On the 13th of October 2019, we are running the Eindhoven half-marathon with an aim to raise funds for the free-schools initiative run by the Art of Living foundation in the state of Orissa.
ABOUT THE INITIATIVE (Art of Living Free Schools https://www.artoflivingschools.org/
The free schools initiative run by the Art of Living foundation supports underprivileged children in rural areas by providing them stress free and holistic education at zero-cost. This includes transportation, text books and stationery, school uniforms, mid-day meals and regular medical checkup camps. Since Art of Living schools provide free education they depend greatly on the efforts of their volunteers and generous donations received from world over.
The children enrolled in these schools come from the families of poor farmers, farm labourers, garbage collectors, construction site workers and daily wage labourers. Most of the children are first generation in the family to get an education.
The initiative which started in 1981 with one school today has more than 700 schools across India and has reached out to more than 70000 students in 22 states.
For this fundraiser we are focusing on three such schools in the state of Odisha. The schools are located in the villages of Sanbambua, Mangalpur and Diaton having enrollment of 122, 205 and 322 students respectively.
Below are some snapshots from these schools.
HOW ARE WE RELATED TO IT
We came across the foundation via its stress relief program called the Happiness Program. The techniques taught in the program had a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing of the participants. It not only brought about a lasting change in our lives but also developed a sincere urge to give back to the society. For more than 5 years we have been volunteering in different initiatives of the foundation in India and here in Netherlands. Having personally seen the different schools operated by the foundation and the impact on the lives of the students, we were encouraged to support this initiative.
WHAT ARE WE RAISING MONEY FOR
The donation amount will be utilized for constructing toilets and classrooms which are urgently needed. Below is a breakup of requirements of each school:
The total costs for the same will be around 3750 EUR. Once raised, we will transfer it to the foundation and will be monitoring the progress through regular updates.
I would request you to sponsor us by donating to this cause. The students of the schools will be ever grateful to your donation.
Shrikant, Aman and Balkrishna.
More about the schools:
Back in 2011, Diaton and other nearby villages did not have a proper primary school. Looking at the plight of the villagers two Art of Living volunteers Dr Pritish and Ms Harapriya took the initiative to start a school with the help of villagers and enrolled students from nearby villages. The classes continued in the same house for three years. In the fourth year a devotee named Mr Lambodar donated one Acre land for the school. With the help of local devotees two rooms with GI sheet roof were constructed. Today there are 8 rooms and two toilets. The school has 322 students today and has received Government recognition. 9th standard was started in this year. The school employs 14 teachers and has a school bus for students coming from outside the village.
Started in the year 2011 with 8 students in a devotee's house. There was no school in the village back then. Ms Prameela, the local AOL teacher, took necessary steps to develop the school and spread education. The number of students increased with each passing year. One devotee Mr Ram donated one-acre land and construction of school started in 2014. Today the school has 212 students and classes up to 8th standard. School needs a separate water facility as currently they are dependent on a common village tube well near the school. The school also needs separate Toilets for girls and boys. A van has been provided to the school and there are 12 teachers in the school.
The School started in the year 2010 in a tribal village. Ms Basanti, an Art of Living volunteer, started the school in a community hall with the help of Sarpanch (village head). The villagers are daily wage laborers and most of the students are first in their family to get formal education. This initiative by the Art of Living received enthusiastic response from the villagers and increasing number of students started enrolling in the school every year. The school stands on gifted land and has 5 rooms with GI sheet roof. The school received Government recognition last year. A bus has been provided to the school for convenience of students from outside the village. As on date there are 112 students and 10 teaching staff.