Project #2526

From grinding poverty to graduation

by People First Educational Charitable Trust

Hello Everybody,

Time for another update.

I would first like to share with you an open letter written to the Chief Minister of Bihar by a concerned professor, and published in the Times of India.

I know you are all so busy but if you could take the time to read it the article shows the need for our scholarship programme. We wish things were better and students in Bihar got more care, we can only hope for improvements in the education sector in the years ahead.

Here is the letter,

Dear Nitish Kumar Ji,

I am a proud Bihari and really feel privileged to be so. But it personally hurts when I find the state in which Bihar finds itself today. When you first took over the reins, your statesmanship had raised the expectations of every Bihari. People had looked for real change, particularly in your second stint.

But a lot of things have since gone wrong in the state under your watch. For now, I would like to focus on Bihar’s crumbling education system.

There has been a steady slide in the education system of Bihar, once home to world’s ancient universities like Nalanda, so much so that the state has become a laughing stock.

While studying at Havard University last year, I felt disgraced when The New York Times carried a picture of people clinging on to the windows of an examination centre in Bihar to help the candidates. Had the system been delivering quality education, students and their relatives would not have resorted to such shameful means.

After that picture of ignominy, I had expected your government to act and take education reforms seriously. But that was not to be. Instead, the ‘topper scam’ came to light this year.
Recently, I visited Katihar, my hometown which I love more than any place on earth. My curiosity to find the state of government schools and colleges took me to Maheshwari Academy, which used to be one of the best schools in the district during my childhood.

The visit made me more despondent. Surrounded by tall grass and bushes, it appeared like a haunted building. The campus has completely lost its charm. Suddenly, I saw a marble stone on the science block, which pointed out that you had inaugurated it in 2007. But it looked more like an abandoned building.

Interestingly, bang opposite this block is the office of the district education officer. I wondered whether the DEO’s gaze had ever fallen on the building. What I gathered about the school later was more shocking. There are only ten teachers for about eleven hundred secondary school-level students and no regular teachers for higher secondary classes. There have been no new appointments in last two years and students pay to bring in retired teachers who prepare them for the Board exams.

Bihar still lags behind in pupil-to-teacher ratio (PTR) with 1 teacher for every 51 students against the national average of 26. Moreover, in government schools, most teachers are under-qualified with only 44% having a professional degree. Compare this with the national average of 80%. No wonder, only half of the students manage to clear the Class X board examination.

Sir, you are the one who showed light to thousands of girls by providing them bicycles to attend school, a move that reduced the dropout rate. But over a third of the schools still lack toilets for girls. How do you expect girls to spend long hours in school without such basic facilities? Mere increase in number of students is not enough. It’s the quality of learning that lies at the core of an education system.

Over two lakh classrooms need to be built to provide space for students. Cramped, poorly ventilated classes cannot enhance the experience of learning. If your government could build record stretches of roads and improve supply of electricity during the first two terms, what prevents you from changing the face of education in the state? It’s so ironical. I used to study with kerosene lanterns because of poor power supply but schools were comparatively better and now students enjoy better power supply but quality of schools have deteriorated.

How do you think Bihar can bridge the rich-poor divide with government schools in such deplorable state? How can change happen when bright students leave the state? Education has to be a much bigger agenda for governance and needs much deeper involvement.

I would urge you to make education your first priority if your government is serious about harnessing the potential of Biharis. A better education system integrated with life skills is the crying need of the hour.
Sir, involve parents in the school committees and encourage parent-teacher engagement. Public schools are beyond the means of majority of our young boys and girls who have tremendous potential. They too have a dream. Please help them realise it for themselves and the state.

And now something from one of our sponsored students, Pramod.


"My name is Pramod (name changed). I want to thank you all so much for helping students like me achieve my dreams. I am now studying for my competitive examinations for Banking which if I am successful give me a career I could only dream of before People First sponsored my college education. I came up through the village schools run by People First .  

Mt family are poor farmers I am the first in my whole family to receive a full education, let alone go to college.

Education can change the world, thank you for changing mine beyond my dreams”.



New school stuff!
New school stuff!

Hello everyone,

Greetings from a hot and dry Bihar, it’s time for an update!

This update is translated from Hindi and is written by one of the girls we have provided an education and a home in Rescue Junction.  Pritya (name changed) sister is doing very well in higher education under this scheme so we welcome your support for her and girls like her, and once she qualifies we will include her story also in a future report.

Your donation really changes lives and may I remind you that you on June 15th your donation will be matched by a 50% bonus from Global Giving. So please kindly make a note of that day.

Here is what Pritya wrote for you,

“I was very small when my father died. I can’t remember very much but I remember helping my big sister scoop out earth to bury my father. I can remember being hungry, so very hungry. I remember some police with us, and I remember coming to rescue junction and enjoying a good meal.

That was many years ago, now I am older and I have so much to be thankful for.  I came here with my sisters (one younger and one older) my big sister did so much to look after us, and as we have no family who can take care of us Rescue Junction staff told us not to worry they would take care of us as long as we needed help and support.

And they kept their promise to us providing education care and love for all these years. My older sister is now away at college under a scholarship for higher education paid for by People First, her qualifications will mean good future for her and all of us, thank you so much for helping us.”

With thanks to you all,



Pupils from Dhobi school with exam pass papers
Pupils from Dhobi school with exam pass papers

Hello everyone,

As always thank you for your support and interest in our work. This update will take a different form than any other update we have done in the past, and I hope the wonderful people at Global Giving will approve it as an update as it takes the form of a film.

