Das Projekt

The certified non-profit society Learn for Life, Germany, and its Austrian counterpart (regularly awarded the Austrian Seal of Approval) support the Parivartan Trust in India, who runs the Badi Asha (Big Hope) school and women empowerment project in Varanasi. At the moment, 120 children come to the Kindergarden and school, learn to read and write in Hindi and English, Maths, and acquire basic skills in health care (basic hygiene, nutrition, Biology...), Geography and History.
In the afternoon, we offer them classes in dancing, sewing, Urdu and/or computer skills, they can use the library, let off steam in the park and/or get help with their homework. In order to "buy" them the time to come to school, we provide them with a small breakfast and a nutritious lunch, which is prepared by women of the women empowerment project - very often mothers of the school children who get a fair wage for their work. We use mostly local and organically grown ingredients and make this (as well as the solar plant on the roof top) an example for dealing with our planet in a sustainable way.
In a city and a country, where caste and religious affiliation still are too often the starting points of violent pogroms (mostly against the Muslim minority), we are happy and proud to be able to provide teachers and children from all castes and religions (in our school Hindus and Muslims) a place for joint learning and working. Everybody employed by the project (teachers, administrators, cooks, cleaners...) come from the region of Varanasi, are insured socially and in case of illness, and have the opportunity to have their further education financed by the trust.


September 15, 2011 at 11:05 AM Peter Swanton said...

I recently spent two weeks at the Badi Asha school and had a fantastic time. The children and staff couldn't have been more welcoming. Every day the children got to enjoy a nutritious meal that they wouldn't other wise have had and all received a free health check at the local hospital. If you have a good command of English you could be of real use here, especially in assisting the permanent members of staff with certain pronunciations and spellings.

Peter Swanton

January 25, 2012 at 8:14 AM Hanna said...

I spent some time there as well and I really miss the kids and their awesome happiness!!!
Special greets to Micheal, Preetam and the photos in the bakery :)

February 28, 2013 at 10:16 AM Lisa said...

My friend and I spent about 3 months at the Badi Asha School. It was a great experience for us and we really enjoyed the time we spent in Varanasi. Of course we had to get used to many things that were quite different than in Europe, but we learned so much in India. All people in school were very welcoming and so nice to us. Especially playing with the kids was great fun and we all really enjoyed spending time together.
Our workday began half an hour before school started, as we made a teacher’s training and practiced English conversation with the teachers. Then we helped in the 4 school lessons in different classes and after lunch we spent the time with the kids in the afternoon classes like game class, computer class or in the library. In the evening our evening English class took place. We taught English to kids and women from the neighbourhood and also had a lot of fun together. In addition to that we also worked sometimes in the brown bread bakery where we made the info cafe and informed tourists about the Badi Asha School and “Learn For Life”.
We lived in a guest house in Godaulia (old part of Varanasi) near Pandey Ghat (River Ganga) and spent most of our free time by walking through the narrow streets of the old town and sitting on the ghats while watching all the people. We experienced the real Indian life and had a great time.
We already miss the city, the kids and the teachers and for sure will come back!

August 20, 2013 at 1:58 PM travelling teacher said...

This sounds like an interesting project to be part of- how do I find out about volunteering?

April 26, 2015 at 10:26 PM Julie said...

This project is simply great! I have been here now for more then 6 months, changed my flight already 2 times - just can't go adrift of India, Varanasi and especially the Badi Asha School with all its members!
The beginning was quite tough for me, as it's the first time being alone in such a different country with a culture you don't understand at all when you haven't been here before. In the beginning I stayed in a guesthouse with nice people who helped me with everything. In school it was a bit different. It was like what people call being plunged in at the deep end. Everyone is very nice, Micha, Nicole, the teachers, the kids, the staff of the bakery. But since I am no proper teacher, I needed help, didn't really know what to do when I join the classes. Trying to help, but how? It was not easy, I felt alone. At least I could be there for the children, play with them and show them that there is someone just taking them in the arms, loving them. Maybe that's already much, for me it wasn't enough. But in fact this made me stronger, more mature. To manage it after some time, to build up a new life in Varanasi, in another world. And actually, the love I got from each of our students made me feel so welcome. Having always kids around me, who are so energetic and interested in me. That's what gave me power. I stayed in English and Math classes, supported some of the weaker students there and gave them different tasks as they know from their teachers. In the afternoon I joined the library class and after that the dance class which was much fun for all of us! I saw that it's impossible to compare a western school and its way to teach and deal with problems to the Badi Asha School, learned about the background of the students which showed me even more, how important it is for our students, to be here, to have a safe place, the chance to learn, to get healthy food, medical care and a place where they may be children. And that's what makes it so great.
And sure, I learn a lot from our kids. From my whole stay here, from the work for learn for life.
I love this school, the kids. It's great to see the progresses they are making here. And it feels so good to be a part of this change! Supporting them in this NGO to learn. I can only recommend volunteering here to everyone who likes children and wants do make a unique experience in India!

September 15, 2015 at 4:56 AM Lisa Teresa said...

a school I totally fell in love with. I spent my first time in school in 2012 with my friend Lisa. We were volunteering for three months and we really enjoyed our time in India. In the beginning we felt a little bit lost, but the teachers and the stuff welcomed us and were assisting us in every possible way. We were actually not prepared for what was coming but we learned fast. We were teaching the kids English, Maths and Science. It was totally new to teach in a foreign language but we got used to it. Moreover we started our daily school life with English lessons for the female teachers in school.
I came back in 2013 in summer and had realised that so many things have changed and so many new kids were admitted. That time the park for the Kindergarden was slowly built and we had a planting project with the kids. The teachers and kids welcomed me back with so much love and I had to promise that I would come back soon. As I did.
In 2014 at Holi (I always wanted to play Holi with the kids) I came back with Lisa. We were assisting teachers and as the kids were already used to us, we were able to manage classes alone (but mostly it ended up in playing some funny games).
Now it is 2015 and I am again back. Everybody sees that my love for India and the kids did not decrease. I have started to study Hindi and now it is easier for me to understand the kids (we still have sometimes communication difficulties, but that is normal). My daily routine hasn´t changed since the first stay- it starts with English lesson or sometimes I join Yoga classes and then I am back in the classes.
For everyone who is planning to volunteer in India, Varanasi is definitely worth to see and if you visit the city you should spend some days in school. The things I experienced with Badi Asha School are unique- life- time- experiences and I would not want to miss them.
If you like children and would like to assist the school- please visit! :)

And if there are any further questions about volunteering don´t hesitate to contact the NGO:


Lisa :)

January 30, 2017 at 4:39 AM Camilletoussaint said...

I am in Varanasi since 2 weeks now and I really enjoy the city and its atmosphere. For the next 5 months i am volunteer for Learn for Life society. From the begining of my mission, I observed teachers and volunteers working and i have to say that they are doing a really good job for these kids. Children enjoy their time in school because they discover day after day something different and they really love learning. In one week, they do a lot of different activities and that is so enriching for them. About my next few months in this organisation I would like to support teachers in English lesson as far as I can. I also would like to help in the development of something useful for the school as the landscaping project of the rooftop of the school building.
It is a unique experience and I look forward to continuing this mission.

Please feel free to contact me if you want more information about my experience in Badi Asha School : camille-1332@hotmail.fr


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