August 21 2017

Back to School, Stay in School

Sonmati Kumari dreams of becoming a teacher when she grows up. Every morning as she crosses the small Indian village of Habipur to go to school, she moves closer to her goal. She is one of 135 destitute children with hopes and dreams for the future who attend the village school that Karuna-Shechen established three years ago.

Sonmati and her brothers, Sanoj and Anuj

Last year there was no free school in or near her village and she had to walk to a private school. When the tuition fees suddenly rose from 150 rupees to 5000 rupees, her parents — a pedlar and a seasonal agricultural worker — could no longer afford it. Sadly, Sonmati had to drop-out of school, a reality faced by many Himalayan children.

Now, thanks  to the Karuna-Shechen School, Sonmati can continue her studies.

Karuna-Shechen runs three small elementary schools nicknamed babua schools (the loving nickname for children in India).

Sarita Kumari is one of the teachers whom our team recruited and trained: “Without this school, the majority of the children in the village would not have access to education and would remain illiterate,” she says. “Private schools are far too expensive and the public school is very far away, and such poor quality that the children stop going.”

Sarita Kumari and her students

Karuna-Shechen’s schools are lively places for children to learn and actively participate in extra-curricular activities.

At the Karuna-Shechen School in the small village of Dema, we organize sports activities. Last year, we took students to Bodhgaya to see Alice in Wonderland — a first for the children, most of whom had never left their village!

“What I like best about this school is that I can learn while having fun,” says Sushma, a 12-year-old girl who had dropped out because the journey to public school was too long and dangerous.

Sushma was able to continue her studies with Karuna-Shechen. Now she is not only learning, but she is filled with hope for her future!

Thank you for your support of children like Sonmati and Sushma.