Twenty years ago Alice Project’s adventure started. The "headquarter” was located in two rooms of a private residence, near Sarnath Stupa. In those small rooms we started training for the future teachers of the Alice Project school. The course was attended by 25 people of all ages. The youngest was a 17 years old boy, who is now principal of our schools.
We think that the final evaluation of these twenty years, in spite of few failures, is positive. Thanks to our work in Bodhgaya, Sarnath and Bodhisatta, the level of alphabetization in villages, around the three schools, increased notably. Very successful was the literacy project for adults and child laborers that we run for some years at Sarnath school. It is not is not easy to evaluate the social impact of Alice Project in the rural area in which we are working.
Awards and rewards
During all these years, we received rewards and encouragement for our educational project: from the Dalai Lama, who visited the school in Sarnath for three times; from Sanskrit University (two awards); from Italian President Napolitano who awarded Valentino with “Stella per la Solidarietà”. Many articles in local and international newspapers and about ten theses have been written by Italian and Foreigner University students. A book was written by Gloria Germani for the editor, Terra Nuova. Recently, the national French television dedicated fifteen minutes to Alice Project in a National program. After that, a new NGO (two are in Italy) called “Alice Project” was registered. An Italian writer and psychotherapist, Andrea Bocconi, defined Alice Project as the “Montessori of XXI century”.
The response to Luigina’s training in Italy and India is also quite positive.
The school, after working for some years in the juvenile home in Varanasi, has adopted an orphan boy, at the end of his traumatic permanence in the re-education structure that lasted eight years. That boy, after completing the XII class, in our school, now is in Yoga Bangalore University for a degree in therapeutic yoga. He is going to finish the second year and he said that he does not regret for accepting our proposal. Thanks to our help, many of our students and teachers have achieved a specialization at the famous school of Yoga in Mungher, Bihar. Some students got the qualification in ayurvedic massage.
Two students were sponsored for a biannual course of Tibetan language. Nowadays both of them are teachers. One of them is the manager of a hostel in Nepal, where he implements the educational method of Alice Project. Recently, we helped other two students - without economical resources – to complete a two years course for becoming teachers in special schools (For mental and physical handicaps).
Since July, after the specialization, one of them is working as educator in the same Center in which he studied, getting a good salary. The other one teaches nearby his village, in Arunachal Pradesh. Two students (Chakma) have studied Eastern Arts in a private atelier in Nepal. Now they are working as teachers in Bodhgaya. Some ex -students teach in private schools in their villages.
About ten Chakma ex-students are pursuing the military career. Other Chakmas (six) preferred to dedicate themselves to the monastic life. Few chakmas moved to South of India in order to get a job, in the industrialized cities. All of them show a positive and professional behavior. This year, one Chakma - ex-student - got University degree with the highest marks. Now he wants to continue his studies to become a University professor. Another one, after the degree, preferred to dedicate himself to social work, “To help Chakmas to become recognized as Indian citizens and get out from the poverty in which they live”.
We want to underline that our schools could survive for such a long time not only thanks to the special education that we propose, but also for the academic results achieved by our students. Since some years, students of high school achieve high results than those of other private and public schools. For example, this year 100% of students passed the state level exam and 90% of them got the “first division”. So the scholastic results show that the combination of education (self-consciousness, meditation, introspection, concentration …) and instruction is a successful formula to improve students’ behavior and also their scholastic performance.
Which is the future?
What will be the future? This is a question that we usually ask, especially in the light of the economic crisis that is spreading in Italy and in Europe, which caused a significant decrease in economical help for our schools. There are some friends who are supporting us since the birth of our Educational adventure. They are those who allow us to survive since now, together with other new friends that we have met during the journey . To be sincere, we did not imagine the responsibilities, the efforts, the energies that this vision would have required to be implemented. Anyway, we believe that it was worthwhile trying to find a new way to educate the young generations. Let us say that if we will succeed to help only few children to get inner peace, it is a great achievement. The future depends on the generosity of people who believe that our Educational research is worthwhile.