The project ASHA KIRAN SCHOOL aims to further the education of the poorest and most socially disadvantaged children of the hill district Raigad in India. The remoteness from the town, and the need for the children to contribute to the family income early in life both impede the children’s regular schooling. Barely 7% of the male and less than 3% of the female adult population can read and write.
The more fortunate ones may find a job with extremely low wages on a building site or with a brickmaker. And even then the tribe members often have to leave their villages, together with their entire families, for a number of months. The more specialized, industrial jobs are out of reach for the tribal people because of their lack of education.
The children and young people suffer most from this situation, but equally they are the greatest source of hope: they are not resigned to their fate and they are hungry to learn and to succeed in life. They can grow and adapt to their situation and can ultimately change their future for the better - if they are given access to education!
And here we can introduce Asha Kiran School. The Sisters of the Nagpur Houses of Mary Immaculate have been working in the service of the tribal people since 1991. Up until now the sisters have organised mobile schooling. Supplementary lessons take place regularly in the villages in order to prepare the children for the primary school or to teach the curriculum of year 1 to year 4 of the state Zilla Parishad.
The Sisters have also organised Bhonga-schools for the children of the nomadic workers. These are temporary huts, erected by the Sisters in close proximity to the building sites, which can serve as home schools.
In the year 2000 the Asha Kiran School opened a simple hostel in Pen together with a small school for girls from the villages. The Sisters have been able to persuade many of the tribal leaders that ultimately an educated woman would be a real asset for the community.
In 2008 the Sisters decided to erect a school building of their own in a central position. The school curriculum is in line with the requirements of the state so that the pupils can sit the usual examinations. The Sisters’ school has been approved by the state, but it has been made clear that no financial support can be expected.
At present a two-storey building is under construction with a ground plan covering approx. 8600 sq.ft. The Kindermissionswerk Aachen has undertaken to finance 90% of the shell work of the building. Now we must raise the money to equip the school with electrical installations, with the usual school furniture and with many other necessities for practical daily life.
We have been in personal contact with the Sisters in India for many years. This personal contact can guarantee that your donation is used for the purposes described and as you would wish.
With our heartfelt thanks!
Ulrich and Bernadette Wolf
Committee members of Aktion Untkhana and Asha Kiran e.V.