“It was Swami DayanandaSaraswati’s dream to bring education to rural India and unlock the true potential of children. In keeping with his vision, we have never turned down any child who has come to SemmangudiHigher Secondary School for admission. Since our association with the Swami Dayananda Educational Trust, our focus has always been to improve the quality of education we provide here. Though we still face two challenges – first, trying to motivate the children, a majority of whom are first generation learners, to attend school, and second, to convince parents to not pull them out to attend to cattle or go to work,” explains C. Raman, the Principal of Semmangudi Higher Secondary School in Sembangudi.
Located in the heart of Sembangudi village, in Thiruvarur District (Tamil Nadu), the SemmangudiHigher Secondary School was started in 1958 and is named after the famous Carnatic musician Shri. SemmangudiSrinivasaIyer who was born and brought up in this village. Over 1300 students from about 50 villages, walk, cycle, catch a local bus or hop on a free ride to attend school every day.
A Disconcerting Challenge
Lack of adequatetoilet facilities is another challenge the school faces due to a shortage of funds. At present they are only 10 toilets for the entire school of 1300 students. A common reason for dropping out especially among adolescent girls,students oftenforgo their entire lunch break to stand in queuesto use the toilets.Proper sanitation facilities not only improve children’s hygiene, reducing illnesses, they also play a key role in increasing attendance among the girls.
Fundraiser for the construction of new toilet blocks:
- The school needs to construct two new toilet blocks consisting of 20 toilets for the students.
- The cost of construction per block is estimated to be Rs. 10 lacs.
- Water will be supplied through a borewell with tanks for water storage.
- Daily maintenance and cleanliness is the responsibility of the school.