Support a School for Tribal Children of Chakrata, Indian Himalaya | Milaap

Support a School for Tribal Children of Chakrata, Indian Himalaya


Good Education: Many children, like Dipika, Krish, Jay and Pawan above, have to walk long dangerous trails to reach a good school in the Himalayas. But they do it, because good education is valued more than anything - even personal safety, in these remote communities. Here is a good Quint, one minute video on this issue:


SMTA Niketan is the only non-profit primary school and community center serving about fifty small Himalayan villages, between Chakrata and Lakhamandal, since 1988, a stretch of about 50 km in the high mountains of District Dehradun.
(Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/kfpzwUAKADw )

Why This fundraiser: SMTA Niketan wants to expand and deepen the ongoing education in its primary school. We wish to offer the students, walking long distances, the quality education they expect, demand and deserve.

The Primary School: It currently has 34 students (from Class 1-5); we hope to raise enrolment to 50+ in the next session. All the students come from either ST or SC background. Girls are under-represented (about 30% only). It follows the state curriculum. The teachers at present implement it in a straight jacketed manner. The emphasis is on completing the course and ensuring that the child passess the annual exam. There is a big scope for strengthening its dynamic connections with gender, environmental, ethics, mindfulness and day to day relevance.

Background: SMTA is a voluntary agency, which began in 1983, having drawn inspiration from SWRC. It was registered as a society in 1986. It was started by two eminent social workers: Ruben and Maggi (Picture above). It is working on education, watershed development and livelihood issues etc. (Vide our annual report below). 

Credentials: Here is a reference to the Founder's (Ruben) decades of work in this region in an online International Journal. (Please translate from Spanish). The current director ("sachin") is known for his self-help work, to support people who stammer (link 1, link 2).

Two of our past presidents, Late Mr KR Joshi and Late Mr Gulab Ramchandani (picture above) were noted educationists of this region.
SMTA has sustained this primary school from its own meagre resources for many years, because it is a community need and a worthy cause. We believe that children with a broad based education are the biggest investment in our collective future, are the enduring strategy against migration, climate change and many other social issues.

The SMTA team wants to make the school financially independent, so it can run without having to rely on unreliable funds left over from other projects that may come in.

Hence, we are looking for a five year support to diversify and enrich school’s ongoing operations; we plan to hire two more teachers, introduce multimedia projector in the classroom, Computer education, Environmental science, a mindfulness program and other extra academic activities like organise exposure trips for the students and start a residential facility for the students who come from distant villages.

Problem: State of Education in Uttarakhand
This is a region where the state finishes most of its meagre budget on educational infrastructure and salaries, with little left for quality assurance. This is what a 2016 report has to say:

“..the public schools are up to the mark only in terms of enrollment and basic structure, maintenance was not well and quality of teaching was very minimal…”
(Prospects, Challenges and Achievements of Right to Education in Uttarakhand, India)

Presence of Teachers : another sad truth as per a 2014 report:
“As many as 39,000 students in 1,689 primary schools in the Uttarakhand's 13 districts see only one teacher each day at school ..”
(Dec 28, 2014; The Economic Times )

Migration: Unfortunately, recent infrastructure development in the region (like roads) have promoted migration to plains, because “good” and accessible education continues to elude many families in the mountains. An adult member of the family often shifts to the nearest town in the plains (100+ km away) escorting the eldest child, who has graduated from class eight in the village. In a few years time, rest of the family with other children in tow, follows, leaving behind the fields and the cottage derelict. It is strongly suspected that if SMTA were to shut down this primary school, 50-100 families would be forced to look elsewhere (mostly in far away plains) for education of their wards, over next 2-3 years. Such migrations have impoverished both the natural and human ecosystems in the Himalayas.

Time Frame: We plan to bring in these changes in phased fashion over next five years. Though the academic session (April-March) has begun, inducting teachers will be possible as soon as budgets are available. Dr Satyendra Srivastava, the author, works as the Director, SMTA, and assures that all the funds will be invested in the school itself, in a transparent and efficient manner.

SMTA Team:  At present, it consists of Sultan (Program Coordination), Kundan (Accounts), Chain Singh (School In charge), Dhaneshwari (Hospitality), Radha (women's initiatives) and Sohan (watershed Development); The team is being led by Dr Satyendra (sachin), who has a background in Health and Management. (linkedin)

SMTA is governed by a general body and a governing body (Pic above) which meets regularly. Governing body is headed by our President, Ms Rekha (a dedicated teacher) and Vice president, Rachit Gupta, a Dehradun based entrepreneur with social bent.

Vision: Education, Environment, Ethics for Tomorrow’s citizens in Healthy & Happy Himalayas.

Budget: In total, for five year support, we need to raise About Rs 22 Lacs. SMTA will be making its own contributions, as in the past. See the proposed budget as attachment below.
Five year budget; Receipt and Payments for the school for 2017-18
Five year budget; Receipt and Payments for the school for 2017-18
Annual Report 2017-18: a picture of our overall programs
Annual Report 2017-18: a picture of our overall programs
Balance sheet 2016-17
Balance sheet 2016-17
Ask for an update
9th February 2019
UPDATES from Chakrata Mountains!
The new volunteer, Ankush,  has been teaching children a variety of skills:
Interactive learning games (Of Words and Actions, open shut them)
Couplets from Kabir, Mindfulness activities (Brain Brake), Team building games etc etc.

In December 2018, Mukesh from Smile foundation, Delhi  visited the school and spent some quality time with children. Check here for some amazing dance steps..