It is the story of two students from Dhobi school, our biggest school with 300 pupils and their battle against the odds to gain an education.

It was not a film made by us but by NDTV a national news channel who wanted to highlight excellent educational work going on all over the country. Our film ten minutes long is the first and if you can find ten minutes of your busy day we can think of no better way to show you the power of individual spirt in the story of these two individuals.

It also demonstrates how your donations are used for the benefit of children and young people to help them turn hope into achievement.

The link is here

but you can also find it below

With heartfelt appreciation,

All of us at People First


Pradeep in his village
Pradeep in his village

Hello everyone!

Greetings from Bihar!

For this project update I asked the principal of Dhobi School , our biggest school providing free education for the poor to highlight one particular story( one of many) to illustrate the sucess of the TOP programme.

 Here is the story of  Pradeep  ( we have changed the name according for protection of privacy )

Age – 15 Years

Pradeep  is from the Mahadalit Community from Mushar caste . He has two brothers and one sister. This village is almost 98 % population from Mushhar ( rat eater) caste. His father is labourer and mother also works as a labourer in the field.

As he told- and true also – he is first  person  in that village who is from his Mushar community to pass the Matrick exam this year because of only Dobhi School. As he told earlier people discriminate against him because of his community but after his matric pass( school leaving examinations) the situation about Subhash has gained a new found respect.

Now he can understand what is going on in the society “After my situation changed many family and parents from my village in my community has started to come to my father and asked about their children to send school or they are agree to send their children in the school and this never happened before”.  

So it can be clearly said after he passed his exam Pradeep became role model in his village in his community and people are already motivated to send their children to the school  after seeing Subhash success and it all happened because of Dobhi School  and the support from the the opportunity of the student sponsorship programme from People First ,supported by Global Giving  Without this programme they don’t have option .

Pradeep is enrolled in college this year.

Thank you for helping to change lives for the better. 

People First- working together with the poor for a better future

Naresh Sir


Me at School!
Me at School!

 Hi Everyone,

I am Naresh Sir in charge of the education programme here at People First

Welcome to report number thirty for this important project which directly supports students born into poverty improve their and their family’s lives immeasurably. I have decided that Ranjeet a sponsored student in Delhi would form the basis of this update. It is based on a series of interviews in Hindi with Ranjeet, but these are his words and we have not edited or embellished them. It is however a very personal account.

Obviously he has given his full permission, but according to Global Giving Guidelines regarding personally identifiable information we have changed his name.

“The photo above is me at school,  as a sponsored student from People First.

 The photo below is me now!, still a sponsored student at People First!

 What a journey it has been.

My goodness me by the grace of god and the kindness of others I believe I can build a much better future for myself my family and my own children to come. Like all journeys it wasn’t easy, no journey worth making rarely is, but I am now stepping with hope onto the road of a new life, due to the generosity of people like you.

If there was a word which summarises my experience so far it is hope. What a wonderful thing hope is when you haven’t experienced it in your early life  and when just to be able to get some food some vegetables even as a treat was as much as I could have hoped for.

How things have changed.

My story is simple, People First village school, then a sponsored residential place and full time education in a school of my choice and then a chance to study Spanish in Delhi. I don’t mind admitting I struggled so much when I came to Delhi, I was only fifteen or sixteen,( I still don’t really know my birthday, but my mother says it was  a clear winters night),  a bit lost, homesick, lonely a bit, but I knew I could never give up. I failed an exam, I went to my room and wept, I was quite sad and then something happened.

That night I prayed to God for strength and when I awoke I got a text message on my (very dumb) phone, from home. It was my mother just telling me how proud they were of me, the whole family and that I could have a wonderful future, it was in my hands.  

Do you know I want to tell you, I began to understand that day that to progress, to overcome difficulty , it is a kind of test. Nothing good comes without work and effort  and you have to work with all your heart and soul to make things  happen. It is the opportunity that meant I was so lucky but it was mine to take, and by God I was going to take it.

And as I studied hard, things got so much better I got new friends, I gained in confidence, and I now know who I am.

I am Ranjeet Kumar a boy from the poor end of the village who didn’t even have a pair of sandals until People First bought me some, who now realises he owes so much to others that it is my duty to help others as soon as I am in a position to do so,  and I can use my experiences to help others. My whole family will not go hungry ever again in the future. But also I realise that hard work can really change everything, and this you have to do yourself.

So thank you all those who are helping me achieve my dreams, I can never forget what people have done for me, and I never will.

Today the sun is shining!!

 Note from Naresh Sir…

After initially struggling Ranjeet improved with his studies so rapidly he ended up top of his class gaining an 83% mark in his final advanced diploma. He is presently studying Spanish and Portuguese up to degree level at JNU University in Delhi, one of the most prestigious public universities in the country.

If you are wondering what the cost is of supporting Ranjeet in his studies in Delhi, it is $50 a week. Every single dollar donated helps students like him.

It is only a lack of funding which prevents us from helping more students like Ranjeet, and we do as you know from previous reports have a very good record under this programme of helping Girl Students.

So thank you all for your support.

I wish you all well,



Me Today!
Me Today!



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Organization Information

People First Educational Charitable Trust

Location: Bodhgaya, Bihar - India
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nick Hansen
Project Liason Officer
Dhobi Gaya Rd Bodhgaya, Bihar India

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