Stuff Like That Concert

Get ready!
On September 14th, Stuff Like That is holding a benefit concert for Learn for Life School at Metropol in Vienna:



About Badi Asha School


Who we are and what we do:

         Badi Asha (Hindi for Big Hope) School is the main project of Learn for Life – Another World is Possible (funded by Learn for life, Parivatan Trust and Brown Bread Bakery and Organic Food P.Ltd) and is located in the Aurangabad district of Varanasi, India. We began the project in 2005 and have been at our current location since 2010.

         We serve 140 students 4-16 years old. Our school is located in an impoverished neighborhood, and most of our families cannot afford schooling for their children. We strive to provide as much to our students as we can at no cost to the families. Our students and teachers are of mixed religions, reflecting the demographics of the community.


         In addition to a child-focused and creativity centered education and a safe environment for learning and play, we provide the following for free for all of our students:


  • Uniforms, shoes and socks, and winter clothing for the cold season


  • Textbooks, school supplies, and art supplies


  • A healthy breakfast and lunch six days a week prepared by women of the women empowerment project - very often mothers of the school children who we pay a fair wage for their work. We use organic ingredients from local farmers which do not contain chemical additives whenever possible. 


  • Free medical care for our students and their immediate family members in partnership with the Ramakrishna mission where anyone can pay 10 rupees (approximately 15 cents) to see a doctor.


  • Assistance with secondary school tuition for our alumni. Our former students tend to perform exceptionally well in their further education despite our choice not to focus on grades and competition or all of our extracurricular options. We’ve never had a student not pass their entrance exams for class 6. This year, one of our ex-students, Prakash, was given the student of the year award at a prestigious English medium school in the area.


  • Jobs for our alumni and family members of our students. Most of our kitchen, cleaning, and maintenance staff are relatives of our students. We prioritize the hiring of those in difficult social or financial situations such as divorced or widowed mothers and those with disabilities.


  • Computer classes for our students and employees as well as a 6-month basic computer skills course open to members of the community. 


  • A Smartboard was recently donated to us and installed in one of our classrooms to further our students technology skills.



  • Stitching and baking vocational training programs including English, computer basic math, and basic economics classes for employees and community members with the aim to impart valuable skills and higher potential for future employment


  • An introduction to sustainable urban gardening for our students in partnership with Garden on Concrete, a local gardening company that has helped us to set up a rooftop vegetable and herb garden, training our students in composting and creating a wastewater collection system to grow plants in a city environment.



  •  Training for our teachers in non-traditional methods of education and pedagogy, inspired by the philosophies of postwar Reggio Emilia schools, Montessori, Steiner, and Krishnamurti. We also do hands on trainings with our teaching staff on concepts such as process oriented art, music and art therapy techniques, and using creative drama in the classroom.



  • The space, equipment, and nurturing environment for our students to play, socialize and enjoy childhood as an alternative to working from an early age.

A Peek into the School




We begin every morning with half an hour of yoga and meditation in our park, a grassy area beside our Kindergarten which we are lucky to have access to as it gives our students a place to play outside. Varanasi is a large city, and there are not very many open fields or green spaces available to the public.


After yoga, we have our academic classes. Each grade has Hindi, English, math, and science/social studies every weekday. Grades 1-4 sit on cushions on the floor and use floor level desks. Class 5 uses desks and chairs in preparation for going to secondary school. Our classrooms are small, but we make the most of our space.


After the academic classes, we have lunch. Lunch is followed by extracurricular and hobby classes before the schoolday finishes in the afternoon. Some of these include:



Music


Dance

Creative Stitching

Library Time

Games
  
We love art! Every Saturday is dedicated to creative projects instead of the usual academic classes. We do everything from painting to clay to photography to baking to stitching to documentary making, we expose our students to as many forms of self-expression as we can.



In addition to Saturdays, the first full week of each school year is entirely devoted to creativity as we get to know our new students and they get to know us.


Every year, we take the entire student body to a local waterpark. For many of our students, this is the highlight of the year. Often, it is their first experience swimming.


In a city and a country, where caste and religious affiliation are still too often the starting points of violence, we are happy and proud to be able to provide teachers and children from all castes and religions (in our school, primarily Hindus and Muslims) a place to learn, work, and play together. We believe that education should be a basic right for all people. Help us as we work to make this possible in our community.

THE SCHOOL IS OPEN AGAIN!!

After the summer vacation break and the progress reports, here some picture of the children happy to come to school again. Our kids are even happier when is school time because they get food everyday and can share their time with their friends.





 

Guestbook

Tell us about your visit to our school!

PRAKASH

Our ex student Prakash won the award of best student of the year in English medium School, class 7. We are PROUD PROUD PROUD of him!!!!


HAVE A LOOK AT OUR PROJECT IN THIS SHORT VIDEO!