In the Spotlight: Fighting Poverty with Education by The India School Project

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“We believe that the place of birth of a child must not dictate his or her future and therefore we collectively invest in the future of disadvantaged village children in underdeveloped areas.” 

It is an absolute pleasure to introduce a partnership that aims to bring exposure to a great cause. This segment is dedicated to fighting poverty and improving children’s lives in disadvantaged areas: enter the India School Project. Sandra Gojkovic, friend and founder,  talks us through her venture helping the disadvantaged in rural areas and building a haven for children and families affected by poverty through education and long-term sustainable assistance. Over to you Sandra… 994768_152719788248548_1932006948_n

The India School Project is a non-profit, non-denominational and politically neutral charitable association headquartered in Switzerland. The awareness that education is the foundation for the path out of poverty determines the objective of The India School Project: to provide rural families affected by poverty with the opportunity of a solid school education and to simultaneously raise awareness of the importance of education.  We see the key to long-term and sustainable support in educational work and in helping people to help themselves. Our mission is to improve the living conditions of the people affected and supporting them in their journey towards independence. 

How it all started…

I enjoyed my parents’ frequent travels from a very young age. My childhood was marked by the impressions of the most varied destinations and cultures and the journeys in the caravan particularly allowed me to come into close contact with the people in each place. Being confronted with poverty awakened my desire to help disadvantaged people at an early stage. I attempted to keep up with that by regularly donating money to various charities throughout my studies. However, this only fuelled my drive to become involved and the plan to personally and actively help had been at the back of my mind ever since. In 2011, I embarked on a journey throughout India, which allowed me to redefine my priorities. I encountered truly unbelievable poverty that can barely be put into words. As a backpacker, I crossed several areas of India by myself, visited several NGOs and helped locally in order to understand the source of this poverty and the potential for providing sustainable aid. My support 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.
My dream of being able to achieve a positive change in the world was realised step by step. In 2012, the money I saved up and the support of local partner organisations enabled the birth of the school project CFDS.

 The School…

On December 18, 2012, the primary school CFDS in India was officially open using my own resources. Positive feedback and numerous offers of assistance led to the founding of an association. On the 6th of April 2013, the READ association was brought into being, with the aim of improving the quality of life of underprivileged rural residents in developing countries. The school project was entitled “The India School Project” and it is locally supported by the partner association AICIJA (All India Crime and Investigative Journalists Association).969206_152719801581880_605336325_n

Since the opening,  90 children divided into three classes are being educated at our school.  The curriculum is based on a holistic approach, which stimulates the cognitive, social and emotional growth of the students. Apart from the main subjects of maths, English and Bengali, extra-curricular subjects, such as drawing, dance, sports and singing are taught. We are currently developing the offer of further subjects, which will soon allow us to actively discuss day-to-day issues at the school in areas such as social studies, health and hygiene. 

Children are served a warm meal when they attend school. This has a positive effect on their performance and serves as motivation for regular class attendance. Infrastructure, teaching materials and support are provided for free. The creation of local jobs contributes to the improvement of the economic situation of the entire village.  All teaching and project staff are always available to offer advice to the children, as well as to the parents.

It is a great challenge to break the vicious circle of poverty. Experience has shown that lasting and sustainable aid creates opportunities for the people affected to successfully achieve that. A solid and comprehensive school education is the foundation for an autonomous life – and that is exactly where The India School Project comes in and continues to thrive…

On behalf of Nutrition A-Z, I would like to take the opportunity to salute you and every individual like you who are dedicated to the fight against poverty, hunger and social inequality. It takes a simple vision, a journey and persistence to bring change to the world. “The direction in which education starts a man will determine his future in life.” 

For donations and how to help the India School Project, click here.

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