Access to education in Bodh Gaya 1
OneAction is supporting a school in Bihar that offers free education to more than 300 children between 3 and 16 years of age from the most disadvantaged castes. Our goal is to facilitate access to education and training, to guarantee the students' wellbeing and to broaden their perspectives.
2012 - 2023
More than 300 students
Annual cost : approx. CHF 23,000 per year
Funds earmarked to the project since 2012: about CHF 100'000
In India, poverty and inequalities persist despite the strong economic growth of the past years. Even though school has become compulsory and free since 2010, more than 80 million children are out of school in the country, of which a majority come from the lowest castes. Dalits (considered 'outcasts' in the unoffical Hindu hierarchical caste system) are the first to be affected by the lack of access to education and are subjected to a large amount of discriminations. Bodh Gaya, where the project is located, is a village in the heart of Bihar, one of the most populated, poor and conservative states in India. In this region, many Dalit children are excluded from the school system. Consequently, several of them turn to deliquency while others are forced to work in the fields.
For the past five years, OneAction has been collaborating with A Future of Children in Bodhgaya Society, an Indian NGO created in 2004. This organization manages the Gyan Niketan school that offers free education to around 300 Dalit students, between 3 and 16 years old who did not previously have access to education.
Since 2012, OneAction contributes to the improvement of the school's management and infrastructure. Having found greatly damaged infrastructures, OneAction provided tables and chairs, school supplies and uniforms. We also regularly repaint the walls of the schoolyard to lighten up the school and guarantee a decent learning environment. Throughout the year, we organize workshops to develop the students' creativity, to raise awareness on their environment and to extend their horizons. OneAction volunteers conduct various activities such as the development of the garden around the school, waste management, group painting, sports games and other thematic workshops. Moreover, we cover the registration fees for entrance exams to high school for final year students to give them the opportunity to continue their studies and eventually move on to university or professional training.
In parallel, our One Meal a Day initiative aims to fight against malnutrition, a common affliction in the area that leads to several chronic diseases. OneAction is committed to providing one daily nutritious and balanced meal to the 300 students of the school. Access to a daily meal improves concentration and encourages students to come to school. This collective meal is also the occasion to raise awareness on basic hygiene practices, vital for the students' health and dignity. Nothing is left to waste, since the water of the cooked rice and any last leftovers are used to feed the cattle.
- Access to quality education for more than 300 students who previously did not go to school;
- Provision of one daily balanced meal for all 300 students;
- Every year, final year students have access to an exam allowing them to continue post-secondary education and to benefit from new opportunities;
- Students are able to thrive, while developing their talents and becoming actors within their communities;
- The school is self-sufficient from 2023 onwards.
- The creation of a vocational training centre will provide employment opportunities for the disadvantaged youth and generate funds for the school to become self-sufficient. Thanks to scholarships provided by the Indian government to members of disadvantaged castes, the centre will be able to ensure a steady income covering all operational costs linked to the centre and the school.
- As soon as the school will stand strong on its own and that the revenues will be stabilized, OneAction will start to disengage.
« In a couple of months, we already noticed the improvement of the students' health thanks to the daily meals. They seem to be happier, in better shape, and more concentrated and aware ».
Some facts and figures about the project
- More than 300 students have access to schooling at the Gyan Niketan school each year;
- Each year, about 100,000 balanced meals are offered;
- 95% of graduated students from Gyan Niketan go to secundary school ;
- In 2017 and 2018, 100% success rate of the last-year students at Gyan Niketan for the state exams (average success rate in Bihar: 40%).