WHAT WE DO
At The India School Project, we believe that an individuals birthplace should not determine his or her future and that women and children deserve a world where equality is celebrated. Adhering to these core values, the past 8 years have been dedicated to investing in the future of disadvantaged children and their mothers on a remote island in an underdeveloped area of India. Regardless of religion or gender, we provide access to education, vocational training and health promotion.
Through long-term and sustainably planned aid, we support people to live a self- determined life free from poverty, discrimination and violence. Our help is aimed at improving the living conditions of those affected by these adversities and supporting them in taking the step towards independence.
This model is sustainable, long-term and effective.
HOW WE WORK
A full school education is the basis for the step out of poverty. This is where The India School Project comes in:
We provide children the possibility of a solid education and at the same time, inform their parents about its importance. Through workshops, we also enable women to learn new skills, support them in taking the step to independence and thus improve their living conditions.
It is a great challenge to break the vicious circle of poverty.
We learned that the vicious circle has its roots in the rural areas, far away from the well-known slums of the big cities. The poor living conditions cause people to hope for a better life in the cities and they move away from the countryside. Yet hardly anyone succeeds. In the metropolises, which are already bursting at the seams, most of the emigrants end up in miserable slums and are forced to continue their lives begging. Our support, therefore, had to be based in the rural areas, so that help can be offered where it is needed the most, while simultaneously easing the burden on the overcrowded urban slums.
About 100 kilometres south of Calcutta, the Sunderban Islands can be found. At 300 square kilometres, Sagar Island is the largest of this group. 43 villages are spread across the island, which include Chakfuldubi and Madirtala – the first two villages that are supported by the India School Project.
Almost three quarters of the local population earn less than 2 US dollars a day and a third live below the poverty line of 1.25 dollars a day. The men try to support their families through farming, fishing or the collection of shrimp eggs. Women and children share in the work as needed, so that at least one meal a day can be ensured. A family income averages 21 to 37 US dollars a month, which is barely enough to survive on.
Poverty/Right to Education
Whilst I had a right to education as a child, this cannot be taken for granted in West Bengal in India. Only about 45 out of a total of 5200 children in the region of the project attend secondary school.
The cast system (a hierarchical structure of societal groups) also plays a major role, whereby more than 50% of all village residents belong to the “backward classes”. The resulting negative effects, such as exploitation, child labour and poor earning potential, contribute to the increasing poverty of the subsequent generation.
Poor quality of schools
A further weighty factor in diminishing the children’s opportunity of having a humane future is the poor quality of the schools.Both teaching staff and teaching materials are lacking. Teachers often fail to turn up for their lessons and therefore many parents cannot see the point in sending their children to school. After all, the devastating poverty means that they depend on as many family members as possible working to contribute towards their sustenance.