News from our volunteer in Uttarakhand

Brinda Poornapragna has recently completed her HELP assignment at an Ashram school in the Tehri district of the Indian state of Uttarakhand and has submitted this item for our blog:

Nestled in the native hills of the Ganges … is an NGO which supports the cause of Girls / Women Education…

The NGO itself was established about 40 years ago and is very illustrious and well known in the region for its service to the cause and impeccable devotion to the cause. Sri Biharilal ji , a very passionate Gandhian established this institution  and now his son, Sri Jayshankar heads the administration and has ensured continuity

The school is run on true Gandhian Principles, which believes in providing education which facilitates learning life skills along with the curriculum-based education (as prescribed by the Uttarakhand State Board). The school doubles up as a hostel for the girls. The girls (who are in the age group of 3 to 16) live / lead a life where equal support and importance is given to their studies and life skills, which makes them ready for their future life. The life skills which are taught (along with academics) are tailoring, knitting and agriculture. These skills enable the girls to lead a self-fulfilled life in the future.  The school has a set of able teachers, who ensure all the children are taught well and accomplish/meet all academic standards.

The school typically starts with a prayer meet at 9.30 am and then continues till 5 pm with a 1 hour break at 1.30 pm for lunch. The school has classroom with blackboards and other conditions suitable for a good class room atmosphere and seamless learning. There is a computer Science Lab which imparts the adequate knowledge on/about computers and related benefits.

I volunteered to teach English in the months of April and May 2019. It was a sheer delight to live in the pristine region and to be amongst the wonderful children, who were keen to learn English. I am TEFL certified and this definitely adds to the competence we bring to the school, which derives great benefit from English Teaching.

The host family- Sri Biharilal Ji and Sri Jayshankar are very hospitable and ensured / provided absolute support during my stay with them and the school. The other teachers were a great support and my time in the school was well utilized where I would spend time with the teachers – not just about English but discussing various practises on education prevalent and providing a perspective and view and know-how which the school and the teachers benefit

The children definitely have more positive influence due to this intervention- HELP (intends) to continue to provide support which is very beneficial

Signing off feeling fulfilled and rewarded.


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I want to let you know that I have looked at a lot of volunteer organizations since I did your program and you have (as far as I can tell) one of the best. I really like how much you personally care about each volunteer and each school.
Anne GillilandDenjong Pema Choling Academy