By Stephen aka Dr Progress
Wow, Wow, Wow!!! This was the only expression that kept coming out of my mouth. Not everyone knows the true value of what they have until they do not have it.
A young girl was asked to draw a picture of the future she sees. What she drew was a window in front of which she stood feeling the fresh air blowing her hair. She made a comment that someday when she grows up she would build a house with a window.
This is just one of the many moving stories you would hear from bright minds at the Anubhuti school 2 where 330 children with a yearly addition of 60 students are given almost 100% free education. Anubhuti means profound experience and assimilation leading to self realization. The mission of the school is to create a learning environment conducive to nurturing the learners and the educators to be creative, capable, companionate and equanimous citizens. The plan to achieve this mission is based on the Indian culture, the spirit of mutual independence, enlightened entrepreneurship and global outlook leading the children to be socially aligned environmentally conscious and sensitive human being.
Words cannot describe the feeling that went down my spine during my time [Four and a half hours] with these children. I have been in India for 2 months and regularly with Anubhuti school 1 which is a paid residential school but I had not gone to Anubhuti 2 until my last week. This hurt because I could not spend as much time as I would wish for with this lovely class of society.
Anubhuti 2 is a school for children in families below poverty line (BPL), they fall within the age range of 5 – 11 years from 1st standard to 5th standard. It is a non – residential school built on 35,000Sq ft of land that was given on lease by the government with 10 classrooms, a computer lab, and a science lab on the 2nd and 3rd floor, the ground floor house the admin block, dining hall, staff room and 2 other class rooms. It is completely funded by the Jain foundation. It gets its funds from the 5% of profit allocated for CSR by Jain Irrigation Systems Ltd. One might be tempted to think that since this is free education the standards would not be equal to a paid school but you would be shocked. The same curriculum offered in paid schools is what they use here. The children are given 2 whole meals every day with a banana break in the morning and another snacks break in the afternoon.
They have sports, dance and arts full time teachers and all of the teachers are placed on good payroll with the lowest qualification of teachers being a BA, you have teachers with master’s degree and all their teachers are certified to teach with a ratio of 1:15 students. From time to time volunteers come around from other nations to teach. Students are not taught theoretically as this kids are learning English and do not have exposure. They are taught through an activity based model that shows and not just tell. They are taken on excursions 5 to 6 times every year and an average amount of 25,000 rupees (67,500 naira, 1,095,535 Ugandan shillings) is spent on a child each year.
The school is growing with the highest class now being 5th standard and some are sent on scholarship to Anubhuti 1 to continue till 12th standard. The basic requirement is 10th standard. The chairman’s vision is to sponsor them all through university till they find footings in their career with no strings attached. The Company does not expect anything from them as it is a social responsibility that brings Joy. The experience today added more fuel to my dreams and aspirations and gave me a picture for the future of the project back at home (street2school).
In conclusion and in the words of the in-charge as no formal structure is followed Mrs. Rashmee ‘We think we know what poverty means but we don’t, when I was taking this role my family asked if I was prepared from it but I must confess this school is giving mean to my life and helping me to appreciate even the minutest of all I have”. It is not a day I can forget and am grateful for the time I spent there.