The growth of Elsa Primary School has always been an organic process. With increased support for the school over the years, we've gradually been able to provide more for the students.
For example, classes were originally held in a private house. Later, they were moved to a designated school building with one classroom. Our current school building has three classrooms, an assembly space, a kitchen, an office and a bathroom. We started classes with thirty students and one teacher and this subsequently increased to forty students and two teachers. In the early years, students sat on the floor for classes. Now we have bench seats and desks. Initially, we weren't able to provide food for the students. Later, there was one meal a week and now nutrition is provided on a daily basis. For some years, the students came to school in their civvies. Now we provide full school uniforms, including footwear and sweaters for the cold winters.
The most recent upgrade in student provisioning was backpacks bearing the school name. As you can see in the photos, the students were very happy to receive these.
During the pandemic, India's border was closed for a long time and it was difficult to visit Elsa Primary School from abroad.
However, in recent months, there has been opportunities for supporters such as Karen, Gary, Jane & Chittapala from Australia to visit the school. They brought sweets for the students which were very much appreciated and interacted in various ways. This included giving lessons, correcting workbooks and playing games. The students love visits like this. In turn, it is an uplifting experience for visitors to spend time with the students.
If you are in Bodhgaya, please make time to visit the students of Elsa Primary School!
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.
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.
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!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.
We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.
Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.Start a Fundraiser