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going to school in India…

5 November 2007

I visited Going to School, a Delhi-based NGO, in December 2006 after hearing about the work of this remarkable organisation which produces a series of media to inspire and assist Indian children with their schooling. One of Going to School’s flagship projects is a book called Going to School in India. This is a marvelous resource for teachers and pupils, or anyone interested in what it must be like to attend school in India. The diversity of school-going experiences is beautifully depicted with visuals, photograhic collages and illustrations which jump off the page with their intensity of colour and design. The design is by BM Kamath and photographs by Nitin Upadhye.

Stories are told in a most captivating manner of the many diverse and fascinating ways of attending school in India. The Indian landscape is brought to life and the cultural diversity expressed in the many experiences of children, shared in this book. Some of the special features include:-

  • Haider who is 10 years old and attends school in a wheelchair in Raspunja Village in West Bengal. Haider’s friends help him to school by pushing him in his wheelchair. According to Going to School, 98% of disabled children in India do not have an opportunity to go to school.
  • Lakhan, age 11, attends school in a Bus in Mumbai, Maharashtra and repairs plastic backets to generate money to attend school and survive. He has since learnt how to read.
  • The girl children of Rajasthan attend school at night and in the dark as in the day they are working either in their homes, caring for livestock, or watching over their siblings.
  • Ramesh, Samta and Chunda, ages 6, 12 and 10 respectively, attend school in the desert region of Gujarat. They travel 6 kilometers and 3-up on a bicycle every day to reach their school, Ujas Tent School, in Little Rann of Kutch.

What is also inspiring is the determination of Indian children to attend school and learn to read and write regardless of their economic circumstances. Many live below the poverty line yet do whatever they can to get an education.

dedication to learning

The Going to School initiative was inspired by Lisa Heydlauff, who believes that ‘our imaginations can change the world’. Lisa was asked by one of her pupils whilst teaching in a school in England : “What is it like to go to school in India?” She decided to find out. The result was to estabish Going to School, a nonprofit trust that produces media for children.

walking to school in rajastan

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