Prashanti School: Boarding School Project WFF Sponsorship Program
Prashanti School boarding school in Puri, India, was started in 2000 in response to a terrible cyclone that hit the Indian state of Orissa late in 1999, killing at least ten thousand people, destroying many villages, and leaving many orphans and children whthout support. At the request of the local government, the existing Prashanti Preschool Chatasalis was expanded to become the Indian non-profit Prashanti School. In 2001, a piece of land was purchased with funds that were raised through benefit performances of Odissi Classical Dance in the USA. Prashanti School is a registered non-profit in India.
On the property there was a one-story building and a strong boundary wall with a large entry gate. The first group of 21 orphaned and "fatherless" children came in May of 2001. They were still wearing the same ragged clothes from six months earlier, when the cyclone destroyed their homes. All were malnourished, traumatized, and several were ill and had severe nightmares.
The building on our new property, although it was not fancy by Western standards, was well constructed, and it felt safe and sturdy to the children who were used to small huts that had blown down and caved in around them during the cyclone. Over time they settled in, became well, and began to flourish. To meet the growing needs of these destitute and fatherless children, and as more children arrived over time, expansion was needed. In 2002, the non-profit World Family Foundation (WFF) was established in the USA to raise funds and manage individual sponsorships to support the children. There are so many children always waiting to be helped... children who need to be rescued from a terrible life on the streets.
These children come from backgrounds of abject poverty, and most of their mothers are illiterate. Some of their mothers do manual labor like carrying bricks on their heads at construction sites for a few cents a day. Some of the children have only elderly grandparents who cannot afford to send them to school. These children absolutely rely on the kind generosity of WFF sponsors and donors to help provide a safe place to live, learn and grow. At Prashanti School these children receive food, housing, clothing, medical care, daily tutoring, and a solid education that can lift them out of the terrible cycle of poverty that has defined their families for generations. With your help, they can have happier childhoods, and a chance for a brighter future! Please help support the children of Prashanti School!
We have around 45 students living at Prashanti School, and we have eleven staff members and ten tutors. The staff members lovingly care for the children, cook, clean, and do the shopping, gardening, security, transportation to school, and maintenance for the property. Our dedicated and professional tutors teach the children English, computers, art, dance and music after school six days a week. During the day, the children go to our day school, Prashanti International School. Prashanti School Boarding School is a very loving and supportive environment, where the children are taught strong values and a deep respect for their local culture and all religions. They learn how to care for and support each other with love and respect as brothers and sisters..
The education that WFF Sponsorship provides is opening up a whole new future for these children! Because of the excellent tutoring provided, all of our students have passed the government High School exams, which normally can be very difficult for village children to do, and we now have a number of students in college, including several girls! These students are able to go on to college through continued World Family Sponsorship. We are committed to sponsoring each child's education as far as she or he can advance academically (College tuition is about $500 per year.) Those who do not go on to college receive vocational training through internships, etc., so that they are able to qualify for decent jobs.
This is Jhumeri. She grew up in the local leper colony. Here mother is illiterate and begs at the big temple in Puri. Jhumeri came to Prashanti School when she was very young. Now she is in college studying to become a teacher. When she has completed her teaching certification, she will return to Prashanti International School to teach! She wants to give back and help other poor children advance as she has had the chance to because of WFF sponsorship.
Prashanti International School (PIS): Day School Project
We had a dream… a dream of an English language school, where all classes are taught in English from kindergarten onwards, for our poor and fatherless children in our Prashanti School program and for the poor village children in the area. The need is so great in the area for quality education – illiteracy and poverty rates are extremely high in rural Odisha. As impossible as this dream initially seemed, it actually came to fruition! Prashanti International School was inaugurated on July 22, 2010. We now have classes for lower and upper kindergarten through seventh grade with a new class level to be added each year. We currently have about 200 children enrolled. PIS is a registered non-profit in India.
The main focus of Prashanti International School is to provide the best education possible for our sponsored children and for the children from the local villages. PIS has a strong academic English immersion curriculum. This means that English is included in the study of all subjects, as well as formal English instruction, with a focus on written and oral English language literacy. The foundation of the program is based on the human values of truth, right action, peace, love and non-violence, and stresses the importance of service to the community and honoring the local culture.
Over the years it has been our experience that when these young children are given a loving environment and an opportunity for a quality education, they just blossom beyond our highest expectations. Their future ability to support themselves and their families will depend on their having a solid academic foundation, strong positive values, and fluency in English. English is a basic requirement for academic advancement and for good jobs in India. Previously, our students were attending the local Oriya language government schools, where the teaching of English is very sub-standard. The excellent instruction at Prashanti International School, with all classes taught in English and an emphasis on values, helps give them the skills they need to thrive, become productive and happy members of their society, and to give back to the community. Education and values are the keys to breaking the cycle of poverty!
BUT NOW WE ARE OUT OF CLASSROOM SPACE and we need a new building to house grades 8 through 10 (high school). Please help us build our new classrooms! We have nearly completed 1/2 of the foundation and ground floor classrooms for the 2017-18 school year, and in subsequent years, we plan to complete the ground floor and add 2 more floors. The building will also serve as a much needed storm shelter for the local villages, as the Puri coastal area has increasingly been hit hard by devastating cyclones. For construction updates see the School Building Project page.
Please help us grow Prashanti International School! Your donation to our PIS Building Fund will have an immediate positive effect on the lives and future of needy children. The impact of your giving will affect these children now and will continue to affect others for years to come. Just like the ripples in a pond, the changes radiate onwards from these children into their families, their communities, and the future! Together, we can help change the world, one child at a time!