Improving educational opportunities in India for disadvantaged children
In 2002, our secretary/founder Helen Jones visited India for the first time on a plant-hunting trip in which she turned out to be the only participant.
Subsequently Helen came to know her guide Bijoy Rai well. In his home town of Darjeeling, Helen met Bijoy’s wife Rachana, and the rest of his family. Bijoy took Helen, a retired teacher, to visit several local schools, and tried to persuade her to return to the area to teach. In 2005 after several more trips with Bijoy, Helen wanted to give something back to the area, and thought she would like to sponsor an exissting school with Bijoy and Rachana’s help. They opposed the idea, knowing that once the money was out of their hands it would also be out of their control and was likely to disappear.
Early in 2006 Rachana emailed Helen with the stunning suggestion that they start their very own school instead. They opened Roseberry School for disadvantaged children in March 2006. After less than a year they had completely outgrown their small building, and SAI launched an appeal for building funds.
The response in the UK was astonishing, and a start was made on construction work by Christmas 2010. The extension is below the original school on a very steep hillside. All the building work was organised by Bijoy who happily gave up a year’s paid guiding work to manage the project on our very difficult site.
All efforts are now focussed on maintaining the wonderful school they have developed, constantly improving the standard of education it provides, and helping all the pupils to make the transition into Secondary Education.
In the future we will also have to think about maximising the use of the building and its facilities, and find ways of making the school at least partially self sustaining.
Every donation helps SAI provide better facilities for our students, here are some typical examples of costs that we incur on a regular basis. We have six classes with 20-25 children in each class.