Celtic Cross Free Primary School

To all who are taking the time to read this,

On Saturday night CYCLONE Bulbul hit the region of West Bengal where Celtic Cross Fps is situated, causing devastating DAMAGE in the area. To my complete distress most of the ROOF was blown off.

This is an URGENT APPEAL to raise funds to rebuild a STEEL structure ROOF in the hope of preventing this ever happening again. I am also eager to get the school open & running smoothly again as soon as possible. 

A summary of My Work there : 

If anyone had told me that my life would be changed forever following my first journey to Kolkata in 2005, I would have laughed. Little did I know that 3 years later I would have opened a school in rural West Bengal and 6 years later would be honoured with the title of ‘Carlow Person of the Year’.

Having been to Kolkata 8 times now, I can confidently call it a home away from home. There are often days where I am falling asleep at the computer thinking ‘what have I got myself into?’ However, reality soon sets in and I know, from the bottom of my heart, that despite any tiredness and the relentless hours of work I have to do, that I will dedicate myself to this project for as long as my life will enable me to do so. The fulfilment and elation one feels from being able to do so much for those living below the poverty level is indescribable.

On the 24th of April 2008 a 4 classroom school was officially opened with 151 children in attendance, from Nursery up to Class III. Many of these had no previous education and it took the 4 teachers a full year to become acquainted with all pupils, dividing them into appropriate classes according to their abilities. We did not take up to Class IV on the inaugural year for this reason.
Celtic Cross Free Primary School caters for children from 3 - 14 years of age. They then, hopefully, progress onto the Government schools, where they study up to Class X. Unfortunately many of the poor, underprivileged villagers drop out after Class IV as their parents are unable to pay for the school textbooks, uniform etc. This is a travesty when one considers that it would cost from €50 - €80 a year to fund this further education – alas, an average wage of only €120 per year makes it next to impossible for most families in the area to even consider sending their child to the next level of education. Thus many children never realise their full potential.

When the first class left Celtic Cross Free Primary School in 2010, I decided to employ an extra teacher to provide each of them with tuition in all subjects as they entered further education. That teacher worked with the children from 6.00 – 9.30am each morning before they continued on to the Government schools. Another secondary teacher was employed in January 2012 and now I pay 3 Teachers to work with these students who have graduated from Celtic Cross. We call this the FOLLOW UP Program and 2 of my very first students at the school progressed on to College this year

In December 2010 the new 30ft by 21ft classroom was completed and a solar panel was erected to provide each classroom with its own fan and lights.  Since then, we are now blessed with electricity in the area. Class IV use this new classroom and there will eventually be more Computers added to the other end of the room to set up COMPUTER TRAINING in the evenings. 

Another new room was built right out to the boundary walls in 2014 and this is a VOCATIONAL TRAINING Room where the mothers are taught how to sew. This process initially began in February 2011 in a classroom when the children went home. There are lots of mothers and teenage girls who complete this intensive training programme now and each year they make new uniforms for all children in the school and receive a wage from my project. Many now earn a regular income making clothes, from the comfort of the school, for a factory in Kolkata while others make clothes for their family or local businesses. 

In Celtic Cross Free Primary School the children are taught all subjects, with a major emphasis on English. It is hoped to break the vicious cycle where very few get to see Kolkata or further afield, due to not having a sufficient command of the language. The goal is to provide these children with a good standard of English so they can excel in their English exams and proceed to further education.

The children also receive HEALTH and HYGIENE lessons each week, in conjunction with the MEDICAL camps that are run there regularly. These camps cater for everyone in Purkait Gheri and neighbouring villages, providing each patient with any medicines that they require.

A mobile LIBRARY has been established at the school and the children love to read to their parents some evenings, and listen to their parents read to them. This provides quality time for families away from the hard work on the land.

It is important to emphasise that every cent of all donations and funding ever received goes towards the running of the school - textbooks, copies, stationery, uniforms, shoes, maintenance etc .. and most importantly the WAGES of the 5 class teachers, the follow up teachers and the Vocational Training Teacher. Without the wonderful generosity of friends, acquaintances and others it would not be possible to have the school running as successfully as it is. Each donation has also enabled me to provide continual teacher training, including educating all staff in computer skills over the next few months.

EDUCATION is one of the greatest gifts that a child can receive – Celtic Cross Free Primary School aims to ensure that in this deprived part of India, as many children as possible receive the education and chance in life that their circumstances may otherwise have denied them. All of us working in the education sector can, I'm sure, appreciate the importance of that.

I would greatly appreciate any help and am willing to travel to give talks to schools, clubs, colleges etc that would like to know more about my work there. 

Thanking you in advance,
Kindest Regards,
Elaine

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Donations

  • Anonymous 
    • €50 
    • 3 mos
  • Eimear Critchley 
    • €30 
    • 5 mos
  • Mike Johnson 
    • €25 
    • 6 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • €50 
    • 6 mos
  • Michelle Victory-Linnane 
    • €10 
    • 7 mos
See all

Organizer

Elaine Jones 
Organizer
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