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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Increasing enrollments

At the start of the new school year (which by some bizarre twist is in late April in Rajasthan - and they have end of year holidays one month after that) we had 280 students in the school. Something must be going right because as you can see below our present enrollments are quite a bit beyond that.

As we have a policy of not keeping more than 40 students in the class in 3rd class onwards and not more than 25 in KG - 2nd it means that we now have a lot of classes! ( In most schools here they will keep up to 70 students in the class before making two sections).

It's nice to see so many fresh faces and so much enthusiasm.

Heres the list

Class

Boys

Girls

Total

KG

37

24

61

1st

25

16

41

2nd

20

19

39

3rd

21

17

38

4th

19

18

37

5th

34

19

53

6th

34

15

49

7th

16

11

27

8th

18

09

27

9th

30

23

53

10th

28

06

34

11th

24

11

35

12th

04

07

11

Total

306

195

501

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The new bus - fully loaded

This is the new school bus just as the students have arrived in the morning.

Who knows how but there are more than 100 students coming on the bus. We have started to refuse to take any more students from this route because any bigger load will get unsafe.

Thanks to all who have helped and are planning to help with buying this bus. You really don't know what difference it makes to the students from the villages.

At last count the collection of donations for the bus was reaching the 9000 dollar mark. If you count 1 thank you from each child in the photos then there are at least 300 thank yous coming your way.



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Scenes after the big wet

Some scenes during and after the rains of 04th July 2007. We had 350mm of rain in 24 hours which is the most rain to fall in 37 years. It left the whole area flooded, roads broken, many houses destroyed. The main problems came from dams that hadn't had water for 15 years suddenly filling and then breaking sending torrents of water to the villages below. Our JCB excavator spent a nervous night plugging the hole in one dam 10km from the Ashram which, if it had broken, would have taken out three complete villages. However despite all the hassle everyone is happy to have the rain. It has been 5 years of drought and now mother earth is drinking her full.
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The Arth

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Tradition old and new

In the background is one of the residential buildings of the Ashram. In the foreground a traditional method of drawing water, the cups pulling up water by a system that is pulled by two bulls. The "Arth" as it is called, was built this year by some old craftsmen who still remember the rapidly dying method. Nowadays there are very few of these machines left in Pali District as they have been replaced by tube wells and electric pumps which have rapidly decreased the water level. The sound of this machine as it turns is so relaxing and peaceful it brings you to another era.
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the dam full is a beautiful sight

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


today we didn't get many of the children to school as we had 12 hours continuous rain. In the afternoon the water was coming in to our dam with quite some speed. When you live in the desert the sound of all this water rushing over a 10 metre drop is loud and beautiful.

The dam was excavated 5 years ago and is 120 metres long, 110 metres wide and 10.5 metres deep. It stores water that we can then use throughout the year. Today so much water has fallen that it should be pretty full by the morning.

The water level in this photo is 4 metres
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Monday, July 2, 2007

Hari om,

today the total reached 8500 dollars. Thanks to everyone and please keep giving your support. Although we have possession of the bus in order to pay for it we have to get to 15000 dollars.

Yours
Swami Jasraj puri

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Today is the first day of school. We didn’t get our new school building ready on time but it will be ready by the end of the month. Meanwhile we are cramming into the old building. Last count we had 95 new students, which brought the total up to 380 in the school. However this morning I went to have a look and there were at least 40 more students there waiting to apply for admission. It looks that in the end we will have around 450 students this year!!! Considering that when we had 300 students the building was pretty full it is going to be packed for the next few weeks.

The new bus went out on it’s first run and came back full as ………….I think there were about 85 students inside. It is a great bus. We bought it second hand and it spent 3 weeks getting refurbished. Now it looks like new and the kids are sitting looking like royalty in the newest bus they have ever seen.

The atmosphere is great. The teaching staff are full of enthusiasm. It has been quite a struggle to go through in the last 5 years, so many problems with staff, students, parents, transport and it is gratifying to see it come to the stage we are at now. Thanks to everyone for all the help.

Now that the light of the school is back (the students) I hope to really get around to taking some good photos and getting them to everyone.

News about the raising of funds for the bus is that to date there has been raised more than 8000 dollars (aud). Thanks to everyone who has helped particularly Mukti, Adidas and everyone in Perth, Gay and David McKinley and their friends in Sydney and everyone else who has put in. Every drop counts. Last we heard they were making efforts to help with the project from Liverpool (UK) to Japan to Sydney to Perth! It is a great feeling for everyone here to be supported from so many different places.

Thanks to all

Yours

Swami Jasraj Puri