It is new year in the education world here. Lots of people coming for admissions, enquiries, interviews for new staff. It seems that there will easily be 900 in the school come the 01st of July.
The 8th class students had a great result. One of the boys came 15th in the district (out of 32000 who sat the exam) and one of the girls came 44th in the district. It sent the whole of Pali into confusion as to how a school of village students can produce such good results (there is a mindset that city children are more intelligent). It is great to see the fruits of the teacher’s labor come so quickly.
For those who are part of the journey on the bus thought you might like to know the current position. Up till now donations for the buses amount to 1, 713, 962 rupees!!!! At the average rate of the dollar during the period that people have been giving (say 34 rupees) it comes to 50, 410 Australian dollars!! Fantastic, unbelievable, how can one express enough thanks for all the support??
We have utilized that money so far as follows:
- 566, 000 went on the purchase and repairing (to get it on the road) of the first bus which we took last year after starting the fundraising.
- 395000 was spent buying the second bus and by the time it is ready (it is under full repairing where we stripped it back to the frame to remove rust, put insulation in the roof and sides to protect from the heat, new wiring, seating, painting, tires etc etc) we plan that it will cost a total of 500000 rupees ( that’s about 14000 aud). ( there is a photo attached of the bus at it’s most naked point)
That leaves us with nearly 650, 000 rupees left.
At present we are looking for one more big bus. If we manage to get it on road for less than 500, 000 then I plan to look for one more small bus with the rest of the funds. I hope to find one for 200-250000 (there will still be a few seats left if someone can help out to reach that target). Then we are really in position to pick up all of the students and get them home without too much waiting.
It is quite complicated to fit in all of the villages (now we have 14) and also to deal with extra villages which are constantly requesting that they also be included on the bus routes (Last night I was invited to one village where the whole village turned up to convince us that their children should also be allowed to come).
Anyhow, I have to go. Tonight we have a meeting with the parents in one of the bigger villages on our route. They have arranged the whole meeting area and all parents are coming. It is impossible to describe just how unique that is in our area where parents normally try to avoid thinking that education is anything other than the schools responsibility.
Enjoy and please keep checking the site as we try and make it a little more interesting.
Ps: Last night we had the meeting and the highlight was one parent who was all teary eyed in gratitude. His daughter had just done the eighth class exams having joined the school this year. When she joined he was quite sure that she wouldn’t pass 8th class as she had only just scraped through seventh. She passed, actually she scored 76% which is more than double the pass mark of 36% and a super mark by any standards. Now she is starting to dream of going beyond 12th and even to college – in the college which is also starting in the Ashram this year!! You have to love it when things like that happen.
Swami Jasraj Puri