Navsarjan schools are now 10 years young!
On May 14, 2014, three schools set up by Navsarjan Trust in Gujarat — in Rayka village in Dhandhuka taluka, Katariya village in Limbdi taluka, and Sami village in Patan taluka — finished a decade. Navsarjan runs these three residential schools specially catering to Dalit children living in the surrounding communities. In 2012-2013, these co-educational residential schools housed 322 children from grades 5 through 8. The Dalit children face harsh social and economic discrimination in the local government schools and communities.
These schools impart not only academic education in a safe supportive environment but also essential life skills such as non-discrimination and equality. Also, these schools epitomize simplicity and function. For example, for every school, Navsarjan uses modular buildings for different purposes at different times of the day. The same area is used as a mess hall in the morning, class room during the day, and dormitory at night.
One of the reasons for setting up the schools is, the dropout rate of children in government schools who come from the Dalit community (often treated as a lower and outcast group) was highest in grades 5 through 8. At this tender age, the Dalit children start to recognize the caste-based discrimination and dropped out of school to avoid being mistreated by upper class students and teachers.
Moreover, many parents are agricultural or migrant laborers, who migrate every season for agricultural work, taking their children with them for additional labor. To retain these children in schools, Navsarjan started these residential schools in Gujarat to provide primary education (5th to 8th grades), lodging and food. These schools were initially built with the help of the community funds, whereas the operational expenses are covered by student contributions, Navsarjan’s own funds, and external aid agencies.
Here are few of the photographs of these schools: