Wow.. I’ve had a busy eight months with my studies! I just wrapped up my Junior year in high school along with my ACT and SAT exams and I spent the summer doing some prep work for my senior year, working on my college applications and I even managed to get some hang out time with my friends and family. I was also fortunate to be able to spend four days camping in Big Sur, which is on the spectacular Central California coast.
But most exciting, is the progress we have made with Aid for Learning! During my trip to India last summer, I visited Government Elementary School (yeah that’s its actual name), which is located in Nabha’s disadvantaged area. The school was lacking proper ventilation in its classrooms and the main schoolyard was a couple of feet below the street level, which caused rainwater to flood the main yard. The school funding was very limited. Occasionally, the teachers had to pitch in their own rupees ($$) to pay for utility bills.
Needless to say, we got to work. One of our esteemed Sant Nirankari Mission members, an architect stepped up to help us figure out how to repair the school. The first thing he recommended was to raise the ceiling of all classrooms by three feet to create more ventilation in the rooms. We began immediately. The school was raised above street level and the classrooms were also raised a bit higher than the rest of the school. After three weeks the school’s renovations were finished. It included, but not limited to, expanded the kitchen facility, new restrooms, new cement floors, freshly painted cement plastered walls, new windows and doors, and new wiring and appliances (such as fans and ventilators). The cost to renovate this school was approximately $9000. I would like to thank everyone who contributed from the bottom of my heart. You have no idea what an impact this has made. The students and faculty now have a safe and comfortable learning environment thanks to you.
Government Elementary School – During renovation
Government Elementary School – Students Moved in After Renovation
During May of this year, my grandfather happened to be visiting his hometown of Nabha (which is where the schools that I am focusing on are). He had the honor of attending a ribbon cutting ceremony on my behalf for the Government Elementary School. Attendees included faculty, students and members of the community. Regretfully, I was unable to attend due to studies, but I was so glad my grandfather could be there because he was made aware of another elementary school in Nabha called Mehas Gate Elementary School that needed some assistance. My grandfather immediately asked for a tour and upon his return he shared with me pictures of the school and his own experiences. Afterwards we immediately started to plan our next steps to help the school.
During renovation of Mehas Gate Elementary
Mehas Gate Elementary – Newly completed patio for students
Mehas Gate Elementary was in dire need of: a covered patio where the students could eat lunch and dinner while it rained instead of having to move all the food supplies and utensils inside, usable restrooms, a new classroom, and a new paint job (both on the interior and exterior).
We got to work. By June we had enough funds accumulated that we were able to start working on the much needed repairs. Unfortunately I could not travel to oversee the work. When our Misson members learned that I could not be there, several of them stepped up and supervised the daily work. Once again, I was blown away by the community coming together. The repairs at Mehas Gate Elementary were completed on July 2, 2016, thanks to all of you.
To once again reiterate, Wow… So far about a year has passed and Aid For Learning has helped three different schools in Nabha. All together we’ve raised approximately $16,700 for the schools. Without the help of my grandparents, the schools’ communities there in Nabha, our local chapter of the Sant Nirankari Mission, and all of your generous donations and contributions from around the globe, Aid for Learning would not have been possible. I can’t adequately put into words how much I appreciate each and every one of your contributions, generosity and hard work.
Thank you. It really is amazing how much we’ve have been able to accomplish within just a year. Here is looking forward to making more progress in the year to come!