Support to the Rishabdev Boarding for Children in Rajastan, India - Year V

Project location: INDIA, Rajastan
Project start date: December 2016 - Project end date: November 2017
Project number: 2016-067
Beneficiary: Associazione Amici delle Missionarie dell’Immacolata

Over 400 deprived children in need of a better future. In rural Rajasthan, people of tribal and nomadic origin are considered the lowest layer of society. Poverty and ignorance makes it difficult for tribal and nomadic parents to fulfill their children’s basic needs: food, hygiene, clothing, a “roof over their heads” not to mention education as schools are often far away and not easily accessible. In Rishabhdev, about 100 kilometers south of Udaipur, over 20 years ago the local diocese and a team of missionary nuns started up a boarding school to serve these less fortunate children.

The objective of this project, which received a grant from the Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation, is to provide financial support and guidance for this boarding school to grow and carry on supporting these children in a way that they might have hope for a better life in the future.It is the fith year that this project received support from the NaEPF.

Over 20 years ago the diocese of Udaipur was trying to provide the poorest people in the rural area of Rishabhdev with a school that would offer teaching and boarding. The opportunity came with the donation from an Italian family who wanted to build a school in memory of their son. Since then a number of different and multinational benefactors have made the survival and growth of the boarding school possible. The school has slowly improved its standards, steadily increasing the number of students over the years. In the last few years the organizational changes of the school and the facilities provided by the funding have raised the standard of living of the children with better food, proper toilet facilities, covered eating areas, heated water. For any western visitor the children’s basic living conditions seem difficult to accept: they sleep on the floor side by side (some in the classrooms), have very few pieces of clothing and no private property at all. But, in the context where they live, they are extremely lucky. They can eat and wash every day and, most of all, they are studying, earning their right for a better life! This in a loving environment where the fathers and sisters care for them.

The project has the objective to provide funding to run the boarding school which includes maintenance costs from food to electricity, from tuition to school clothing. The St. Paul’s School and Nirmala Boarding is located in Rishabdhev, 100 km south of Udaipur The school has grown from a few dozen children to over 400 and the need in the area, which covers a radius of 65 kilometers, is far greater. As parents often live a long way away from the school most children see their parents only during the holiday time. This makes the boarding school into a real new home for these children. The school not only provides them with an education but they are effectively brought up there. The children at the boarding school learn how to wash, change their clothes, live among others along with the usual school subjects as math or English. Recently the school has received all of the government approvals to extend the tuition from the 8th to the 10th class. This is a tremendous achievement as it provides opportunities for poor children to carry on studying up to the age of 16. The improved standards of the school, proved by the results of the St. Paul’s school students, are attracting more and more pupils every year. In such a poor area this institution is becoming central for enabling poor children to study, the first step for improved life conditions. The team of priests, nuns and teachers have created a real opportunity for these children and the external funds are transforming this opportunity into reality for these children.

The project is aiming to provide financial stability to allow the management of all aspects of the boarding school for a year. St Paul’s school and Nirmala boarding maintenance project offers tribal and nomadic children in the rural area of Rishabhdev (south of Udaipur, Rajasthan) a loving environment where children can be brought up and educated with the view to providing them with the hope for a better future.

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