Updated: Feb 17
PHASE 1 - Government Lower Primary School - Basnal- Successfully completed.
New Horizons foundation was aimed at serving kids and young adults from underprivileged societies with essentials that can help them lead a good quality life and education without boundaries.
When we visited several schools in the area to survey the conditions , we noticed each school had unique challenges. As Phase 1 of our initiative we focused on Government Lower Primary School that provided education from grades 1 to 5. For all the previous years, the students sat on cold floors for their classes as no funding was available to supply benches. It proved to be highly challenging, especially during monsoon weather conditions. We also needed more teaching materials and teaching faculty due to the remote location of the schools.
Anika and I gathered funds over the past 3 years and donated a Smart TV, a USB pen drive for downloading and storing teaching materials, Three-seater desks, round tables for little kids, Chairs, Classroom table with drawers and lockers. The project was implemented on Feb 17th, 2023 with support from Local Rotary Club -Hubli (North) branch, who helped us with transporting furniture's and TV to this remote location. We were able to virtually witness the event and were extremely pleased to see the joy and acknowledgement form the locals.
We would like to thank the local government, all the involved political parties and Rotary Club - Hubli (North) who helped us in making this pilot program a success. This initiative would not have been possible if we did not receive the guidance and direction from Bazil D'souza and Sister Leena who helped us carve the path and took us to the areas that needed the most help. We are ever indented to their support with helping us plan and execute thos project.
Mainalli is a village in Karnataka State, located about 750 km from the Bengaluru metro. Census India 2011 stats show a population of 19,124 residents, with 10,089 males and 9,035 females. Education literacy is 54%. Mainalli has 12 government schools, of which 4 are solely for girls.
There are low enrollment and school attendance of girls in these schools as a girl due to a lack of basic hygiene and sanitation facilities such as toilets and washrooms and the availability of hygiene products. It isn't easy to imagine the living and educational conditions of girls in such places. A little help, initiative and funding can contribute to the upliftment of the living condition for these students.
New Horizons Foundation will be working with individuals, organizations, partners, and other contributors and all proceeds will be used in the following ways:
Provide e-learning facilities to enhance the basic education and learning experience for primary and secondary schools in and around Mainali.
Create and maintain toilet and washroom facilities that are sustainable clean, sanitary and safe.
Provide hygiene products in schools
Remove or reduce the barriers to attending school and learning – such as providing supplementary teaching assistants and tutors to increase the staff to students ratio
Contribute to other high-priority and key outcome initiatives to help and sustain attendance and school participation
2011 Census Details Mainalli's Local Language is Kannada. Manali Village Total population is 8426 and the number of houses is around 1597. The female Population is around 49.4%. (4162) The female Literacy rate is 25.6 % ( 2153) The village literacy rate is around 57.3% (4828) Child (0 -6) Population by 2011 was around 1228 Girl Child (0 -6) Population by 2011 (616)
Our visit to Mainhalli and Basnal
This summer was used to visit Mainalli and conduct a brief analysis of the schools we were looking to provide e-learning resources and sanitary products. To conduct this analysis we asked a representative from the Rotary in India who is also our main point of contact for this project, is a local Rotarian Mr. Bazil D'Souza and Sr. Leena from Holy Cross Convent. D'Souza Sir formally introduced us to the sisters who run the Holy Cross Organization in Mainalli and teachers working within the schools we are providing resources for.
There are 12 schools in and around Mainalli that we would like to develop.
Holy Cross Convent :
Our trip started with a visit to the Convent run by the Ursuline Nuns. We were extremely humbled by their hospitality. After breakfast, Sister Leena accompanied us to provide a tour of various schools. We decided to visit 3 schools during our stay at Mainalli.
Government Lower Primary School (GLPS) Basnal:
GLPS Basnal was the 1st of the 12 schools we visited. The School has only 2 classrooms. One is a classroom with students in grades 1 and 2 combined, the second is a classroom for grades 3 and 4 combined. The classrooms contained groups of two or more grades combined together due to the shortage of educators and facilities. Further, upon entering the classroom we were shocked to see that the students were learning barefoot and were seated on the hard, cold floor.
This was a far different display than what we are accustomed to growing up in Canada where desks and heaters are resources that are taken for granted. Visiting this school and watching the ground reality was an eye-opener. It made us appreciate the privileges we have in a developed country. These little kids come from far away places on foot without proper shoes or weather-appropriate clothing. It was heartbreaking to see the effort it takes for these kids to reach the school, especially in the bad weather. It was a pleasure to see their smiling innocent faces and the enthusiasm they showed in spite of the hardships. It was enough to help us be thankful for everything around us.
Government Higher Primary School (GHPS) Gunjawati:
GHPS Gunjawati was the second school that had three classes grades 4 -7. This school was slightly better in comparison to the lower primary school. It had benches but lacked adequate education materials and also there was a severe shortage of educators as not many people are willing to stay in the rural areas with a lack of facilities and manage a household. While others were not very keen on travelling from the nearby villages to teach especially during monsoons when the travel gets very treacherous.
Government High School (GHS) Mainalli:
GHS, Mainalli, The 3rd school was a high school with students in grades 8-12. The classroom had senior students and was equipped with desks and chairs and looked much better furnished. However, the school lacked clean and functioning facilities to enable girls to safely clean themselves and hygienically dispose of or use sanitary products. This resulted in girls not attending school for weeks at a time at least once a month. The school also lacked proper education methods for educating girls on menstrual cycles and how to keep themselves clean and healthy.
Through discussions with staff members, we learnt that prior to Covid, the high school was being provided free sanitary products through Swachh Bharat Mission. However, post-Covid, shipments of the product stopped. As a result, a project we hope to implement further down the line is a hygienic and safe sanitary product changing station which will be connected to the girls' washroom and will contain sanitary products. This will ensure the facility is accessible for girls who are menstruating enabling them to feel comfortable coming to school. This washroom will also undergo some level of renovation to ensure it is a clean space for female students to use.
Government Lower Primary School (GLPS) Godnal :
GLPS) Godnal was the final school we visited. It was another lower primary school but was unique in itself and thanks to the forward-thinking teachers and their planning had some great solutions to handle issues related to crises related to the shortage of educators and training materials. This school was called the model school in the area because of its unique setup.
The school utilized modern technology to enhance the learning experience. It has initiated an e-learning facility through the usage of smart TVs. the training materials they acquired through youtube were extraordinary and truly displayed the vision pursued by the principal within limited facilities was simply a pleasure to watch. As we were wondering about what are the options for enhancing education at other schools we visited. This initiative gave us the idea to provide an e-learning option to the other schools we visited. We hence decided that the provision of smart TVs would be the most effective and useful mode of e-learning due to its low maintenance, and easy accessibility and usage. We observed that teachers in the model school were all trained to use smart TVs to teach the material of a wide range to the students. This is essential as it contributes to the TV's low maintenance as the teachers who are trained in this field will have the basic knowledge surrounding the TV and are equipped to deal with smaller issues that may arise.
These visits not only enlightened us about various realities but also gave us an opportunity to find various media to help out. Currently, our primary objective is to implement the projects in various schools in multiple phases, and in parallel collect additional funds to be able to support all the 12 schools in and around Mainalli.