Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, part of the She’s the First network, launched in August 1997 as a world-class boarding school for children of the lowest caste in India: the Untouchables. Their families live on less than 50 cents per day and could never afford to give them an education. But thanks to sponsors who support either part of or all of a child’s tuition, valued at $1,500 per student annually, these girls and boys can aspire to any career they want. One wants to be a human rights activist, another a forensic archaeologist. An especially talented young lady in the 11th grade, Shilpa, plans to become a journalist.
Shanti Bhavan publishes Shilpa’s talent this month in its newsletter, where she writes an essay about how her education saved her from a life of begging on the streets of India. What struck me in her vividly reported piece was the fact that she recognized the magnitude of being a “first.” She writes of her classmates:
“Many of these children are the first ones in their families to have gone to school, study English, to pass the ICSE 10th grade examinations or get to meet foreigners who come from different parts of the world as volunteers.”
I encourage you to read Shilpa’s full article here, and leave her words of encouragement below too — we’ll ask Shanti Bhavan’s Director of Operations, Ajit George, to pass them along to her. And if you’d like to sponsor a student at Shanti Bhavan on any scale, you can make a donation here. You’ll always know exactly what difference your contributions make, because Shanti Bhavan blogs it all…there’s never a dull moment. See for yourself!