School for Abandoned Girls in India

Wed 18th October 2017 at 12.50 - 14.00

Rotaract member Divya Parkash updated the Club on her teaching experience at the school this summer

A Rotaract project is to send students from St Andrews to teach for 3-4 week periods in a school for disadvantaged girls near Meerut in a remote part of India.

The school was founded by Rotarian Omar Sapra who was the grandfather of last year's Rotaract president Keertna Sapra and himself a past District President in Rotary

Divya, a student at the University of St Andrews, applied to the St Andrews Rotaract Club for the internship to teach in a school for abandoned girls in a remote part of India.  She explained that the interview process was quite extensive and her ability to speak Hindi was a pre-requisite to being considered for the role.  She was absolutely delighted when she was accepted for the role.

On her arrival at the school she was met with a warm welcome from the staff and children alike.  A lot of the children come from impoverished backgrounds whether it is domestic issues, abandonment or poverty.  The school, which is in a secluded part of India and surrounded by rice fields, provides a sanctuary to around 50 children.

Using just one large room for everything, the children wake at around 5am.  They put away their blankets, mats, mosquito nets.  They do exercises and are showered and ready for breakfast by 7.30am, school starts at 8am.  They take out their school desks, sit on the floor and start their day of lessons. 

The school puts an emphasis on holistic education.  Alongside traditional schooling, the children are taught farm skills, milking cows, gardening, playing an instrument, sewing and cooking.  When the leave they have all the necessary skills to sustain themselves.  The older kids are assigned a younger child to mentor, so it really is a community that looks after one another.  Divya explained to our group that she found the children were very eager to learn everything, even studying in the evening so they could get more questions correct the following day.

The school relies completely on donations from local people and businesses.  They are in great need of books for all ages and reading levels.  Although the school looks lovely from the outside, the inside of the building is in need of some DIY to improve the conditions for these youngsters.

Divya finished her talk by thanking the Rotary Club of St Andrews for our support at the school.  She thought that sending students out there is a very worthwhile project for Rotaract.

Sylvia Donaldson gave a Vote of Thanks for the very interesting talk by Divya.

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