is also celebrated by Sikhs & Jains. It generally lasts five or six days, is scheduled according to the Hindu lunisolar calendar, occurring between mid-October and mid-November.

It symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance" and is widely associated with Lakshmi, goddess of prosperity and Ganesha, god of wisdom and the remover of obstacles.

During this time, houses are adorned with colourful lights with main entrances decorated with rangolis (intricate mandala patterns). These are drawn by hand and then colored in using colored powders or ground rice powder. Diwali is very much a time for families to come together with much sharing of traditional Indian sweets and snacks. It marks the start of the Hindu New Year.

Rangoli
Rangoli
Traditional sweets
Traditional sweets
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Elsa Primary School students live in Karmoni village.  Typically, they have several siblings, their fathers are  farmers and their mothers are housewives. Below is a brief introduction to one of our students.

Jyoti is eleven years old and has one brother and four sisters. She has been a student at Elsa Primary Shool for three years. Her favourite subject is Mathematics and she enjoys reading in English. She is a dedicated student, spending two hours a day on homework and has aspirations to become a school teacher. Jyoti appreciates the opportunity she has to study at Elsa Primary School and especially likes her teachers and the food provided daily. She would love to visit Agra, Kolkata and Delhi. The person she admires most is Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Indian nation.

'Jyoti' is an Indian name for girls meaning radiant, divine light, brilliant or flame. 

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The State of Bihar has extreme climates. During the wet season, there can be devastating flooding. In winter, temperatures can drop to zero and in the hot season, temperatures can be as high as 50' Celsius. These climate extremes take a toll on crops, farm animals & human life. To accommodate the seasons, educational institutions open later in winter & earlier in summer. School vacations are usually scheduled for when the seasons are most extreme. Sometimes, the government will order schools to close on very short notice when it becomes too cold, hot or wet!

The school break for the current hot season has just ended and Elsa Primary School reopened on Monday 20th June. Dana, a kind Australian supporter, noticed that temperatures during the current hot season in Bodhgaya have been much hotter than usual and thus, offered to give cooling refreshments for the students on their return to school. She wanted to provide freshly squeezed fruit juice, but logistically this was difficult due to the lack of suitable fruits at this time of year. The school principal suggested, instead, that lassi be provided as a cooling drink. Lassi is a cold drink made with yoghurt or buttermilk and flavoured with sugar, salt, or a mild spice. Thanks to Dana's generosity, the students are now enjoying refreshing lassi drinks every day!

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Mrs Elsa Lalchere
Mrs Elsa Lalchere

Our school is named after Mrs Elsa Lalchere of Queensland, Australia. Thus, it was a very sad day for students, teachers and supporters when Elsa passed away on Monday, 7th March - just a few weeks shy of her 98th birthday.

Elsa leaves behind three children, three grand children and seven great grandchildren of her own. In Bodhgaya, she leaves behind many more children and young people who have grown to love and respect her over the years. To them, she is ‘Grandma’. From the early days of Kusala Projects, Elsa has been supporting students in Bodhgaya in various ways and even last year took on a new sponsorship of a young girl.

To honour the memory of Elsa, we hope to continue funding the school for many years to come. The photos below were taken at a service performed for Elsa by students and teachers a few days ago.

Shrine
Shrine
Respect
Respect
Students
Students
Teacher
Teacher
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Gratitude 2
Gratitude 2

Covid continues to be an ongoing problem in Bihar. However, Elsa Primary School was able to remain open throughout 2021. The only extended closure was the customary hot season break at the end of May.

In 2021, new activities such as origami craft and gardening were introduced to enrich the students' education. These are much appreciated by the students who very much enjoy their time at the school. Students understand that they are fortunate to have all their educational needs provided by supporters of the school - as expressed in the accompanying photos.

We have been requested repeatedly by Karmoni villagers to accept twenty more students to the school. We have sufficient space but unfortunately, insufficient funding. The cost of employing a third teacher, books, study materials, uniforms and meals would be AU $6,000 per annum. Hopefully, it will be possible to expand the school at some time in the future.

Wishing all our supporters a very auspicious 2022!

New Year
New Year
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Organization Information

Kusala Projects Inc.

Location: Townsville, Queensland - Australia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Chittapala .
Secretary/Treasurer
Townsville, Queensland Australia
$31,637 raised of $40,000 goal
 
482 donations
$8,363 to go
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