A Unique Model of Education: An Innovative Solution to Poverty
SPECIAL APPEAL FOR ST.PATRICK'S SCHOOL TO SUPPORT THE EDUCATION OF THE POOR DALIT CHILDREN
Our academy is more than just a school. We offer a completely unique approach for educating the poor. No other model of educational intervention commits the same level of long-term and quality investment in the lives of these children, or holds more promise for their futures and those of their families. St. Patrick’s Academy was founded in 2012 with the hope of providing cost effective and quality education to children who are socially and economically disadvantaged in the rural villages which have no adequate facilities to standard education. Our academy was an extension of St.Patrick’s Home that was originally started in 2000 to provide free room and board and school school for dalit children from the rural villages who have no access and opportunities for quality education.
St.Patrick’s Academy is certainly a unique program that is designed to suit the needs of children who lack opportunities. We try a model that not many have thought of. We invest in the lives of those who may not able to return anything back to us. We see something potential in them through which they can contribute something significant both for the community and for the nation. This is the reason we would like to peel out something from these children who one day can become great leaders and productive members of our society. What keeps most of our people in bondage is illiteracy, poverty and ignorance. This is the reason why most of them have always been at the bottom. They had no scope of moving forward. It is my conviction that our academy will serve as a symbol of hope to children from socially and economically deprived backgrounds, and a means to attain their dreams.
Our academy has a wonderful academic setting. We have five class rooms which are designed optimally to enhance their learning. For example, each classroom is freshly painted and decorated with colorful pictures that attract the children. Each room has sufficient work desks and benches to inspire learning. In order to develop the skills and encourage creativity, the children have access to a nice garden and an outdoor playground. These children are truly lucky when you compare many schools in our areas without proper buildings and amenities such as toilet, playground and water tank. In some places, teachers conduct classes under the trees due to lack of class rooms. Our students are truly blessed to have all of them under one campus. While many dalit kids still are discriminated against even in schools, we try to encourage them and instill on their minds that the ‘Sky is the Limit’. St. Patrick’s Academy is the answer to a better and brighter future for the poor.
St.Patrick’s Academy, is located at V.Salai near Villupuram in the State of Tamil Nadu, South India. This is 100 Miles South of Chennai, the Capital of Tamil Nadu and 30 Miles West of Pondicherry. Out of the 29 districts in Tamil Nadu, the Villupuram District ranks 28th in literacy. 64.48% of males and only 53% of the women are literate. Consequently, parents cannot provide their children with the help they need to succeed academically. They have limited knowledge of the opportunities that are available outside their villages and can provide limited guidance for their children. India has 22% of the world’s population and 46% of the world’s illiterates.
• Offer excellence in education to socially and economically disadvantaged children.
• Create highly productive members of society with strong educational backgrounds and leadership skills.
• Provide strong academic background in meeting the challenges of the growing economy of India.
Our vision is to give hope to children who live in desperate situation and offer opportunities for qualitative education which will gradually close the gap between the rich and poor and build a nation where everyone can live security and dignity. Our model is based on the education that gives hope and promise and assures them that sky is the limit. Given proper care, support, and educational opportunities, the poor children will be able to succeed in life and bring about social change to their communities.
Literacy is a key for socio-economic progress. India today faces a unique crisis. While its economy grows and flourishes, millions of people are being left behind without access to the same standards of education and opportunity as the more fortunate. Today, over 75% of India’s population lives on less than $2 per day. India has a growing number of billionaire and millionaire, the poor remains the same. Education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty permanently. A huge discrepancy exists between the rich and poor. Many lack basic essentials of life such as safe drinking water, sanitation, housing, and health infrastructure. Their children suffer malnutrition, are unable to attend school, and ultimately become victims of child labor. Dalit solidarity has designed programs to promote both academic and vocational education as means of giving them hope .
Education is a key in eliminating caste based discrimination and ultimately empowering people for a great future. This led us to establish St. Patrick’s Academy in June, 2012. Our school is the most affordable, qualitative and cost-effective for the poor children. We envision closing the gap between rich and poor, and building a nation where everyone can live in security and dignity. We started the school with 120 children from 16 remote villages. The number of students increased to 220 in one year. We have dramatically seen 40% increase of enrollment for this academic year beginning June of 2014, with 300 students and 20 school staff! This overwhelming growth affirms St. Patrick Academy's effectiveness and shows our parents' passion to obtain for their children the right foundation for a good future. As we step into the fourth year, we are expanding to serve children from nursery age to high school. Currently we have more than 560 children who are enrolled in our school. Currently we have more than 800 children as we move towards the fifth year in 2016.
Most of our students are the children of day laborers. Their parents work in the rice paddies and sugar cane fields for about four months each year. The annual income for a family of five in our villages is about $150. They live in mud huts with thatched roofs and dirt floors. There is no indoor plumbing and limited electricity. Their diet is primarily rice. They are the first members of their families to attend secondary school; the first who can read and write more than their names. In addition to dealing with extreme poverty, these students also face serious discrimination from a society that tells them that regardless of their efforts in the classroom or the workplace, because they are Dalits, they will never be the equal of their non-Dalit friends.
How Can you Help us?
With growth comes challenges. The biggest challenge is to balance the Academy's books. This growth has caused a financial crisis, as we struggle to pay salaries to a larger staff, cover costs of transporting students from distant villages, and maintain school structures and grounds. Most of our parents go for daily work where they make less than $2.00 per day. Their daily income does not even cover their costs of adequate groceries. Expecting parents to pay for school tuition is too much, although they contribute to expenses as best they can. They have a dream for their children but they need support to make this dream a reality. Please join the Dalit Solidarity family today by sponsoring a child, or offering a loved one the gift of a donation in his or her name. Sponsoring a child is the most powerful way to fight poverty. Our sponsorship program gives hope, love and life's essentials to one child at a time. Help us break the cycle of poverty and save precious lives. When you sponsor a child, you give them the promise of a bright future. For $30 per month, you can ensure that your child is educated, healthy, protected, cared for and feels loved in the community.