Elsa Primary School just celebrated its ten year anniversary!
The school was opened in 2010 in Harijan Colony, Bodhgaya and since then has expanded in various ways, for example, numbers of students and teachers have increased. For some time, students of various grades were taught in one large class room. However, at the beginning of 2019, the school was invited by parents to move to the village of Karmoni where they provided a larger building with three class rooms, a general area, office, kitchen & toilet. Also, in 2019, the students received school uniforms for the first time. The school provides daily nutrition comprising bread, eggs & milk. This supplements the students' home diet and is much appreciated.
It is a joy to visit Elsa Primary School. The students are so happy - they love learning and they have deep respect their teachers. May the school thrive for many years to come!
The Holi festival is sometimes called the 'festival of love', a time for meeting others, to play & laugh, and to forget & forgive. It is a joyful and colourful occasion as It is celebrated with the playful throwing of natural colours made from traditional herbs. At Elsa Primary School, both students & teachers joined in the spirit of the day.
The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter. It also celebrates the beginning of a good spring harvest season. Officially, it lasts for a night and a day, starting on the evening of the Full Moon day in March. But in practice, the throwing of colour can continue for days.
Recently, I and Michele Schmalvogl visited Elsa Primary School. It was lovely meeting with the students who were very polite and respectful.
We conducted an impromptu maths class, writing problems on the whiteboad, with the students coming forward, one by one, to solve them. It was fascinating to see how the students worked with fractions – very different to the usual Western methods.
Whilst lessons were taking place, some of the older students prepared a meal for everyone. We supplemented this with sweets and fruit juice which the students much appreciated.
All in all, our visit was very enjoyable. It was wonderful to see how happy these children are studying at Elsa Primary School!
Children's Day is celebrated across India to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children on 14 November every year as a tribute to India's First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru was born this day in 1889. He was known for his love and affection for children and advocated for children to have fulfilled education. He once said ‘The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country’.
On this day, many educational and motivational programs are held across India, by and for children. Parents and teachers give gifts to children and schools and colleges hold several functions including quiz, competitions, and music and dance performances on this day. At Elsa Primary School, the day was celebrated with students singing, distribution of sweaters whilst older students prepared a delicious curry and rice lunch for everyone.
Rakshan Bandhan is a festival held in Hindu communities on the last day the Hindu lunar month in August. This year it was on 15th August, coinciding with Indian Independence Day. Ceremonies for both events were held at Elsa Primary School.
Raksha means 'protection' and bandhan signifies the verb 'to tie together' - 'the bond of protection, obligation or care'. The eternal love of the brother-sister relationship is symbolized by a sister tying a rakhi (thread or amulet) around the wrist of her brother in order to pray for his prosperity, health and well-being. The brother in return offers a gifts and promises to protect his sister from any harm and under every circumstance.
The festival is also celebrated between brothers & sisters belonging to distant families, relatives or cousins and can extend to any type of brother-sister relationship between men and women who may not be biologically related.
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