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Archive for March, 2012

Update from the Anjana School in India

Saturday, March 31st, 2012

Here’s an update we recently received from Dr. Channa Raju, founder of NGO Brahmi.  This organization administers the Anjana Vidya Kendra School in India.

As you can tell from Dr. Raju’s report, our work, and the work of many other companies and individuals, is making a positive difference in the lives of the children in this village.

From Dr. Raju:

SOLAR PROJECT AT ANJANA VIDYA KENDRA SCHOOL

Background

Anjana Vidya Kendra is a formal school providing meaningful education to approximately 250 disadvantaged rural students. The school originally opened in 2001 and added a high school section in the year 2009. The school caters to a population in excess of 10,000 people living in the 12 nearby villages, predominantly to children of individual farm workers.  The school is situated in Desapande Guttahalli, a small village near Whitefield, about 40 km (25 miles) east of Bangalore.

The school planned to establish a Science Center, consisting of a science laboratory, a library plus reading hall and a computer center, to promote the quality of education in the region. The biggest hurdle in the school’s path was lack of consistent grid power.  The school is connected to a grid which is primarily meant for farming purposes.  Due to its geographical location, which is the far end of two border districts of Karnataka shared with Tamilnadu, the region’s power supply suffers from erratic fluctuations and incessant power cuts.  The school could not use any of its donated computers nor the audio-visual equipment to teach students without a viable power alternative.

In this scenario, Friends Unite, a non-profit based in the United States came forward to lend a helping hand and to provide a lasting solution to our problem.  After much deliberation and two visits to the school, Friends Unite decided to help fund a solar power solution conceived of by the Brahmi board to provide power to run 20 computers and provide lighting in and around the vital locations of the school.  SELCO Solar Pvt., lead by Magsaysay award winner Harish Hande, was given the contract to setup an inverter based solar power system in February 2011.

Status

SELCO started erection of panels over the roof of the library block in April 2011 and the first phase of work was completed by July 2011.  Finally, the computers at the school were energized.  Soon the memory of children sitting in front of blanked monitors was completely erased.

The 2nd and 3rd phase of the work was subsequently taken up by SELCO to set up DC lights in the classrooms and the corridors.  This work was completed in September 2011.

The timing could not have been any better.  The school’s first batch of students had to prepare for their 10th grade board examination starting April 02, 2012.  The school started night classes after the solar facility was established, as these children could not study at home due to lack of electricity.  The night classes started for 10th grade students in October 2011 and still runs today.  Both 8th grade and 9th grade revision classes also added night classes for the same reasons.

Additionally, a large monitor was setup in the library in order to helps students take advantage of audio-visual media.  Lessons from Khan Academy, NASA Science and other useful downloads were made available to the teachers.  The Anjana children routinely use the encyclopedia and the videos provided by our sponsors, Friends Unite.

Maintec Technologies, our corporate partners, maintain the computer center.  The donated computers are all networked with each other and are well maintained.  The power systems are maintained by SELCO based on an Annual Maintenance Contract.

Here is what Sindhu, a 10th grade student, had to say (only edited for grammar!) –

“The school has become more of a home for me. I spend more time at the school than home. I enjoy being here because the school has lights and computers are working.   I and my friends consider ourselves lucky that we have been able to study under lights unlike several of my friends back in my village.  We feel confident that we will do very well in our examinations…On behalf of all students I would like to express our thanks to Murali Sir and Ketan Sir, everyone at Friends Unite for giving us light and power ”

We at Anjana Vidya Kendra School voice Sindhu’s sentiments.   We express our heartfelt gratitude to Friends Unite for understanding our problem and supporting us.  We also thank everyone behind Friends Unite for contributing to this success.

You have helped us to overcome darkness and given us new strength.  We plan to setup several new programs to ensure that these advantages are given to more students in the region.

Dr. Channa Raju

Founder Secretary

Brahmi Educational and Cultural Trust