For children in rural India who are growing up in difficult circumstances, a school is more than a place of academic instruction. It is a sanctuary where they can be children again, feel safe and happy, surrounded by caring teachers who not only give them the education and skills to face the future, but also become their emotional pillar.
Since 2006, over 130,000 students have passed through the 254 Satya Bharti Schools. Each child’s story is an inspiring story of change. They are stories where deep positive impact has been made on a child’s life or that of a family or a community as a whole. It is our experience that sustainable impact gets created when every stakeholder including children, who are at the core of all our programs, take charge of their responsibilities and contribute together. We have come to appreciate the fact that everybody wants change, wants to create something better and make an impact. Therefore, everybody becomes a contributor, a mentor, a hero, and a change agent. And, in Satya Bharti Schools, the biggest change agents are our students.
Today, a boy from a remote village amidst unending sand dunes in Jodhpur is learning to read and has dreams of becoming an Army officer; a girl, so long denied the same opportunity to education as her brothers is now taking her rightful place in the classroom and she too dreams of making her country proud by joining the Army. A rural teacher is empowered with the best-in class training and teaching-learning material to impart the knowledge her students need, and is creating a positive change in many young lives every day. Committed teachers go beyond the walls of the school and engage parents and community in this journey of ensuring better future for children.
Parents as well as the community play a significant role in encouraging and sustaining our efforts to ensure education for all, specially the girl child. Parents take charge of their role in school, contribute in the school’s activities and even get actively involved in the children’s studies. Since our students come from underprivileged families, participation from the parents and community takes the program impact to a much higher level. Sarpanches of the villages from where our students come, continue to play an exceptional role in supporting our children to lead social campaigns that have the potential to transform whole communities.
Our students have truly been the best change agents. They have taken charge of their future by working along with their teachers in classes; staying engaged with their studies and all co-curricular activities in schools. Student leaders are imparting their duties in the schools – be it as the Head Girl or Boy, as House Captains or as the Cleanliness Ambassadors.
The invisible engine of this entire initiative is the field team on ground. Our officers, who are committed to make this world a better place for our children, go the extra mile to take concrete actions every day and ensure that each part of the program runs as per the vision. No matter what the time, distance or weather – they stay on job dealing with issues, providing solutions, mentoring people, taking decisions – thereby ensuring that the program runs smoothly!
Educating a child is an investment in her future – and in this world’s. Holistic education creates responsible and caring individuals who would give back to the society and their country. And, as is evident in our project and hundreds of welfare projects being run by various NGOs in India and Foundations – for a sustainable impactful work on the ground, each stakeholder has to contribute towards the change.
Chief Operating Officer, Bharti Foundation