Inspiration for “Our School in India”

Learn what inspired Purnima, the initiator of the project “Our School in India”, to start this project.

“So, why am I so inspired to open this school? Well, part of it because I was always motivated to do something for the community, was involved in some or the other activities with organizations enabling underprivileged children. Looking at Indian Schooling system (sigh!!) and never ending competition of which rich parent could admit their child to the best private school pouring billions of dollars for tuition, starting IIT education from 6th grade…I mean, these children barely know what IIT is – honestly, it’s a circus out there.

With all these, the gap of opportunities between the public & the private school becoming wider than ever. Not to mention, the offerings for the underprivileged children are going down the drain.

With a country of open corruption from top officials to lowest paid employees, you can see activities in open eyes, the underprivileged are not priority. Little souls are often engaged in child labor to support their family, often little siblings …they can’t afford to dedicate their time to study when they have to provide for the family.

When we were little, we always used to have servants at home. They were almost our ages or perhaps 1 or 2 years older. At that time, I barely understood what it all meant by education or making money or supporting family or siblings…I used to be bothered by one thing the most. I remember fighting with my parents at many different occasions as to why don’t they go to school with us? We used to have fun time in the evening singing dancing…used to wonder why don’t they sing & dance with us? We used to go for so many competitions and win cool prizes. I wondered, why they never won anything like us. And of course conversation never went anywhere.

One time, we had a trooper in our house. Her name was ‘Kamala’ – beautiful young girl, couple years older to me, the best one we have ever had…she is the one I can relate & remember the most. I was old enough to understand she is a servant and she makes money by working at our house and she gets paid monthly. If she does not work, her family would be in trouble. Her mother worked at someone else’s house too. So, one day, I proposed to her that I would teach her. I remember after school, after we all had a chance to eat some snacks & play a bit (of course she would play with us too – from hide and seek to counting with stones to running in one leg)…I used to sit with her with the alphabet book – teaching her letters. We were not wealthy, perhaps more of upper middle class. Now I know, how fortunate I was to have a home, to have parents that had govt. jobs, to have education & higher education opportunities, moreover, parents provided for education. We could afford a servant like that. She was always there for us. She would run from one end to another end getting everything done. She was extremely efficient. From puja work to cooking assistance, she was an A class. I don’t know how her house was, where they lived. But was always wondered how it was. Before long she was too old for that time, her mother wanted her to get married, off she went. With whatever I could teach her those days, …Kamala di became my lifetime inspiration.

I want to end that war or at least start something so I can contribute to my own cause to end that war. I may not be able to do everything…but I want to do one little thing that may help one step at a time to the road to completely wipe off inequality, provide education & remove poverty. Every child should have a right to get proper education. Our society does not provide equal education. There is no time for anyone to revamp the system. Middle class is busy making their life better. Rich is getting richer. Even with government effort, poverty has not improved. I want to provide opportunity for equal education, on par with the Indian Govt. standard for private/public schools, for those who cant afford to. I want to ensure they have a clean facility to learn & grow. Teachers would focus on providing basic skills from health awareness to education thru project work. A fun environment, where kids are encouraged to be part of day in and day out. I also want to engage the parents of those students so they know how their children are learning so they can make their future better. 

I am from the far east corner of India – That’s the area, at the time I was growing up, didn’t get much help from Indian govt. We somehow made it, however, other than capital of the state, interior areas still under developed. There are many such programs in southern India.  However, not much in my state. My intention is to open a school there.

So, who is with me?”

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