Weʼre raising £2,500 to fund 7 new classrooms for St. Xavier's English School in rural West Bengal, India
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*This is the new page for the following fundraiser: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/st-xaviers1 - with over £5000 raised we're looking for a final push to complete our project!*
St. Xavier's English School, a rural primary in Chalsa, West Bengal, has changed significantly since we taught there three years ago.
On the one hand, the learning environment is much improved: Nursery, Lower Kindergarten and Upper Kindergarten are now taught off site, with two new tin classrooms in the school grounds, providing the older students more space and quieter surroundings to learn in. On the other hand, the locations of the youngest classes - the hallway, corridor (pictured below), and outside terrace of the school hostel - are inadequate.
150 students are competing for space and trying to be heard in a building designed as the home of the principals, five teachers and eighteen students. Upper Kindergarten are taught in the hallway, next to the kitchen (pictured below), leaving them coming home smelling of curry after a day's alphabet learning. Meanwhile, the innermost room, where 63 four-year-olds learn, has no windows, being the corridor between four bedrooms.
The fact is that the space is inadequate, and the hostel's dual functionality makes it both an impractical place to learn, and an uncomfortable place to live.
However, all hope is not lost.
Fifteen metres behind the school is a large plot of land, which the headteacher has secured. A new building has been designed, with space for seven new classrooms, a playroom and a much needed functional hall for special occasions and meetings with parents, which aren't currently possible. The classrooms will be 20 x 25 feet, in line with government guidelines, and designed to avoid the issue of incessant noise.
The new classrooms will be suited for the intense summer heat, with big open windows, fans and hay roofs, while a plastic canopy will provide shelter from the monsoons. This combination ensures that a productive learning environment is maintained throughout the year, whilst keeping costs down.
Construction has already commenced, with strong foundations so that a third storey can be built in the future. Everyone is very excited and admissions are expected to increase as a result of the work.
The children are on board. Wanting to be a part of the fundraiser, they made Christmas cards, birthday cards, necklaces and bracelets for us to sell back in the UK to contribute to the effort.
Although these sales will certainly help, while providing the children agency in the development of their school, additional monetary donations are essential to complete the project. Please help however you can.
Design for the new school building:
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What is crowdfunding?
Crowdfunding is a new type of fundraising where you can raise funds for your own personal cause, even if you're not a registered nonprofit.
The page owner is responsible for the distribution of funds raised.
About the fundraiser
We taught at St Xavier's for 6 months in 2018/19. The principal's generosity to us, and the students, some of whom attend for free, alongside the children's enthusiasm to learn, inspired our effort to give back. Then, 3 classes were held in one room. The students need more space.