Silicon Valley-based Rani Goel (pictured above), of All India Movement (AIM) AIM for Seva, recently visited schools and hostels in the northern state of India to get first-hand experience as well as to see how children of impoverished rural India are accessing quality education and health care offered by Seva.
AIM for Seva, a non-profit, has been transforming the lives of children in rural India through its schools and Chatralayas, (student homes), which provide a conducive environment and access to value-based education, quality health care, and life-enriching cultural, spiritual, and recreational programming.
Goel, who visited Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, told indica, she felt great joy to see the funds they sent are in action, and benefiting the young children.
“I was impressed by the facilities at Swami Saraswati Dayananda Secondary School, An AIMS school in Rishikesh, Goel told indica. “The school provides education to 834 students — 478 boys and 356 girls — from KG to 12th grade. The facilities are basic but sufficient for students to get a well-rounded education in liberal arts, sciences, music, visual arts, and sports.”
Goel visited several classrooms and spoke to students to learn about their dreams and aspirations in life. “It was so fulfilling to be a small part of their journey. The students were engaged, disciplined, and looked happy. The school is looking to acquire a playground and also add an auditorium that would allow for the entire student body to assemble for schoolwide functions and showcase their talents to a wider student body. The school is currently seeking funding to build the auditorium.”
On her visit to the Girls’ hostel in Rishikesh, supported by AIM for Seva, she said: “The hostel is about 35 minutes drive from Rishikesh, where these girls attend the English Medium Swami Saraswati Dayananda Secondary School. A school bus provides them with transportation. The age of the 29 girls currently residing at the Chatralaya ranges from 6 to 17 years and some of them are siblings. The girls come from poor backgrounds where their parents are daily wagers — the mother may be a domestic help, and the father a laborer or a street-cart vendor. Without the financial support and time to study that an AIMS Chatralaya provides these girls, wouldn’t be able to get even basic education and an opportunity to be literate.”
She spoke to many of the girls and found that when at home they are shouldering the burden of housework which leaves them exhausted and without much time to focus on getting an education. “They seemed happy at the hostel, were neatly dressed, and very gracious. Like other children their age, many of them love music and dancing and once we got going, they were happy to showcase their talent with enthusiasm. It was very fulfilling to visit the Chatralaya and see the positive impact the donations through AIMS are making on these young lives. Thanks to the donors the children have an opportunity to get basic education, which is the right of every child.”
The model of building only Chatralayas (hostels) to house and nurture children near an operational government k-12 school has now evolved into a Vidyalaya (residential school campus) that brings together an English medium school and a students’ hostel on one campus. The school provides a proven value-based curriculum to 1,500 deserving students who otherwise would not have access to a formal education.
“This groundbreaking new direction deepens the reach of AIM for Seva into underserved areas of rural India and offers students of different age groups the benefit of highly qualified teachers truly invested in their success, allowing them to achieve greater school performance, acceptance into colleges, and fulfill employment dreams,” she added.
One such complex, funded by many donors from the Bay Area is under construction in Roorkee. “On my recent trip to Rishikesh, I had the opportunity to visit this site and meet with several people involved in direct oversight of the project. I was very pleased to see the progress of the project. The structure is almost fully built and will be undergoing final finishes and completion over the next few months. The school is expected to start in the 2024 academic year and, at full capacity, will provide education to 1150 students. The complex is located near the Roorkee,”
Haridwar area which has always had a high demand for education, more so now as the rural families and children transition from an entirely agriculture-based economy to a more knowledge-based economy. I see a good future for the school.”
AIM For Seva Bay Area chapter is hosting its annual donor appreciation gala on Oct 28 at Santa Clara Convention Center, 5001 Great America Parkway, Santa Clara. The proceeds raised each year goes to the education of impoverished and marginalized tribal children in India. Click here to donate and attend the gala.
For more information check out AIM for Seva, Bay area and AIM for Seva, USA.