Children watched Bambi, a classic movie for children, before the winter break.  And then, it snowed... (check here for some amazing pictures and a video).. The magic of white flakes descending quietly and covering everything under a white sheet..

Finally, it was Republic day celebrations..
Oh yes, they had a two day outing to Dakpathar, during which they had an interaction with Melanie, an environmentalist from UK, besides enjoying the toy train ride in Dakpatthar.. They could not care less for the real train!

So, life is going on for our children- at many plains: fun, learning and exploring the inner dimension. (I wish I had such a magical childhood!)
BIG Thank you for your help and ongoing interest!
From all of us, the children and the staff of SMTA primary school!
Character, Grit, Simplicity, Joy of learning...

UPDATES from Chakrata Mountains!
The new volunteer, Ankush,  has been teaching children a variety of skills:
Interactive learning games (Of Words and Actions, open shut them)
Couplets from Kabir, Mindfulness activities (Brain Brake), Team building games etc etc.

In December 2018, Mukesh from Smile foundation, Delhi  visited the school and spent some quality time with children. Check here for some amazing dance steps..

Children watched Bambi, a classic movie for children, before the winter break.  And then, it snowed... (check here for some amazing pictures and a video).. The magic of white flakes descending quietly and covering everything under a white sheet..

Finally, it was Republic day celebrations..
Oh yes, they had a two day outing to Dakpathar, during which they had an interaction with Melanie, an environmentalist from UK, besides enjoying the toy train ride in Dakpatthar.. They could not care less for the real train!

So, life is going on for our children- at many plains: fun, learning and exploring the inner dimension. (I wish I had such a magical childhood!)
BIG Thank you for your help and ongoing interest!
From all of us, the children and the staff of SMTA primary school!
Character, Grit, Simplicity, Joy of learning...

31st August 2018

(Above: Children having a feast on 15th Aug)

Learning Phonetics

When we learn English, what confuses us most are the various sounds which a vowel can take, apparently randomly: The sound of "U" in PUT and BUT, is so different! And that is how, many of us become great writers of this language but poor speakers!
Ankush, the new teacher is addressing this issue by teaching the children Phonetics from the very beginning. Here is a post and video, where a little girl (Jivika) is tackling phonetics successfully.
https://smtachakrata.blogspot.com/2018/08/jivika-learns-to-blend.html

Have you seen the prabhat feri by our children on the Independence Day- and the subsequent function in the school? Check out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTmVquf12u0&t=7s  (street march)
https://youtu.be/DegppV6nQF8  (Cultural function by children)

HARUL : In the above video at 37 min onwards you can see the students performing Harul, a slow rhythmic intricate dance form of Jaunsar...

Here are some more interesting posts:
https://smtachakrata.blogspot.com/2018/08/independence-day-2018.html

(Above: Children having a feast on 15th Aug)

Learning Phonetics

When we learn English, what confuses us most are the various sounds which a vowel can take, apparently randomly: The sound of "U" in PUT and BUT, is so different! And that is how, many of us become great writers of this language but poor speakers!
Ankush, the new teacher is addressing this issue by teaching the children Phonetics from the very beginning. Here is a post and video, where a little girl (Jivika) is tackling phonetics successfully.
https://smtachakrata.blogspot.com/2018/08/jivika-learns-to-blend.html

Have you seen the prabhat feri by our children on the Independence Day- and the subsequent function in the school? Check out:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTmVquf12u0&t=7s  (street march)
https://youtu.be/DegppV6nQF8  (Cultural function by children)

HARUL : In the above video at 37 min onwards you can see the students performing Harul, a slow rhythmic intricate dance form of Jaunsar...

Here are some more interesting posts:
https://smtachakrata.blogspot.com/2018/08/independence-day-2018.html
13th August 2018

AUGUST AUGURS  WELL


The New English Teacher- Shri Ankush Jindal, has joined the school on 8th August 2018.  He has a background in Hospitality, Creative writing and Social work.  Here is more about him. Kids are excited!
We have screened Lassie (2005)- a beautiful movie about a Collie, on August 11, to encourage English usage among the children. Here is more about this activity.
We conducted our mindfulness session for students of class 3,4 and 5 on 9th August.  Herein, we explored belly breathing and its role in stress management (more).
Rains are good, often heavy -but life in our school goes on.  Kids arrive before time- and leave later, after some play in the ground, weather permitting. They are getting ready for the Independence Day celebrations.

AUGUST AUGURS  WELL


The New English Teacher- Shri Ankush Jindal, has joined the school on 8th August 2018.  He has a background in Hospitality, Creative writing and Social work.  Here is more about him. Kids are excited!
We have screened Lassie (2005)- a beautiful movie about a Collie, on August 11, to encourage English usage among the children. Here is more about this activity.
We conducted our mindfulness session for students of class 3,4 and 5 on 9th August.  Herein, we explored belly breathing and its role in stress management (more).
Rains are good, often heavy -but life in our school goes on.  Kids arrive before time- and leave later, after some play in the ground, weather permitting. They are getting ready for the Independence Day celebrations.
Rs.137,396 raised

Goal: Rs.2,200,000

Beneficiary: Society For Mot... info_outline
80G tax benefits for INR donations

Supporters (72)

A
Anonymous donated Rs.1,000
A
Anonymous donated Rs.5,000
R
Robyn donated US $30
HS
Harish donated Rs.1,000
SS
SHobhit donated Rs.1,000
A
Anonymous donated Rs.2